In the 10th-11th centuries, Atrani was an important center of religious life, with around 300 religious buildings, including private chapels and churches.
Atrani’s churches bear witness to an ancient history, linked for better or for worse to the vicissitudes of neighboring Amalfi, which became one of Italy’s most powerful maritime republics. The village grew up around the many churches that populated the town, such as the church of S. Maria Maddalena, founded in 1274, the Franciscan church of Santa Rosalia and the church of S. Maria del Bando, dating from 1100.
At Atrani, the traditional investiture of the Doge of the Republic took place. During the event, the doge received the special headdress that marks his role, called the birecto.
San Salvatore de’ Birecto
The church of San Salvatore de’ Bireto, in Atrani, stands on Piazzetta Umberto I, along Via dei Dogi.
Although today it has a purely neoclassical façade, its original structure must have been quite different, since it was built shortly before the year 1000. Harmoniously integrated into Atrani’s architecture, it is accessed by a flight of steps. The bronze door, a gift from a wealthy merchant, is of great value. This church has considerable historical value, as it hosted the installation ceremony of the Doge of the Republic of Amalfi. In fact, the birecto was the very hat that symbolized the doge’s power.
Santa Maria Immacolata
Near the church of San Salvatore is the church of Santa Maria Immacolata and, a little further on, the chapel of S. Gertrude.
But special mention must be made of the Carmine church, home to a beautiful 17th-century nativity scene, installed during the Christmas season.
San Michele fuori le mura
The most unusual building is certainly the church of Saint-Michel-hors-les-Murs, also built in 1100 and famous for having housed, according to legend, the corpses of the terrible plague of 1656.
It is said that the church wall, wrinkled and bruised, bears the marks of the terrible plague.
Santa Maria Maddalena
The church of Santa Maria Maddalena was built in 1274 by the inhabitants of Atrani to thank the Saint for liberating them from the North African mercenaries sent by Manfredi.
Its façade is the only example of Rococo style on the Amalfi Coast. The square bell tower and tiled dome make it easily recognizable even by those arriving from the sea. The church’s interior features numerous paintings and statues from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Santa Maria del Bando
The earliest documents mentioning this religious structure date back to the 12th century, but it is highly likely that its construction dates back even further.
It rises on a small natural terrace some 145 m above sea level and dominates the village of Atrani, to the point of being used as a privileged point for the proclamation of prohibitions. Its position offers a very suggestive view.