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Additional resources for Adventure Guide: Naples, Sorrento & the Amalfi Coast (Hunter Travel Guides)
C e nturies later, an excavator would have the brilliant idea to pour plaster into these holes. The casts that emerged have brought many of these ancient dead back to view. Their twisted limbs and contorted facial expressions recall forever the moment of terrible drama in AD 79. Even Sorrento, farther away from the volcano, sustained damage from the earthquake that accompanied the fearful eruption. Roman Campania had suffered a blow, but the halcyon days of the bay as a destination for classical vacationers were not quite over.
Capri – a favored hunting and tourist destination of the Bourbons – also flourished, as many visitors followed in their wake. Procida had been another royal domain, while its fortress was turned into a prison. The renewed interest in antiquity also prompted the rediscovery of the Phlegrean Fields. Many sketches were made of Baia’s ruins, which became a mandatory part of the Grand Tour for European visitors. The late 19th century would see further industrial development in the region with the growth of the shipbuilding industry in the bay of Naples.
In the seventh century, Naples and Sorrento both asserted their independent status as duchies, and continued to trade, surviving by playing off one challenger against another. Amalfi took the hint, and in the 800s rebelled against the domination of Naples to declare its own independent status, forming strategic alliances with the Saracens in order to combat the Byzantine threat. In 958 Amalfi elected its first doge, in imitation of the Maritime Republic of Venice. Thus began that town’s golden age, when its mercantile links stretched to Constantinople and other Muslim territories, and the Tavola Amalfitana system of maritime law was adopted across the Mediterranean.