Its name is attributed to two main theories: legend has it that the bones of Amalfi, beloved of Hercules, had been buried in this territory; historians however affirm that it was founded by a group of Roman families that gave it the name “Amelphes”. In 839 Amalfi broke away from the Duchy of Naples, and covered the entire territory between Positano and Cetara, the islands of Capri and Li Galli, right up to the internal areas of the present province of Naples.

Having achieved independence, Amalfi added the last piece needed to become a Marine Republic and as from the ninth century, made maritime trade its greatest wealth; prosperity which reached its peak in the eleventh century. Subsequently it had to face a period of complete decadence, which ended in the year 1343 when a tsunami destroyed much of the ancient city.