Vietri sul Mare
Art, history and tourism have mingled together for centuries in Vietri sul Mare, the first town on the Amalfi Coast coming from Salerno, creating beautiful and unexpected results. This town not only lays on a terraced stretch of land that overlooks the most sheltered part of the Gulf, which would be enough to mesmerise and fascinate any tourist, Vietri sul Mare is also an open-air museum. Indeed the long Ceramic tradition that dates back to Etruscan times, has carried onto these days, and the walls and all the alleyways are decorated with beautiful ceramic tiles, even groceries and fishmongers have beautiful ceramic decorations instead of normal shop signs. Walking around the first gem of the Amalfi Coast tourists can really get an immediate feeling of the care and hard work that locals have dedicated to their town, indeed its fame for ceramics dates back to Etruscan times.
Vietri sul Mare has made of its artisanship the key for tourist development, visiting artisans workshops and the Ceramic Museum one can witness the development of the local artisanship.
The peculiarity of Vietri's ceramics is the merging of varied and different styles with the traditional patterns and colours of the Coast. Art and artisanship have flourished together with nature. Vietri is a small town that includes within itself many of the artistic trends of the last two centuries, unexpectedly it should be considered more for the contemporary artistic value that it represents than for the beauty of its landscape. At the same time it is reasonable to doubt that without such magnificent views and landscapes there could have been the inspiration to make such beautiful works of art. Vietri sul Mare is an ideal location for all those who want to savour the magnificence of the Amalfi Coast away from the most beaten tracks. Most tourists indeed go to Vietri as their last stop before returning home which means that the town sees a majority of sparse daily tourism. This means that Vietri sul Mare can be quite quiet even in the middle of summer, letting those who chose to spend some time here, really experience the calm pace of this village of artists.
Legends, myths and history
Jason and his fifty Argonauts were allegedly thrown onto this part of land by Aeolo's fury.
Jason fell in love with the coast and here decided to found Marcina and a temple for Hera Argiva, goddes of fertility and of navigation. Marcina was the first name of Vietri sul mare, most probably founded by the Etruscans as a harbour for their commerce at sea, indeed the name refers to the area now known as Marina di Vietri. Indeed its position made it a privileged spot for commerce with Sicily and Greece, where they exported ceramic pots for the preservation of anchovies and flasks for oil, and for wine. The town was sacked and destroyed by Vandals around 455 a.C and later on by many Saracenic invasions. The latter is at the origin of the legend of “I due Fratelli” (The two brothers) which are two sea-stacks in Marina di Vietri's waters, that are meant to represent two brothers one kidnapped by the invading Saracens and the other one who died of hunger and sadness awaiting the return of his beloved brother. For a long time as of the year 1000 a.C it was considered periphery of Salerno, then under the jurisdiction of the SS. Trintà di Cava Abbey and then part of the town Cava de' Tirreni. Only in 1806 did it become an autonomous mayorship and in 1807 Giuseppe Bonaparte included it in his project for a road to connect the Amalfi Coast, even if the works for the SS 163 started many years later since then it became officially part of the Amalfi Coast beauties. In the 1930s Vietri lived its “German period” which radically transformed ceramic artisanship into a art. Indeed many German, Polish and Dutch artists fleeing from Nazism came to retreat and hide in Vietri and used local ceramic tradition as an asset to their artistic research. Mutually, local artisans took on the innovation brought by foreign artists and experimented themselves with new artistic trends.
What to see
Chiesa madre di San Giovanni Battista
, with a beautiful tiled dome, in the centre of Vietri sul Mare. The Artistic-Industrial Museum Manuel Cargaleiro, where the ceramic tradition is explained from the industrial perspective as well as the artistic one.
Marina di Vietri
hosts the ruins of a Roman thermal structure
in the medieval suburb Molina just 3 Km out of Vietri sul Mare
village which is included in the list of the most beautiful suburbs of Italy. The village was built in a sea inlet on the cliff of a mountain. The views from the village's alleyways are thus breathtaking as much as the view of the village itself from the road that from Vietri sul Mare leads to it. (2 Km)
in the Villa Guariglia in Raito. This village just 2 Km from Vietri sul Mare set between mountain and sea, is worth a visit just to see the spectacular views on the Gulf of Salerno and on Vietri. It also homes a beautiful parish church with fresco paintings by Solimena.
hosts the recently discovered ruins of a Roman “murus reticolatum” which was flooded and covered by the sea.
Artisan workshops and galleries
Benvenuto Apicella's Botteghe Artistiche “Il Vasaio” c.so Umberto I 83, www.benvenutoapicella.it Klaus' ( Claudio Coccorullo) workshop C.so Umberto I 94 Francesco Raimondi's workshop via Mazzini 3, www.francescoraimondi.com Ceramica Bisogno c.so Umberto I 148-150 www.ceramicabisogno.com Ceramica Solimene via Case Sparse, loc. Fontana Vecchia, www.solimeneceramica.com
Vietri sul Mare has some of the largest beaches of the Amalfi Coast that can be reached by land or even by sea with boats that will even take you for a ride into the smallest and most romantic bays of the Coast.
Is the closest beach to Salerno's port which means that even if it's one if the largest and one of the few sandy ones, is not always crystal clear. It is a very family suited beach and thus tends to be quite crowded.
Just below Vietri sul Mare it has a Saracenic watchtower overlooking the sea stacks “I due fratelli”. The beach is run by a private establishment. It tends to be a fairly quiet resort.
Marina di Vietri
This beach was created overnight by the 1954 floods which created a sandy seabed just below the town of Vietri sul Mare. The beach is split into two by the Bonea River. On one side the beach is access-free and on the other side there is a large bathing establishment.
Marina di Albori
The beach just below Albori can be reached from the steps that start at the Km 48 of the SS 168. The beach catches sunlight until late in the afternoon.
June Quartetti alla Guariglia July and August Mediterraneo Summer concerts in Villa Guariglia E se... state a Vietri? September Classical Music festival in the Congrega dell'Arciconfraternita October National piano concerts competition “Ferdinando Calcaviello” December Festa dell'Immacolata Mò vene Natale February to April Arte in Mostra
Where to stay
Low budget Casa Anna Rita Medium Budget Hotel La Lucertola Lloyd's Baia Hotel Hotel Bristol Hotel Voce del Mare High Budget Hotel Raito Relais Paradiso