Myths and Legends of the Amalfi Coast
Friday, 18 October 2019
Countless legends characterize the rural area of the Amalfi Coast, old stories swinging between history and myth, which remain unknown to most of the visitors of this coastal area.
A patchwork of tales and maritime legends, like the one of the two rocks located in the Marina of Vietri and termed ‘The two brothers’; or the other one called ‘The Janare’ set in Praiano and Conca dei Marini, or even the ancient tale of ‘The Milk Miracle’ and the ‘Myth of the Nymph’ of Amalfi.
Doubtless, the most fascinating legend of all is ‘The Janare’: pretty women in the daytime and witches at night. They used to steal fishers’ boats and tourists’ heart who came to Praiano and Conca dei Marini. As the legend goes, the Janare would gather night after night on the treetops waiting for the fishermen to return from night fishing. Hence, the Janare lured the sailors in order to make them their victims. Actually, these female spirits were local women abandoned by their husbands.
As evocative as this last legend is the story of the creation of Amalfi, related to a passionate mythological love story between Hercules, son of Zeus, and a lovely nymph called ‘Amalfi’. According to the myth, once she died, Hercules decided to bury his beloved in a perfect place: a tiny corner of the Amalfi Coast. Then, on her grave was built a town named after the nymph: Amalfi.
Finally, a miracle stands out among myths and legends of the Amalfi Coast: ‘The Milk Miracle’.
This ancient legend dates back to the 16th century, precisely on August 14 at 2 pm. Suddenly, the bells of the Church ‘Madonna delle Grazie’ started ringing. Once the priest and the villagers went into the Church, the sense of wonder grew and grew at the sight of some milk leaking from the breast of the statue. Immediately, the Archbishop in charge kept the stone in a special ampoule. Since then, every year, on the same day a solemn celebration takes place, wherein the stone turns from grey into white.
If the Amalfi Coast is already so immersive by its nature, these legends make this place even more fascinating and one of the most spectacular sites in Italy.
The best way to find out all the stories around the Amalfi Coast is surely having a talk with locals.
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