Amalfi: fairs, festivals and events
Amalfi, the town which gives name to the beautiful coast that stretches from Vietri sul Mare to Positano, is a very fashionable resort, full of events and appointments.
The Historical Regatta
Every year, between late May and early July, takes place the Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics. This is a historical commemoration in the form of a competition between the four Maritime Republics (Amalfi, Genoa, Pisa and Venice) who dominated trade and war in the Mediterranean Sea in the early centuries of the Year One thousand. The sporting competition lies in the challenge between the rowing crews of the 4 cities. The first edition of this wonderful event dates back to 1955. Each race is preceded by a parade, the Historical Procession, with hundreds of characters in period costumes. In Amalfi, the central theme of the Historical Procession is the marriage of Duke John II with a lady of Norman origin.
The regatta regulations have remained virtually unchanged for decades. The race involves 4 crews consisting of 8 rowers plus a coxswain. The boats have specific design parameters. They must weigh less than 760 Kg without oars, must be made of fiberglass, must be recognizable by the colors and figureheads on the prow: the boat of Amalfi is blue with a winged horse, Genoa’s is white with the dragon of St. George, Pisa’s is red with the eagle, and Venice’s is green with the winged lion of St. Mark. The Regatta has a 2 kilometers long course, the lanes are allocated to the crews in advance with a draw: it is forbidden to invade an opponent’s lanes, on pain of relegation to last place. The gold and silver trophy, representing a rowing galleon, will be held by the winning city until the next edition.
Some interesting facts about the Race. In 1961, it took place on the Po, on the centenary of the Unification of Italy; in 1983, on the Thames, including also British boats in the race; in 1999, in the waters off Monte Carlo, on the occasion of the anniversary of Prince Rainer III of Monaco. In 2011 the prize was not awarded, because the crews of Amalfi, Pisa and Genoa were disqualified, and Venice refused to take the prize because, they said, “that’s not how we want to win.” The edition of 2012, held in Amalfi, was won by the hosting republic itself. The Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics was won 30 times by Venice, Amalfi follows with 12 victories and, in turn, Genoa and Pisa both with 8 victories. Pisa will host the 2013 edition.
Feast of the Patron Saint
On June 27 and November 30, Amalfi celebrates its patron saint, St. Andrew. The festivities in honor of the Holy One, commemorate the miracle that he made in June 1544, when he saved the city from the pirate Khayr al-Din, called Barbarossa, as a sudden storm decimated his fleet. The death of the saint, placed in Patras at the time of Nero, around 60 AD, is honored on June 30 every year.
Byzantine New Year’s Day
On August 31, Amalfi celebrates the end of summer with a costume party according to ancient customs. This is a historic and cultural event that commemorates the investiture ceremony of the Dukes of Amalfi in the X century, on the first day of September, which in the Byzantine era coincided with the beginning of the new year. Hence the name Byzantine New Year’s Day.
Amalfi Coast Music
The Amalfi Coast Music & Arts Festival is promoted by a non-profit arts organization that aims to combine the study of music with cultural exchange experiences, both on a local and international basis. In July, during the music festival, concerts, exhibitions and art workshops are open to the public. The organization is sponsored by several public and private institutions, including the Embassy of the United States of America.