Back in the 13th and 14th centuries, Amalfi had a currency as good as gold .... its beautiful handmade paper. Most of Europe functioned on the barter system during early times, and Amalfi paper was very much valued as payment. The paper has a 100% cotton content; it is thick and luscious and the most beautiful shade of cream white. When you are faced with an entire book of its pages you nearly swoon from delight. To see it and touch it is to love it and want it!
We had about an hour to spend in Amalfi; the bus had passed an interesting looking archway going back into a bustling piazza (which turned out to be Duomo Square, where the giant church from yesterday's post is located), and that is where we headed. We crossed the street from the parking lot and WHOA! what was this! Right on the corner at the archway was an inviting shop, La Scuderia del Duca, selling Amalfi paper.
If you are ever fortunate enough to go to Amalfi, you must visit this shop. This is the store that book artists see in their dreams. A wonderful blend of old and exciting. Floor to ceiling inventory. No possible way to see everything on the first, second or third visit. No particular order to the merchandise -- papers in flat piles, papers rolled and stuck into huge colorful jars, papers here, there and everywhere. And handmade books, blank and with lines and for accounts and for music writing, and antique pages from books framed on the walls, and some rolled for individual purchase. The store is not very wide, but it encompasses two long rooms and has an impressive inventory.
So of course I bought some Amalfi paper, and a few large sheets of hand marbles which were made in Florence, as well as some of their handmade books for gifts. I also found this beautiful piece of paste paper done on an Amalfi sheet. Thanks to the magic of the web, you can go visit there now using the link under websites at the right. Stay as long as you like!