Piatto tipico di Minori
The inhabited center of Maiori has a fan-shaped structure open towards the sea since it rises between Capo d'Orso and the short hill that divides it from Minori with the Avvocata mountain behind it: the territory is mainly mountainous and belongs to the chain of the Lattari Mountains. However Maiori is a splendid seaside resort since it has the longest beach on the entire Amalfi Coast which reaches almost 1 km in length: the sand is rather dark and of volcanic origin. In turn, the promenade is also one of the longest and most comfortable of the towns on the coast. Maiori is also crossed by a stream called Rheginna Maior. Most of the houses are therefore located on the alluvial plain which constitutes the terminal part of the Tramonti valley. A smaller beach is also present in the Erchie hamlet and in the stretch of coast there are various minor coves such as the Glauco Beach and Capo d'Orso.
HOW TO GET THERE
The city of Maiori is about 15 km from Vietri sul Mare which is the first municipality on the Amalfi Coast coming from Salerno. Once you reach Maiori, then continuing along the highway 163, just over a kilometer you reach the town of Minori. The Municipality of Maiori is only about 5 km from Amalfi and about 9 km from Ravello.
Chocolate eggplants are the result of the combination of chocolate eggplants and it is the dessert of the feast of the Madonna Assunta in Cielo: on all the tables of the people of Majorca, on August 15 of each year, lunch ends with this characteristic dessert.
The Amalfi lemon sighs are typical sweets with a rounded shape made up of soft sponge cake filled with a delicious lemon pastry cream Sfusato Amalfi and covered with a lemon glaze. The origins are very ancient and are said to have been invented by some cloistered nuns.
According to the Maiori tradition it was founded by the Etruscans around the seventh century BC: the name derives from the Etruscan lucumòne (the highest political office) Reghinna. It was called Reghinna Major to distinguish it from Rheginna Minor (the current Minori). Subsequently, it passed under Roman rule and then became the territory of the ancient Maritime Republic of Amalfi on which the Arsenals, the Admiralty, the customs and the Fondaco del sale were located. In the ancient arsenals the name Tramontana was attributed to the cold wind blowing from the North and in particular from the neighboring Municipality of Tramonti. The fortification was built to defend the city center from the name of S. Sebastiano, the name of the Ancient Majorian Church, three cardinal towers and on the hill overlooking the Maiori valley the castle of S. Nicola di Thoro - plano. The Majorcan territory, as well as that of the entire Amalfi Republic, was occupied by the Saracens and the Normans and then annexed to the Byzantine Duchy of Naples. During the Norman domination in Maiori the Salicerchio Tower was built (still existing). In 1268 Maiori was then occupied by the Pisans.
With the fall of the Republic of Amalfi and during these last events, Maiori and all the remaining villages of the coast, from splendid florid locations became less and less flourishing basing their economy no longer on traffic but on agriculture, fishing and crafts. The inhabited center developed more along the Reginna river than along the coast. The first paper mills were born, the milling and wool industries, all fed by the Reginna stream. The Majorcan territory in 1343 was hit by a devastating tsunami while in 1348 by the plague. However Maiori, over the years, received the certificate of "Royal City" in 1662 from King Philip IV of Spain while in 1506 Pope Julius II attributed the Basilica S. Maria a Mare with the name of "Insigne Collegiata ".
In Maiori, at the dawn of September 9, 1943, the Anglo-American troops landed: in a very short time some ships arrived in the body of water in front of the beach releasing numerous amphibious vehicles that transported many Anglo-American soldiers to shore. Numerous cannon shots were fired from ships positioned offshore towards the Chiunzi Pass, where the German posts were located.
WHAT TO SEE IN MAIORI
As for the other towns of the Amalfi Coast, there are many things to see in Maiori. In addition to a pleasant walk on the promenade which is one of the longest, you can visit the following monuments.
· Collegiate Church of Santa Maria a Mare
· Palazzo Mezzacapo
· Abbey complex of Santa Maria dell'Olearia
· The defensive system of the towers in Maiori
Collegiate Church of Santa Maria a Mare
The Collegiate Church of Maiori is located on Monte Torina and is located in the center of the town. Built in the thirteenth century by expanding the Church dedicated to San Michele Arcangelo and where the Rocca di S. Angelo previously destroyed by the Pisans in 1137 once stood.
It is called Collegiata di Santa Maria a Mare because, according to legend, around the early years of the 1200 a ship coming from the east, while sailing the waters in front of the Maiori beach, was surprised by a violent storm. The sailors, being in difficulty, thought of throwing part of the ship's cargo and some large cotton bale into the sea. After several days, some Majorcan fishermen, while fishing, found in the nets some of those cotton bales thrown into the water by the ship and, once on the beach, in opening one of it, they found a beautiful wooden statue depicting the Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus. The Feast is celebrated on August 15th.
On 10 March 1506 it was erected as a collegiate church by Pope Julius II while in 1529 the Neapolitan artist Alessandro De Fulco built the coffered ceiling commissioned by the families Mezzacapo, Lanario and De Ponte. It is, however, the work of the architect Pietro Valente in 1836 to revolutionize the orientation of the Collegiate, making it take on its current imposing appearance with the grandiose nave and the large transept.
The facade is eighteenth-century composed of two lateral wings and a central square: the wings are joined with pilasters surmounted by capitals and on which three doors open. The central door is covered with bronze valves.
The interior of the Collegiate is made up of three naves with ribbed vaults marked by white stucco-covered sub-arches and large stucco pilasters decorated with pilasters and pedestals covered in gray marble.
The central nave is still covered by the beautiful coffered ceiling and in the center of the ceiling there is the wooden relief of the Madonna and Child in blue with gold stars.
In the main niche located on the main altar is exposed the ancient statue of Santa Maria a Mare found by fishermen in 1200.
The church is also equipped with the sacristy, built in 1866 and the crypt that preserves the remains of San Clemente. The sacristy is accessed from the left nave of the Collegiate and develops on a Greek cross plan while the crypt, also with a Greek cross plan, has a transept and presbytery and a figured majolica floor.
At the end of the side aisles there are two chapels: that of the SS. Sacramento and the Chapel of the "Cerasiello".
The bell tower dates back to the 14th century while the dome was completed in 1863 and is covered with Vietri majolica.
In the Collegiate there is a Sacred Museum which houses: a collection of illuminated manuscripts from Canto Fermo; a sixteenth-century frontal with bas-relief sacred figures; a 14th century reliquary and ancient pontifical furnishings such as: the cross that is used for processions, a machine gun adorned with gems, a planet and some velvet copes. Inside there is also the Statue of the Madonna Assunta which on August 15 of each year is carried in procession through the main Via di Maiori: before making its return to the Collegiate Church and at the foot of the Scala Santa, the bearers of the statue walk the stretch of the Scala Santa "run" with the statue on his shoulder, as if he wanted to mimic the Assumption of Mary into Heaven.
The Collegiate was elevated to the Marian Shrine on 13 August 1973 by archiepiscopal decree.
The Palace is located in the center of Corso Reginna, the Corso di Maiori and is the seat of the Municipality offices. It was built around the 19th century and was the residence of the Marquis Mezzacapo. In the early years it represented the flourishing past of Maiori. It has recently been renovated by the Mezzacapo family and, during the works, the restorers have found that one of the frescoes inside could be by the famous artist Ludwig Richter.
To access the building you have to go through a carved wooden door; then arrived in the internal courtyard, two marble stairs connect the courtyard to the upper floor which is composed of large rooms. The most important is the one with a large vault and which is used as a board room.
The Palace overlooks the "Mezzacapo Gardens": they are gardens in the shape of a Maltese cross.
Abbey complex of Santa Maria dell'Olearia
The Abbey of Santa Maria dell'Olearia is located along the Amalfi state road 163 that connects the promontory of Capo d'Orso with Maiori, before arriving at the town of Maiori. Driving along the state road by car, it is rather difficult to notice the structure as it is set in the rock. It is a very precious testimony of medieval art on the Amalfi Coast especially for the paintings that decorate the walls: some date back to the period of the Amalfi duchy. The Abbey is also to be considered among the most important Benedictine monastic settlements of the entire Coastal territory: in fact it was founded around the tenth century on the authorization of the first Archbishop of Amalfi, Leone, to Pietro the hermit, a monk from Sicily or from Calabria which arrived on the coast together with numerous monks to escape Arab domination. It is called Santa Maria dell'Olearia because in that place there was an olive press mill. With the arrival of numerous hermits, the expansion and construction of the monastery became necessary. Since 1700 the abbey has experienced a period of neglect.
The abbey currently consists of three overlapping chapels.
Below and a few meters from the Amalfi State Road is the "Catacomb Chapel" or Crypt and which is also the oldest and best preserved of the frescoes. It is a square-shaped hall with three apses facing east. .
"Onthe east wall is the best preserved fresco showing the" Virgin with the Saints ": The Virgin Mary is dressed in red with blue robe, the Holy One to the left, San Demetrio, he has a military dress and the Holy bearded long to the right of the Madonna, St. Paul, is dressed in a white tunic. In the upper part of the same wall there is a mound from which the four rivers of Paradise flow.
The central apse of the Crypt presents Jesus dressed in a white tunic with a golden cloak with a scroll in his hand and two angels on the sides.
In the southern apse three figures are depicted where Christ, placed in the center, is always dressed in a white tunic c which has on his right St. John the Baptist while on his left Saint John the Evangelist.
Proceeding by a flight of stairs outside the Crypt you reach a large terrace in front of the widest part of the cave and where the Main Chapel called the Chapel of the Virgin is located. On the facade is the reference to the year 1110 (ADMCX, perhaps referring to the year of construction) and fragments of frescoes.
The chapel consists of a cross vaulted room and secondary spaces with a barrel vault. The cross vault in blue has a central frame in which there was an image of Christ with Angels and Archangels alternating with the symbols of the four Evangelists. Various scenes are depicted on the walls such as: "The Annunciation", "The Presentation of Jesus in the temple", "The Nativity", "The adoration of the Three Kings", "The first bath of Jesus, with two midwives" and " The Crucifixion. "
From the external terrace of the Chapel and through a staircase you enter the Chapel of San Nicola, built right on the roof of the Chapel of the Virgin. It is almost embedded in the rock above and is a small apsidal room with a barrel roof. The Chapel it is decorated with scenes from the miracles of Saint Nicholas. On the outside of the facade and above the window a medallion is painted with the hand of God together with two elegant angels. Inside the chapel there is the fresco depicting the "Virgin Mary with Child "in the center with on the right" San Paolino "and on the left" San Nicola ", both in bishop's clothes. On the arch of the apse" San Giovanni Evangelista "and" San Giovanni Battista"
Both the frescoes of the main chapel and those of the chapel of St. Nicholas are from the 11th century
The defensive system of the Torri a Maiori
In the past, several sighting towers have also been built on the Maiori territory: in fact, from the Byzantine period, the inhabitants of the coast have been the victim of numerous attacks by pirates who came from the sea and which, at every invasion , plundered the villages with extreme ferocity. Here was felt the need to defend himself and under the Angevins the first towers were built. They were quite tall, had a cylindrical shape and their goal was to alarm the population about the approach of pirates and allow the inhabitants to escape up the hills. Subsequently, the Viceroy of Naples Don Pedro of Toledo in the 16th century and then Don Parafan de Ribera had numerous towers built along the coast by order of Emperor Charles V, also due to the greater frequency of invasions. The new towers were built lower than the previous ones, square and with thicker containment walls. In addition to having the function of sighting and signaling, they also had the function of defense since cannons were also used to target pirate ships that approached the coast.
On the Maiori territory the towers were in communication with each other, with the castle of Thoro-plano and with the defense system of the mountain territory of Tramonti.
Currently the two coastal towers still clearly visible near the inhabited center and which can be admired for their grandeur are: the Salicerchio Tower (more commonly called the Norman Tower) on the oriented side and the Mezzacapo Tower (more commonly called Torricella) on the border with the Municipality of Minori. The Norman Tower was built in the 16th century on two floors with loopholes, cistern and bomber. La Torricella was built in 1584 on one floor and is composed of a single large room with barrel vaults. A further coastal tower had been built near the mouth of the Reginna stream but at the beginning of the nineteenth century it was demolished due to the construction works of the current Strada Statale 163 Amalfitana.
In Via Nuova Provinciale Chiunzi, a little further inland, the Torre di Milo protected the districts of Lazzaro and Lama while the locality of Vecite was protected by the Torre di Vecite, built at the foot of the Church of S. Martino. The latter performed the important communication function between the coastal towers, the Castle of Thoro-Plano, the territory of Tramonti to the north and the Castle of S. Maria. Currently the Torre di Vecite is not well preserved.
The other coastal towers built in the Maiori area are: the Acquarulo Tower in the Salicerchie area, the S. Spirito Tower at the Badia di Santa Maria de Olearia, the Capo d'Orso Tower and the Erchie Tower in defense of the current hamlet of Erchie. The Torre di Erchie was built around 1530 on one floor and is currently one of the best preserved towers on the Amalfi coast.
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