SCALA, THE OLDEST VILLAGE OF THE AMALFI COAST
Scala is a picturesque place located on the heights of the Amalfi Coast, separated from Ravello only by the Dragon Valley, and is the oldest village in the area. By visiting its churches and hiking its paths, all visitors will experience truly unforgettable emotions.
by Barbara Iovine
A visit to this village will fill your eyes with beauty, thanks to its singular landscapes which include terraces of olive groves and vineyards. Scala, located in the center of the Lattari mountains, is surrounded by greenery and is the perfect destination for those who do not like crowds and want to spend some time in peace and tranquility instead.
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Scala - Torre dello Ziro
The Romans’ refuge
The origins of this village are not very clear. A legend says that some Roman families, who left at the behest of Constantine to go to the court of Byzantium, were surprised by a storm. After many adventures, they arrived in the Lattari mountains, where they founded the city of Scala, named after the conformity of the territory that resembles a staircase.
Today the town is divided into characteristic districts and has a typical medieval structure. There is an “ancient” and very fascinating fraction of the village, where narrow and steep streets lead up to the small perched houses, but most of all, even if small, Scala offers a lot of touristic points of interest.
Let's go then and discover the wonders of this exclusive location!
Discovering the village of Scala, between trekking and churches
In the day Scala had 130 churches and today not only it has rich historical and artistic attractions, but also a great natural heritage thanks to which the trekking lovers can choose between various routes, enjoying the surrounding landscape.
One of the best ways to start your tour in the city is by following the main road, which starts in Piazza Municipio, and then visit San Lorenzo Cathedral. After several transformations, the church today is decorated in a main Rococo style, which is simple and rigorous. Compared to the other churches in the area and to the square itself, the Cathedral’s huge dimensions reflect the illustrious past of the city. Indeed, with the imposing bell tower, the complex is very majestic. Once inside you will find different artistic treasures — some of them still object of study — and you will notice a predominance of white in contrast with the bright colors of the ceiling, while the floor is in majolica, a typical element of the Amalfi Coast. The real highlight, however, is its crypt, with a very particular crucifix wearing a golden crown (and not of thorns) and the sepulcher of Marinella Rufolo.
There is also a precious eighteenth-century fountain in the same area of the Cathedral with a spectacular panorama behind it: not to be missed!
In the Minuta district, in an almost unreal silence, there is a small square that is home to Scala’s oldest church, also visible from the city of Ravello: the Annunziata Church.This is preceded by an enchanting portico, with a cute small stone pit, and a viewpoint on the wonderful Amalfi and Atrani. This is the perfect setting for your artistic souvenir photos.
It is also noteworthy the visit to the ruins of the Basilica of Saint Eustachio, which dates back to the 12th century. This area is the witness of the ancient medieval brightness of Scala, and it can be said that this is the oldest and most evocative place in the village. It is still possible to see the old facade and the crypt, and in summer the ruins become a venue for truly engaging concerts and events. But it is the spectacular view of the coast that tops it all. It will leave you speechless.
I recommend to the hiking and nature lovers a visit to the Valle delle Ferriere Nature Reserve, a wonderful area of about 500 meters with a rich and particular ecosystem. This Reserve among the mountains of Scala extends until the borders of Amalfi and Agerola. It also hosts the typical Azores and Indian vegetation, together with the typical Mediterranean scrub. Along this path, crossed by the Canneto river, there are small (but spectacular) waterfalls that create a truly unique show! This is the ideal destination for any excursion: easy and stunning.
Another very pleasant hiking route is the one that leads you to the Torre dello Ziro, which is surrounded by a lush green pine forest, on the spur of Mount Pontone. Additionally, along this way, you will find a spectacular view over the Gulf of Salerno.Walking along the ancient streets of this small village, often made of stairways, is such a suggestive experience.
Often when you think of the Amalfi Coast and its unspeakable views, the first thought goes to the famous Ravello and Positano, but not many people know that Scala can offer unmissable panoramas too. In Campidoglio, for example, it is possible to enjoy a fantastic view: Villa Cimbrone, the entire coast, and the Gulf of Salerno.
Less touristy, but no less beautiful. Don't miss this fascinating opportunity!
- The Annunziata Church was also the set of Alessandro Siani’s film, “Si accettano miracoli” (Miracles are accepted).
- Scala was an important stronghold of the Republic of Amalfi: the close link established with it brought a lot of wealth to the prominent merchant families of the small town.
- In 1500 Giovanna D'Aragona, known as “the Mad”, was locked up together with her children and then killed, in the Torre dello Ziro, because of her relationship with the court butler. For this reason, it is said that the Tower is populated by ghosts.
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