All the world's a stage...especially when in Maiori! The town one of the largest on the Coast has been the favourite of many throughout history. Etruscan, Romans, Normans, kings and armies, the clergy and finally film directors, came to Maiori to leave a mark of their passage. Even the beautiful smooth and curvy nature that surrounds Maiori tried to modify the town, with terrible floods and catastrophic tides. Maiori accepted everything and everyone and was fortified and improved by all the events that happened around it. Maiori kept standing, and became more and more beautiful, town of contrasts with an extremely vibrant character!
When walking around Maiori the incredible clashes between buildings of different times, between the sea and the Mountain Falerzio, between the touristic vocation and the calm town life, really give a sense of how Maiori is much more than just a summer tourist location.
Indeed it offers incredible excursions in the mountains, like to the close mountain village of Tramonti, as well as many historical itineraries ranging from Roman ruins, medieval convents and abbeys and II World War remains of the American landing called Operation Avalanche. Finally for Neorealism lovers , Maiori gives the opportunity to walk around the original settings of great films like Paisà, Il Miracolo and so on. The town will welcome anyone at anytime of year with its colourful frame of lemons, vineyards, and bright red bougainvillea. Like in a luxurious time capsule, Maiori is an ideal location for all those who do love some relaxing time by the sea, but yet enjoy walks in nature and discovering new places and unheard stories.
From legend to history
Since its origins Maiori has been fought over, indeed the Greeks claimed that they had founded Maiori by building a temple for the Boxstura goddess. Pliny instead believed Maiori to descend from the goddess Maja; even Hercules allegedly stopped at Mount Falerzio where a temple would have been built for him in the close village of Erchie.
Historically, the origins of Maiori are linked to the first Etruscan settlements during which the town was named Reghinna after the name of the town's torrent, and later during the Roman settlements, the name was extended to Reghinna Major to distinguish it from the other torrent nearby Reghina Minori. The Romans were the first to understand the tourist potential of the Coast building a villa with direct access to sea here in Maiori (I A.D). Obviously Maiori was part of the glorious Republic of Amalfi, hosting the navy yard, the admirality and the very important salt warehouse. Furthermore it seems that Maiori was the town to first name the North- wind Tramontana, after the nearby mountain village Tramonti and most importantly Maiori's sailors are meant to have created the first Wind Rose. To this day there are many towers and ruins that witness the important role of this town for the Republic of Amalfi. Howevere following to Saracens and Norman invasions the splendour of Maiori declined for some years. However Maiori's importance and vigour was quickly restored as of 1505 when the pope Giulio II named it “Insigne Collegiata” (important title still valid these days); since then Maiori gained much importance among the clergy, receiving important acknowledgments and seeing the flourishing of important and beautiful Churches. Maiori's fame reached its peak when Filippo IV titled it “Città Regia” (Royal City) in 1662. Since 1735 Maiori has suffered 5 tragic floods, the last in 1954 however the town and its people never succumbed and Maiori returned to its splendour with unexpected modern incursions set among medieval towers, lemon orchards, and Roman ruins.
What to see
Maiori has a great quantity of historical sites that can be visited. With at least 13 Churches from different periods, there is a great variety of styles and architectures that will make a visit to Maiori much more than just a holiday in the sun.
Due to its strategic position onto the sea Maoiri many towers were built throughout history to secure the town. Obviously the sea, the floods and time have had a strong impact on these buildings which however remain an important feature of Maiori, framing the town with beautiful clour effects: the bright red Bougainvillea have grown all over and elegantly descend upon the towers walls like thick and elegant flower crowns. The towers account for all the invasions and for all those that inhabited this beautiful land for some time. The most important towers are:
- Torre dei Saraceni
- Torre di Milo a Casale
- Torre Normanna
- Torre d'Erchie locally called La Cerniola
Most important historical venues.
Palazzo Mezzocapo, owned and built in 1800 by the Marquis Mezzocapo, has a gorgeous Hall of Mirrors and gorgeous frescoed ceilings representing the four elements of nature: earth, wind, water and fire. San Nicola de Thoro Plano, which is a ninth-century fortress, now privately owned but possible to visit on appointment. Collegiata di S.Maria a Mare is locate in the most ancient hub of town on mount Torina reachable going upstream along the torrent. It really accounts for the presence of many and varied cultures, there are elements from the XII century to the XIX, an outstanding maiolica tiled dome, and inside a statue of the Virgin Mary and the Child that was allegedly donated to Maiori by the sea. Hence the name Saint Mary at Sea. Badia di Santa Maria de Olearia originally a Benedictine abbey to which three chapels were added throughout time, on the original one leading to a mountain grotto. The name of the Abbey derives from the olive grows that surround it and reach as far down as the seaside. The village Erchie developed from the Benedictine Abbey of St.Maria de Erchi founded in 980 and closed in 1451. Here the harsh and rocky landscape is smoothed by lemon trees and vineyards. Erchie's beach divided into two by the tower is very popular in summer. Rossellini in love with Maiori. Throughout the Neorealistic period, Rossellini chose to film some of his most important masterpieces in this land. Anna Magnani's religious hallucinations would not have been the same without Maiori sea cliffs and probably Paisà would have been very different without the active participation of local Maioresi. L'Amore (P.2 Il Miracolo)1/3 youtube link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6z8xTzea3XI Paisà full film youtube link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Albdpxkooo8
Surely the most children friendly beach of the whole Coast, very long, wide and flat, mostly sandy. Directly opposite to town, on the other side of the main road, with a large car park and kiosks for refreshments and many bathing establishments with sunbeds and all sorts of beach equipment. At both ends of the beach there are two portions of “free beach” with kiosks for drinks and snacks.
Beautiful beach framed by two Saracens towers with free portions of beach as well as bathing establishments. Very clear water, sunlight until late and small delicatessen restaurants where to taste delicious and fresh fish specialities.
15th of August Santa Maria dell'Assunta, national bank holiday and Saint Patron of Maiori, as legend says that a Statue of Maria dell'Assunta was donated to town by the sea. On this day the statute is taken on procession along town and then fishermen run uphill to Santa Maria a Mare Church carrying the statue on their back. February/March Maiore's Great Carnival Last week of October International film award “Roberto Rossellini” Whit Sunday (Pentecost) A double pilgrimage to the Santuario di Maria Santissima Avvocata sopra Maiori, on Whit Sunday and again on Whit Monday Summer Maiori in Tavola, wine and food festival specifically dedicated to Maiori's speciality “Aubergines with chocolate”. Christmas Very special Mairoesi celebrations with markets and Neapolitan nativity installations.
Where to stay
Hotel Miramare www.miramaremaiori.it
Hotel Botanico San Lazzaro www.botanicosanlazzaro.it Hotel Club Due Torri www.hotel2torri.it Hotel Pietra di Luna www.pietradilunahotel.it Hotel Reginna Palace www.hotelreginna.it Where to Eat Nettuno Mammato Il porticciolo Pasticceria Trieste