Piatto tipico di Minori
Vietri sul mare
Vietri sul Mare is just 3 km west of Salerno and can be considered "the first pearl" of the Amalfi Coast since it marks the beginning. In fact, in 1997 it was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it retains all the typical characteristics of the other Municipalities of the Amalfi Coast even if located very close to the city of Salerno.
However, the main attraction of Vietri is not represented by monuments or particular historical buildings, but by ceramic objects.
The Vietri ceramics is present throughout the city: the history of the daily life of the Vietri inhabitants is painted on the ceramics, exported all over the world. Walking through the center you come across a series of typical craft shops: each of these has its own workshop on which many ceramic objects are hand-painted, presenting a variety of colors and designs.
The center of the town, located at the foot of Monte San Liberatore, lies on a strip overlooking the sea and overlooking the Bonea river valley. Visiting percent right away you can see the mother church of San Giovanni Battista,a monument of XVI century, topped by the elegant majolica dome on the underlying large and well equipped beach stretches the fraction Marina, a destination for summer holiday traffic, centered on the sixteenth-century tower defended by the Saracens.
To characterize the hamlet of Marina as the whole municipality are "the two brothers", two characteristic rocks located a short distance from the beach and an integral part of the Vietri iconography.
The hamlet of Molina owes its name to the numerous mills that had already existed in the river valley since the Middle Ages; the hamlet Albori is a village with characteristic urban layout perched on the eastern side of the valley dominated by Monte Falerio; the hamlet Raito looks like a balcony on the Gulf of Salerno and is equipped with a small but elegant parish church with frescoes by Solimena; the hamlets Benincasa and Dragonea are surrounded by agricultural greenery and woods, the starting point of mountain paths; the fraction Fuenti is a bit 'more decentralized the border with Cetara.
The territory represents a link between the chain of the Lattari Mountains and the innermost mountainous system of the Picentini Mountains. The landscape follows that of the Amalfi Coast where even in Vietri sul Mare, over the centuries, the spontaneous Mediterranean vegetation and the forest formation of chestnut, holm oak, coppice, man intervened by building the famous terraces on the hilly walls to obtaining land for cultivation. The vines and citrus fruits were planted, in particular the Sfusato Amalfitano lemon. The Albori valley is largely wooded and among the many plant species present there is the "Pinguicola hirtifolia", a carnivorous plant.
HOW TO GET TO VIETRI SUL MARE
Reaching Vietri sul Mare is quite simple as it is just 5 kilometers away from the center of Salerno.
From the A3 Napoli-Salerno motorway, there is the Vietri sul Mare exit.
The origins of Vietri, according to the most widespread historiography, can be traced back to the ancient Etruscan city Marcina located where today is the Marina hamlet and also mentioned in the geography of Strambone. It had a mainly commercial function as a stopover serving Nuceria (the current Nocera). The most recent archaeological finds have brought to light tombs with archaic Corinthian-style ceramic equipment, a Roman thermal structure in Marina and a Roman "murus reticolatum" at the tip of Fonti, covered by the sea.
During the Lombard period, administratively Vietri became a peripheral area of the city of Salerno and then passed under the jurisdiction of the Benedictine Abbey of the Holy Trinity of Cava de 'Tirreni; subsequently it was part of the Municipality of Cava de 'Tirreni and then obtained administrative autonomy in 1806 .
The fame of Vietri sul Mare in Italy and abroad is linked to the majolica industry, an activity that has its roots in the Middle Ages, which has been enhanced in the following centuries it is characterized by a search for original motifs, without denying its identity. In past centuries, therefore, the main economic activities of the inhabitants of the lower area of Vietri were industry (in particular ceramics), crafts and maritime trade.
Thanks to its characteristics and history, Vietri is considered one of the centers of artistic and traditional ceramic production. The museum set up in the tower of Villa Guariglia in Raito collects ceramic finds from the eighteenth century to the first half of the twentieth century and which is warmly invited to visit.
The high three-story furnaces, entrusted to the protection of Sant'Antonio Abate, churned out thousands of dishes, jars, jugs with traditional decorative motifs that were based on a pastoral reality. However the shepherds and the peasant girls, the rural landscapes, the country churches, the farmhouses and the animals were alien to the real Vietri landscape, made of sun and Mediterranean scrub.
Subsequently, the Vietri production has undergone a modification characterized by a creative synthesis, an immediacy of image and colors that come together by contrast and not by nuanced overlap. Since the twenties of the twentieth century, the contribution of foreign artisans and artists such as Dutch and Germans in particular have brought figures and scenes from the life of the place to appear, such as for example the figures of fishermen and mothers with their children. The Dutch renewed the traditional chromaticism by breaking its brightness with the nocturnal black but the expressive tool is always the same: colors combined by contrast, without shadow passages, without shades.
Over time there has been an enrichment of the repertoires and some technical procedures have necessarily been abandoned in favor of a productive improvement such as the replacement of the wood-burning furnace with the electric oven and the driving force of water by electricity while the movement of the lathe and the artist's brush still allow to create a unique product whose secret remains the "Vietri" enamel, a tin-based mixture that ensures extraordinary brilliance and durability as well as shine.
As mentioned, ceramic is an important part of the local identity and economy, but if you stay in Vietri sul Mare, you cannot help but taste a plate of anchovies, a dish of Paccheri di Gragnano with fresh fish from the day, scialatielli with seafood, gnocchi and cannelloni amalfitana, first of fish and risotto, all served on courses hand-painted dishes. In Vietri you can also buy an excellent pizza prepared according to the Neapolitan tradition and rigorously cooked in a wood oven.
WHAT TO SEE IN VIETRI ON THE SEA
The Church of San Giovanni Battista
The church stands where a cult building dedicated to San Giovanni already stood in 1036 and then became a parish church in the 14th century. The building underwent numerous renovations over the years and the current structure dates back to the 17th century. At the beginning of the 17th century, the current dome was raised on the transept cross, covered in 1902 with locally produced majolica tiles.
The church has a Latin cross plan, facing east, with a bell tower located on the left of the facade. The facade design is of late Renaissance style attributable to the school of the artist Mormando. The base is in clear piperno stone, in the center the portal is delimited by two columns in tuff from Fiano. The portal is surmounted by an oculus closed in the second half of the twentieth century to insert a figure of the patron saint painted on ceramic.
The interior of the church has a single nave. The altars are decorated with majolica and ceramics except for the high altar which is made of committed marble.
The altarpiece dates back to 1732 and represents the Virgin with San Giovanni and Santa Irene, the work of the painter Pietro De Rosa. Of particular value is the polyptych of the Madonna del Latte, from the 16th century, which depicts the Enthroned Madonna nursing the Child, painted on a gilded background; two side panels represent San Giovanni Battista and Sant'Andrea.
The bell tower, 36.5 meters high, rises in six orders: the four lower ones with a square base support the two upper ones with a hexagonal base, surmounted by a majolica dome.
The Provincial Museum of Ceramics
Located in the turret located in the park of Villa Guariglia near the hamlet of Raito, it houses the ceramic finds ranging from the 1700s to the 1900s and divided in turn into three sectors: in the first sector there are polychrome terracotta of religious mold between which the stoups; in the second are the objects of common use such as plates, jugs, tiles etc. while in the third the ceramics of the so-called German period are exhibited.
The museum is located, as already stated, within the complex of Villa Guariglia, the magnificent and elegant summer residence of the provincial heritage of Salerno. It was 1970 when the previous owner Raffaele Guariglia, Ambassador of Italy, of the Order of Malta and Foreign Minister of the Badoglio government, who died on April 25 of the same year with a testamentary bequest, donated it to the Provincial Administration of Salerno to make it a center of studies to his memory. The goal was for the center to contribute to the "better knowledge of the history and civilizations that followed one another in the region, from protohistory to the present day". These are the words with which Raffaele Guariglia entrusted his goods to the Province of Salerno.
The villa is surrounded by a park with typical Mediterranean vegetation; inside everything is preserved as the ambassador himself had left on the day of his death. Among the objects that decorate the living rooms and over 36 rooms there are a series of small pictures known as "Masaniello's waxes", the collection of mother-of-pearl fans, decorated and painted (over 100); silverware, porcelain, memorabilia, weapons and a large library which houses more than 4000 volumes.
On 9 May 1981, in Torretta Belvedere was inaugurated Vietrese Ceramics Museum: the wishes have become reality not only of the citizens of Vietri, proud of their ancient traditional ceramics, but also of many intellectuals and academics who supported the revival of that form of craftsmanship, promoted as a cultural institution, through the conservation of the works that marked the seasons of the Vietri ceramics starting from the oldest preserved specimens.
The reopening, after a period of closure necessary to expand the Museum by using unused rooms on the ground floor of the Torretta, renewed the expectations that enthusiastically accompanied the institution ten years earlier. In 2001, another sector dedicated to “riggiole” was inaugurated, a term that indicates the tiles intended for floor and wall cladding, mainly deriving from donations that have allowed the increase of tiles up to three hundred types.
The Villa Comunale of Vietri sul Mare
is a wonderful terrace overlooking the sea located east of the course of Vietri sul Mare. It is preferable to stop on this spectacular and colorful terrace and admire the sea and the surrounding landscape.
Visit the beach of Marina di Vietri and admire "I due Fratelli": small stacks that identify the beach of Vietri sul Mare.
Take an excursion to the Vallone del Bonea
A naturalistic area with the cave of San Cesareo inside.
Stroll along the city center and buy the wonderful ceramic objects unique in the world
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