Some time around the 1st century A.D. the first sumptuous villas were constructed in Positano , the “Li Galli” islands and Minori. The ruins of these dwellings, as well as the sarcophaguses, urns and marble relics uncovered along the coastal and mountain areas, would seem to indicate that important members of the patriciate once lived here. It appears that either slaves or freedmen and women were the first to work the land next to their masters’ houses and successfully reclaim small areas of arable land from the once barren rocky countryside.
The Amalfi coast was isolated for a very long period of time. Until the last century it could only be reached by sea, that’s why numerous traditions have stood the test of time here. This is evident in the field of architecture where the most characteristic feature is the vaulted roof structure. This singular building technique has been the subject of much study. The main controversy is whether or not these flattened dome-shaped roofs were ‘imported’ from Islamic culture. Actually there was no need to wait for the expansion of the Arab world to learn a technique which had already been widely consolidated in the western Roman tradition: given the lack of suitable material on the Amalfi Coast to make tiles and weathering material for roofs, it had simply become a necessity.