AMALFI The historic regata from times of greatness
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The historic regata from times of greatness The parade of four realms. And the race of the galleons
History is an important and vital part of this territory: throughout the centuries many elements have helped make this land great.
Sunday, June 8 remembers the power of the four Maritime Republics, with a historic regata which this year (once every four years) takes place in Amalfi.
Ravello and the Amalfi coast experienced an important and thriving moment during the era of the Republic of Amalfi. History tells us how individual events gave way to major development choices, which then led to an important place in history. Books have described with wonder how a small town, Amalfi, could be the busy and very important fulcrum of so many connections.
Its trade relations, political and cultural relations with Arabia, North Africa and the East have always attracted the interest of historians.
In fact since the 8th century ships set out from the port of Amalfi towards the Arab countries carrying lumber and foodstuffs, receiving gold in return. The Amalfitan merchants purchased mainly Byzantium precious objects and precious fabrics that could be resold to merchants in the West, gaining high profits.
In three centuries Amalfi became according to historians, “the most prosperous city of Longobardia.”
And with its powerful military fleet, for a long time, defended the coasts from Saracens, preserving intact the coastal towns.
The reference to the importance of historic period of the Maritime Republic makes sure to understand the significance of this event Sunday, June 8 in Amalfi.
This year the event is dedicated to the 8th Century interpretation of St. Andrew, the patron saint of Amalfi, and in occasion of the race, the city of Amalfi will be proclaimed a City of Peace.
The parade marches with the four historic Amalfi, Pisa, Genoa and Venice, will start in the early afternoon from Atrani, and will be a colourful festival of costumed damsels and knights.
The galleon race will be carried out between the stretch of sea from Conca dei Marini to Amalfi. The galleons, reconstructed from models of the twelfth century boats, rowed by eight oarsmen and guided by a helmsman, are 11 meters long, weighing 760 kg, and are painted the traditional colours of the four maritime cities: blue for Amalfi, red for Pisa, white for Genova and green for Venice. Each boat will fly the flag of their republic and will have a figurehead at the front. Amalfi uses a winged horse which, together with the siren, was one of the main style of figurehead used in medieval times. Genova uses a dragon, to commemorate its protector St. Giorgio; Pisa shows the German imperial eagle, in memory of faithful cooperation by the Tuscan republic; Venice has the lion of St. Mark, symbol of its patron saint. The racetrack is 2000 metres as the crow flies and this year Amalfi will have the Olympic champion Giuseppe Di Capua in its team
The historic regata from times of greatness
The parade of four realms. And the race of the galleons
Ravello at the time of the Republic of Amalfi
In the time of the Republic of Amalfi Ravello was a town that was dependant on the Duchy, with Amalfi as its capital. But still, in that period – the ninth century- the city enjoyed an advantageous and impregnable position and had a vast and fertile territory.
According to local historian Matteo Camera “the ancient monuments that are still here show proof of the ancient civilization and its opulence.”
The valiant Norman, Roberto Guiscardo, discovered Amalfi and the towns of Scala and Ravello in 1073 and named them “Duca degli Amalfitani.” After his death, his son Ruggiero used all his means to become Duke in 1089.
But in 1096, the population of Amalfi rejected his command and nominated as “leader” a certain Marino Pansebaste, a fellow citizen. The Duke Ruggiero, taking advantage of the people that didn’t agree with his dismissal and assisted by the population of Ravello, managed to re-conquist Amalfi.
This is where the “historical grievances” between Amalfi and Ravello were founded. But thanks to the rapport between Ravello and the duke Ruggiero Guiscardo, who interceded Pope Urbano II, the church of Ravello became independent from Amalfi and directly dependent on the Santa Sede (1090).
After the fall of the Amalfitan republic under the sceptre of King Ruggiero (who meanwhile had founded the monarchy of Sicily), both Amalfi and Ravello were appointed a judge until Federico II, King of Sicily, abolished them for having too much power. He replaced them with “baiuli” who administered justiceand judged civil and mixed cases
Often the citizens of Ravello, like other citizens of the Duchy, presented their differences to two or three arbitrators, chosen from among the disagreeing parties.
There are many medieval writings that contain “several contrasting issues of possession.”
These documents represent an important witness to the wealth of Ravello but also its traditions and customs of the time.