A fishing town with a busy fishing port, built at the feet
of the slopes of Mount Falesio, Cetara developed from the IX century, when it became
the settlement of a colony of Saracens. The inhabitants participated actively in
the affairs of the ancient Marine Republic of Amalfi, and was under the jurisdiction
of the Benedictine Abbey of Cava de' Tirreni for many centuries.
The entire economy of the village revolves around its maritime traditions: the fleet
of Cetara is one of the most active of the Mediterranean Sea, specialized in fishing,
processing and preserving tuna and anchovies. A recently rediscovered culinary delicacy
to be tasted is the salted anchovy sauce, an amber colored seasoning for pasta
dishes, produced since ancient times and that derives from the fermentation of anchovy
in small barrels of oak or chestnut (also known as terzigni), a descendant of the
Even the town's name reflects its intimate relationship with the sea and fishing.
Cetara, in fact, seems to derive from "cetaria" (tuna fish) or "cetari"
(sellers of large fish).
Among the most valuable monuments of art and history, not to miss:
- the Viceroy Tower, which dominates the East side of the beach of Cetara, built
by the Anjou and later strengthened by the Aragonese to defend the population against
the continuous attacks of the pirates. It was part of the large defensive fortification
system along the coast and was equipped with cannons and "petrieri", guns
that could shoot at short distance, in case of ground attacks;
- the Church entitled to St. Peter the Apostle, built in the IX century during the
expulsion of the Saracens by the Normans of Salerno. Extensively remodeled in later
centuries, now it features a Baroque look with a medieval bell tower (XII century)
that proposes a square plan on the first three orders and an octagonal shape on
the other higher ones. Inside it houses an antique organ and a bilingual inscription
(in Latin and Arabic) which commemorates Grandenetto d'Ausilio, the hero of Cetara,
that actively participated in the liberation of Prince Frederick of Aragon, who
was captured by the barons of Salerno in 1484;
- the Church and Convent of San Francesco, built in the XIV century. The Church
features a single nave and preserves inside frescoes and paintings of great value,
such as the "Deposition" by Marco Benincasa, and one that features Suor
Orsola Benincasa, a nun of local origins who founded the Congregation of the Teatine
Sisters of the Immaculate Conception;
- the Church of Our Lady of Constantinople, dating from the XIX century and partially
rebuilt in 1921, after the disastrous flood of 1910. The graceful bell tower is
of a later period.
By: Italia Lifestyle Locali d'Autore
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