Borghi magazine ~ the discovery of the fantastic world of italian medieval villages

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Naples: a getaway to the coast

Naples: a getaway to the coast

A journey among Cetara, Maiori, the Vice Reale Tower, Spaghetti with anchovy, the Maiori’s beaches, and the church of Santa Maria a Mare.

A visit into this corner of Italy is always a breath-taking experience. The Amalfi Coast is always amazing. When you reach such a great beauty, you always remain speechless, as the wonder always prevails on words.

From this point of the coast, the traffic congested Naples and the crowded towns along the gulf, covered by the Vesuvio shadow, which accompanies us during the whole journey, seem to be far away. In the first part of the famous and sinuous Amalfi highway 163 called “the blue strip”, from which you can admire the Annunziata Tower, the town of Nocera Inferiore, the town of Cava dè Tirreni, the village of Vietri sul Mare, and many other pearls of rare beauty of this extraordinary littoral zone.

The first stop of the itinerary is the picturesque seaside village of Cetara, underneath the Falerio Mountain, which is settled on a narrow valley overlooking the sea among citrus groves and vineyards.

In the past, the Saracen fortress was dominated by the powerful Amalfi, a town situated in the proximity. The crystal-clear sea has always been present in the history and in the traditions of the territory: every spring, for example, the mariners raised anchor to go to Morocco and Algeria, in order to fish anchovies, an important ingredient in many local recipes.

Once arrived, we are greeted by the Vicereale Tower, a building used as defence against pirates and Turks invasions, built during the Angevin period and then furtherly fortified during the aragonese era. Walking around the streets, you can enjoy the maritime charm hidden between the beach, sheltered in the shadow of the tower, and other artistic treasures, like the Romanic church of San Pietro Apostolo, which has however a Baroque interior, the cupola made of majolica and the double-arched window of the bell tower of the twelfth Century, the church and the convent  of St. Francis, built in the sixteenth Century, and the cupola frescoed by the painter Marco Benincasa.

A dish of spaghetti dressed with the “colatura d’alici”, the sauce produced from the fermentation of the anchovies, previously marinated, together with fried fish, and a glass of Capri bianco DOP wine, is the perfect lunch before leaving for the second destination of the journey along the coast: Maiori.

In the Middle Ages the town represented the main harbour of the Amalfi republic ant it is reach in aristocratic palaces and convents. Maiori is a picturesque seaside centre and it is very famous for the lemon plantations. It is surrounded by the cliff of San Nicola de Thoro Plano and it has one of the most extended beaches of the coast. Do not miss a walk along the sea promenade, before entering the village and reaching the complex of the church of Santa Maria a Mare, situated in the heart of the built-up area. The external part of the church, built in the seventeenth Century, together with the bell tower, built in the fourteenth century, and the hemispheric cupola cover with the majolica coming from the town of Vietri, are reunited with the interiors, made of three aisles, the sacristy built in 1866, and the crypt, that shields the remains of San Clemente. Not to be missed also a walk along the boulevard Regina, that brings you to the sea, when the sun goes down.

The poetry of the sunset drives us to Naples: after the wonderful sceneries of the coast illuminated by a touching sunset, the Vesuvio appears again just greet us and welcome us.

 

 

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