Stairway to Heaven.
Cathedral of Saint Andrew (Amalfi. Italy)
Member Name: garymarsh6
Cathedral of Saint Andrew (Amalfi. Italy)
Advantages: Beautiful gold plate and artworks adorning the walls and ceilings.
Disadvantages: Extremely physically challenging for people with mobility problems.
St. Andrews Cathedral can be found in the Piazza Duomo just behind the main coastal road. There are parking facilities along the seafront and you just cross the road up a street to the Piazza. You will be inspired by how beautiful the cathedral looks from the Piazza as it is at the top of a flight of 60 odd steps. The Cathedral stands majestically overlooking the Square.
There has been a church at this site since around 500AD however a newer cathedral was built in around 900AD. The current cathedral was built in the 13th century and adjoins the original cathedral to the left of it.
The fašade of the Cathedral is quite impressive as far as Italian churches go as it is quite a pretty to look at compared to some of the other churches and cathedrals dotted along the Amalfi coast. On the front of the building at the top there is a painting of Christ sitting in heaven surrounded by angels and underneath in little alcoves paintings of the 12 apostles. The brickwork is interspersed with different coloured stone which gives it quite an unusual effect and the entrance is ornately decorated with decorative arches. To the left of the Cathedral is the bell tower built around 1100 which is covered with yellow and green tiles which gives quite a pleasing appeal to it.
After mounting the steps you turn left to enter the Cathedral via the cloisters which are quite peaceful and tranquil giving a relief from the heat being in the shade. The cloisters are called the cloister of paradise. After walking around the cloisters you enter the old part of the cathedral dating from around 596AD it is called the Basilica of the crucifix you enter a large room that is the church museum containing an exhibition of the church treasures including jewelled encrusted mitres made in 1297 covered with over 20,000 pearls and gold. There are many beautiful church items including chalices, crosses and other paraphernalia some of which are priceless. They are displayed in display cabinets.
Moving on to the crypt which is dedicated to St. Andrew where parts of his body are buried. He was crucified in Greece and his body taken to Constantinople. Parts of his body including his skull and other bones were stolen during the crusade by Cardinal Pietro Capuano and brought back with other holy relics of other saints and were placed in the crypt in 1208. The crypt is stunningly adorned with beautiful paintings every part of the walls and ceilings are adorned with religious frescos from the 17th century. There is a central sarcophagus and alter containing the bones of St. Andrew it is made of marble. His bones are brought out on occasion for display especially on the eve of his Saint Day.
The Cathedral chancel.
The cathedral chancel is very long with decorative pillars all the way up to the high altar. The high altar is made out of the sarcophagus of Archbishop Capuano who brought the bones of St. Andrew to Amalfi. It is decorated with a relief of the 12 apostles. The ceiling in the chancel above the high altar is covered in religious frescos as is the ceiling along the aisle. It is really quite beautiful. To each side of the high altar are two smaller chapels. The one on the right is dedicated as the chapel of Relics in which some of spoils of the crusade are kept. The aisle along the centre of the Cathedral is laid in marble and is very long indeed probably about 300 feet long.
Is it worth a visit?
Yes it certainly is it is quite an outstanding cathedral, beautifully decorated and maintained and looks really impressive both inside and out. There is a small entrance fee of 6 Euro to enter via the cloisters. It would be extremely challenging for someone to enter the Cathedral if they had mobility issues. If you have an hour to spare it is well worth visiting the Cathedral.
Summary: A Beautiful building inside and out. The resting place of St. Andrew.