It was the first of the Four Maritime Republic of Italy, and had the monopoly of trade with the East between the 9th and 11th centuries during that time its power increase exponentially. All the surrounding villages, including Positano and Ravello took advantage of its importance. The entire coast is named after this town. An big earthquake destroyed the port, weakening the position in the trading with the East. In the Piazza del Duomo there is the main monument of Amalfi, the cathedral of St. Andrew with its impressive staircase. It is a medieval Roman Catholic cathedral, dedicated to the Apostle Saint Andrew whose relics are kept here. Begun in the 9th and 10th centuries, it has been added to and redecorated several times, overlaying Arab-Norman, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque elements, and finally a new 19th century Norman-Arab-Byzantine facade. The cathedral includes the adjoining 9th-century Basilica of the Crucifix. Leading from the basilica are steps into the Crypt of St. Andrew.
The most famous product in the history of this town was hand made paper, called Bambagina.
This paper was made from rags that were cut up and put into stone tubs. The pieces were pounded into fibers using water and pestles. The pulp was then put into vats. At this point a frame with a thin wire mesh was placed in the vat and a thin layer of pulp was spread over the mesh. The water was drained off and the pulp was put between two pads and pressed to eliminate any excess water. The sheet was then hung to dry.
The result of this process was a paper cost less than the traditional parchment. Thank to the trading by ship of Amalfi this product began to arrive in the bazaars of Persia, the Syrian-Palestine border, and then onto the Moslems possessions in Sicily, Spain and North Africa.
The Amalfitani soon introduced their hand made paper in their trading with the Arab world.