MAIORI AND ITS COASTAL TOWERS
Rich in incomparable beauty, with trekking routes and enchanting beaches, Maiori amazes its visitors with several watchtowers rising above the sea.
by Barbara Iovine
The Amalfi Coast is full of magical places where you can enjoy a relaxing and rejuvenating vacation. Whether you are a sunbather or you enjoy walking in nature, Maiori might just be your cup of tea!
Let’s have a closer look at its fascinating defensive system, that was built between the 9th and the 17th century, that nowadays is guarding this beautiful coast.
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What were the towers for?
As a faithful ally of the Maritime Republic of Amalfi, Maiori was home to most of the Saracen watchtowers. Working as a defensive system at the behest of the viceroy of Naples, Don Pedro de Toledo, these structures were built to fight Turks and pirates. They were positioned with a view of the sea and at least two adjacent towers, to communicate with each other and ask for help in case they needed it. Their purpose was exactly to raise the alarm as soon as they saw invaders on the horizon, using light and smoke signals. Today, although they no longer play their primary role, they still bear witness to the history of this splendid city.
The coastal towers itinerary
Today you can discover these charming ancient buildings through a fascinating itinerary. Most of these towers have been converted into luxury restaurants or private homes. They are all well maintained, apart from Torre Capo Tummolo, the ancient pivot of the coastal defense, mostly destroyed by the passing of time but still open to visitors, and Torre Lama del Cane, now reduced to ruins. I assure you that all of them are worth a visit, whether it is for a swim with a picturesque view or just a fantastic photoshoot. The uniqueness of this landscape, between history and natural beauty, will make your visit unforgettable.
The first stop-over of this itinerary takes place at Minori’s border, where Torre Mezzacapo rises above the Annunziata’s cave, just 300 meters from the sea, which is nowadays incorporated into the nearby fairy-tale Miramare Castle. Today this complex, characterized by hand-painted majolicas tiles, is a sumptuous accommodation facility accessible through the singular Tower and its magical garden and is set like a precious stone between earth and water. The spectacular view of the sea outside the window offers the visitor a peaceful and quiet feeling and is certainly a great business card.
Continuing along the coast we find the Torre dell'Angolo or delle Formicole, better known as the Tower Normanna: the oldest of the coastal towers and one of the first that can be seen from the sea. It lies on a rocky spur and can be visited on request. Nowadays, this is a location for private parties and small ceremonies thanks to its historical charm, and the terrific panoramas overlooking the sea.
If you spend your holidays on the Amalfi Coast, treat yourself to at least one Italian aperitivo at sunset on its romantic Belvedere terrace with its fantastic view of the Gulf of Maiori. On the other hand, if you are here to celebrate an important event, or you just want to have a romantic candlelight dinner, treat yourself and choose a table at the amazing restaurant: the Ulysses’ one, located directly overhanging the sea, is a real private corner of Paradise where the sound of the waves will be the only “noise” keeping you company. Surrounded by water, the tables and the structure itself look as they are dipped in the crystalline sea, where the smell of good food merges with that of the sea.
Moving forward towards the center of Maiori, the Torre Badia, a remnant of the viceregal period, will appear in front of us. This has been renovated and is now a private home. Imagine waking up there, pulling back the curtains, and breathing in the smell of the sea… what better way to start a day?
The next tower along our itinerary is the Torre Cesare. This keeps its original appearance made of bare stone almost unchanged, now adorned with beautiful flowers. Currently, it is an exclusive accommodation facility accessible through a wide flight of stairs, which twists and turns among the pines and terraces, where the sea view rooms plunge in an enchanting natural setting. Despite the historical appearance aspect, the structure is equipped with all modern comforts and an outdoor swimming pool.
Finally, upon reaching Erchie, we arrive at Torre la Cerniola, one of the best-preserved. This tower as well stands on an imposing cliff and houses a characteristic restaurant, framed by unspoiled nature and crystal clear waters. It is another perfect place to have dinner in the moonlight, followed by a walk under the stars, while the breeze tickles your skin.
All the towers I described are located in strategic and fascinating points of the Maiori coast. Whether you decide to follow my itinerary or to focus on some towers I described to you, take my advice, book your holiday and fill your camera roll with memories and your eyes with beauty!
- The Norman Tower appears in many paintings, and also in the film "Paisà" by Roberto Rossellini, in "L'episodio siciliano".
- In recent years the Norman Tower has been visited by local, national, and international guests, including Carlo Buccirosso, Biagio Antonacci, Naomi Campbell, Leonardo Di Caprio and the unforgettable Lucio Dalla.
- The beach in Erchie, where Torre la Cerniola stands, was ranked one of the 15 most beautiful beaches in Italy (SKYSCANNER)
Sources: www.tnaamalficoast.it, www.lacerniola.com
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