Amalfi: Festa di Sant'Andrea

Fireworks in Amalfi

Festa di Sant’Andrea

Jen Judge

Serendipity can turn an already great trip into a truly memorable one. Yesterday we sailed into Amalfi, our trip's final port of call, to find the city prettying up for Festa di Sant'Andrea. Twice a year, the town honors its patron saint, a fisherman, with a street festival that involves parading a larger-than-life gilded statue of him through the streets. When we sailed in, vendors were erecting stands on the waterfront from which to peddle a rainbow of gummy sweets, blocks of nougat bigger than my forearm, and o'per' e o'muss', a local specialty of veal snouts and feet marinated in juice from local Amalfi lemons.

Festivities commenced early this morning with a battery of cannons at dawn, and the carabinieri closed the streets to make space for merrymakers. This evening, Giacondo Cavaliere, a gourmand friend of Peggy's whose name aptly translates as "jovial gentleman," turned up at the boat loaded with fresh greens, zucchini, vines of plump tomatoes, a sack of potatoes, onions, garlic, and a basket full of eggs, all plucked from his garden an hour earlier. Dinner was decided: frittata and salad. Afterward port master Aniello Esposito stopped by with a parcel of biscotti di mandora fresh from the bakery, a few more bottles of wine and limoncello, and the party really commenced. The only thing more powerful than the citrusy digestivo was the fireworks display over the harbor, glinting light on the water like a fleeting school of fish startled by the shocking salvo that reverberated off the limestone cliffs. It was Amalfi as few visitors will ever see it, and even when the light show concluded, Aniello continued the spectacle into the small hours of the night with passionate renditions of Italian love songs and an eccentric dance—part tarantella, part human beatbox—straight out of a Fellini film.

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