CONCA DEI MARINI
Conca dei Marini: is a small town 400 meters above sea level on the Amalfi coast, a part of the rocky coast of the belvedere of San Pancrazi, with a landscape of rare beauty. The maritime art of its habitants comes from their roots of ancient times and their marine market was so sophisticated and efficient that it was even said that they had an innate understanding and skill for the marine. Conca was an active centre of commerce and had contact and exchanges with towns in the internal Mediterranean basin, the fame of the Amalfi Republic grew enormously by the people who knew of its decadence through the 11th century. Today the town, developed especially in the high part, offers wonderful and local restaurant. In fact, the villas that are spread throughout the coast are so numerous and splendid (Villa Oriana) that they host prestigious people looking for privacy. Conca dei Marini was the preferred place of the English Princess Margaret in the 1970s, who always reached it by sea. The ever presence of Folklores gives color and life to the area during the summertime.
THINGS TO VISIT:
. Grotto dello Smeraldo :the unique Grotta dello Smeraldo of "Sweet Color of Oriental Zeyphr", called so because the Eastern sea assumes this intense color of emerald, made from the reflection of sunlight on the water that penetrates into the cave from a hole underneath the sea. The magnificent antrum, a size of 60 meters for every 30 and with a maximum height of 24 meters, is nestled in the silent and solemn Conca basin, in a fold of costal edge. It was discovered by chance in 1932 by a fisherman, who soon afterwards wore a belt that glorified him with the inscriptioner of "Discoverthe Grotta". At the entrance a raft brings you into a cave that transforms itself into a fantastic green temple rich with caryatids, shapes, curtains and bas-reliefs. This grotto offers a specific characteristic in particular, almost unique: it brings together the typical elements of a karst grotto with that of the sea. The Grotta dello Smeraldo contains inside the striking underwater crib, in ceramic by Vietri, that each year around Christmas is the destination of a large crowd of divers coming from all over Italy.
. La Torre del Capo di Conca : the marvelous Conca basin contains another little jewel; on the said hill, Capo di Cona, it stands tall and alone the "Torre Bianca", a guard tower built in 500, and is now a testimony to the terrible pirate and aracrene invasions. Between the 9th and 16th century, the coast was subject to ferocious Saracrene attacks, with periods of peace alternating with periods of resurgence. This situation has left tracks all over the coast, with a couple of watch and defense towers that for the most part were constructed in the middle of the 500s when the viceroy of Naples, Pedro de Toledo, gave a global order to the defensive structure of the coast. The oldest date back to the 200s and some even earlier. The Conca Tower, the most beautiful of the Riviera, thanks to its striking position, is a Aragon styled tower with a square-angled form, often with a barrel cross and thick outer walls to better support the heavy artillery. It's said that one day, outside of this old Saracrene structure, some inhabitants of Conca noticed that there were two old American tourists kneeling. "What are you doing like that?" and they answered: world! "We're praying to God to make us die here and be buried in the tower, this is the most beautiful place in the world." They were convinced to stop praying like that and in the following years they returned to Conca, but this time just to have fun!
. Il Fiordo: the name coming from "furry" is a steep creek rich with vegetation and prehistoric grottos, which are deeply penetrated by the ocean, licking the peaceful waters of the small, solitary and romantic marina. Here nest and survive some of the last exemplary Pellegrino Falcons thanks to the particular microclimate, the heat-loving fern "Woodwardia radicans" splendid and rare examples of relict flower from the Tertiary Era. This natural fiord, near the village and harbour of fisherman has maintained its ancient charm over the course of time.
. Il Borgo Marinaio: a slice of strikingly beautiful panorama is the characteristic of the ancient Borgo Marinaio. It was erected in a small handle of sea and is made up of little homes along the seashore, like the old "Macaroni" with the foundations in an arc that emerges directly from the water. The houses are facing a typical cove, and considered one the most beautiful beaches in Italy and was visited in the 1960s among which were Margaret from England, Jacqueline Kennedy, Gianni Agnelli, The Princess of Holand and many more. In this exclusive place were concentrated the villas of the biggest VIPs of the international scene: the exclusive residence of Moet and Chandon, of Carlo Ponti, of Ruffo and the D'Urso's, the painter Enotrio from Puglia, the Countess matilde Visconti Greffi that hosted artists, writers, and directors. Everyone came to swim in the emerald colored sea! On the beach there is a little chapel dedicated to Santa Maria of Snow (named after an strange snow fall in August) and August 5th there is a spectacular folk festival. After the Holy mass, the Virgin Mary is brought solemnly in a procession towards the sea, all the way to Amalfi with many boats that follow in this marine parade. When they come back they celebrate on the beach in a blaze of lights and colors from all the locals, in a special way from the boaters and fishermen, who ask their saint for protection.
. The Church of Santa Rosa: at the entrance of the village, dominating over the enchanting bay of Salerno, from Capodorso to Punta Campanella, is the church and the convent of Santa Rosa. The outside is of a monastic style and contrasts with the rich, typical baroque style on the inside; the artistic value can be described by four wooden alters and iron grates. In this church, you can see the head of Saint Barnabas accompanied by the apostle Paul. In this claustral serenity the famous cream puff "Santarosa". The Brothers did not understand right away the extraordinary confectionate invention that they had made and that would later become a typical Neapolitan tradition. Immediately its abundance was appreciated and the nuns, seeing all the success, named it after their protector saint.
. The Church of San Pancrazio: is located in a very impressive and panoramic area of the Coast, surrounded by beautiful olive groves through a scenic terraced land remembered by the verses of Alfonso Gatto and by the paintings of Mario Avallone and Clemente Tafuri. Before it had a superb churchyard with majestic palm plants. This church has three naves as well as apses and a large entrance door.
. The Church of San Giovanni Battista: dating back to the 1200s, it is located on top of a ledge that hangs out over the sea from a steep slope. Looking more like a castle, its particular position has always saved it from the invasions of pirates and Saracrens who, in these places, assassinated and ransacked with unprecedented ferocity. The church has flat apses, with three covered naves and divided by columns with thick cylindrical pillars in the wall on top of which are marble arches. Today, along with the different restorations, the architectural structure has conserved the ancient harmony that brings the visitors a sense of peace. This church is better known as the Church of Santa Antonio da Padova, the protector of Conca dei Marini, a very revered saint. Every year, on June 13 Saint Antonio is celebrated with a patron festival and a solemn procession that goes across almost the whole town. In the past, there was so much devotion to the saint that at sunrise, near faithful prayesr groups in bare feet got together from nearby towns, singing the entire way, poignant songs of invocation. They were called the "zitelle scapellate", or the "shoeless maids", barefoot girls dressed in white, that in deep reverence and great humility, went to the feet of the Saint to glorify him and ask for grace.
. June 13th: the patron festival for S. Antonio da Padova, the protector of Conca dei Marini.
. July 23th: sailing race for the "Sea Festival".
. August 5th: the festival for the Madonna della Neve (Snow Virgin), that every year in a blaze of colors and lights, brings by way of the sea to Amalfi a large participation of boats.
. From May until October: every Thursday there are classical music concert in the church of Santa Rosa that is organized by the Ravello Festival.