Pontone in Scala
Pontone is one of Scala's many hamlets, even if until the beginning of last century it was considered as part of Amalfi.
The vibrant colours and its location have always made it a favourite venue for noble families and clergy for holidays and relaxation.
The village is dotted with many bell towers and aristocratic buildings. Pontone was in fact a rather important location for commerce and artisanship, especially for the production of wool.
The reason why still today Pontone attracts many tourists and it is still considered an important location for culture is the great amount of religious, historical and natural sites of interest.
History and Legends
The most famous of which is the Torre dello Ziro, (Ziro's tower) which most probably dates back to the XV century, built on an rocky spur looking out to Amalfi and Atrani.
The tower has a cylindric shape and it is the furthest outpost of the former Scalella castle.
The tower is very famous because it was the place where Giovanna d'Aragona was imprisoned with her children, by her brother Cardinal Luigi d'Aragona, who wanted to punish her for the scandal she had caused by getting into a relationship with her butler, after her husband's death, Alfonso Piccolomini.
Giovanna d'Aragona's story inspired very many writers, who were also probably much influenced by the beauty of the location where the tragedy occurred.
The novels are John Webster's “Tragedy of the Dutchesse of Amalfi”, Françoise Belleforest's “Histoire Tragique” and Felipe Lope de Vega's “Comedia famosa y triste del Mayordomo de la Duquesa de Amalfi”. The tower can be reached walking from Pontone along via Torre, where there is the entrance to Mount Aureo park, after which two roads lead either to the tower or to the belvedere.
What to see
Back in the town centre the most important buildings to visit are the Episcopal Home, Scala's bishops winter residency, and Saint Filippo Neri Church.
This was originally built in the X century for St Matteo, then during the baroque period it was completely refurbished and given to St Filippo Neri Archconfraternity, which left many important documents, capes and insignias.
Inside the church there are some impresiive elements such as: the beautiful majolica tiled floor, baroque canvases on the altars and a stucco Cross from the XVI century. From Pontano's medieval square it is possible to visit St. Giovanni Battista's church from the XII century, which also underwent many refurbishments, but maintained its original Moorish steeple. Inside there are numerous important paintings from the XVI century notably Aniello Iannicelli's Circumcision from the 1590. The wooden altarpiece is decorated with paintings depicting St Giovanni's life, who is also portrayed in a wooden statue close to the altar, where there also lays Filippo Spina's worn out tombstone dating back to 1346.
Lastly it's worth paying a visit to Santa Maria a Carmine's Romanesque church, which is the only Amalfi Coast example of porch with vaulted roof, having been built along the Counterreformation religious architecture guidelines.
To have a rich and fun experience of Pontone, the ideal thing is to alternate visits to religious sites with walks in the woods of pine trees around the village, where there are gorgeous openings onto mesmerising sea views, where Positano's roofs dot the landscape with vibrant colours and make every visitor understand why this village has been a favourite venue of many ever since it was built.