Marina del Cantone - Nerano
Nerano (Marina del Cantone) is a small village near the end of the famous Amalfi Coast. Its location is strategic for tourists because it is exactly half way between Capri, Positano and Sorrento.
This beautiful seaside hamlet was founded a very long time ago when the Phoenicians first came here. They built a temple dedicated to the goddess Minerva at Punta Campanella. The Egyptians, Phoenicians and Greeks, passing by with their ships, used to make libations with wine.
After the Phoenicians, the Greeks settled in and built one more temple dedicated to the god Apollo on the east side of the coast. Unfortunately none of these temples have survived.
The Odissey, the epic legend written by the Greek Homer, relates that Ulysses passed here when he was coming back from the witch Circe and that he listened to the deadly songs of the mermaids.
2 miles east from Nerano there are three little islands (Li Galli) and it seems that three mermaids used to live there: Leucosia, Ligea and Partenope. Their songs used to drive sailors mad and crash their ships into the rocks killing them. Ulysses knew this but wanted to listen to them, so he told his crew to tie him to the mast and each one of them had to put wax in their ears. When they were passing in front of the sirens Ulysses begged his crew to untie him, but thanks to the wax they couldn't hear him or the voices of the sirens so they passed safely.
The sirens died from anger and legend has it that Leucosia's body was found on the coast opposite Nerano, now named Punta Licosa, Ligea was found in the south of the Cilento region and Partenope (which was also the Greek name for Naples) was found in Naples where Castel dell' Ovo is now.
St Peter's Church - Crapolla
Li Galli Islands
Ulysses and the three mermaids
After the Greeks, along came the Romans and in that period a fisherman called Peter (Saint Peter) arrived here from the Middle East, and it was then that the local inhabitants abandoned their old religion and became Christians. Where there was once the temple of Apollo (Crapolla), they built a church dedicated to Saint Peter and we still can see its ruins from the sea today.
Nerano takes its name (Neroniano) from the Roman Emperor Nerone Tiberio who lived in Capri 2000 years ago, although some say that the old name of Nerano was Janeran because apparently the "janare" (or witches) used to live here.
During the Roman occupation Nerano had its best period but when the barbarians defeated Rome, it started to decline and the continuous incursions of the Turks or Saracens hastened its demise.
At the end of the eleventh century Queen Giovanna II gave the mountain of Minerva to the inhabitants of Nerano and Termini. On top of it you can now find a chapel dedicated to Saint Constance (Now the name of the mountain is Saint Costanzo). An old tradition says that the local inhabitants took the dead body of Saint Costanzo from Capri and made the church for him, declaring him their patron saint.
You can find another beautiful, tiny chapel at the eastern end of the beach in Marina del Cantone. It was built in 1646 and dedicated to Saint Antonio di Padova.
Emperor Tiberio Nerone
Mount San Costanzo
S. Costanzo Chapel
S. Antonio Chapel
Punta Campanella Tower
Other ancient buildings are the watch towers that you can find all along the Amalfi and Sorrento Coast. They were built during the fifteenth century, because during that period the Mediterranean Sea was haunted by pirates. These towers were built in such a way that each one could see at least two others (one each side). In this way they could communicate during the night with fire and during the day with smoke or mirrors.
Unfortunately they couldn't fight back the Turkish navy in 1558.
It was the 13th June (maybe that's why the chapel on the beach is dedicated to Saint Antonio who is celebrated the same day) when the Turks came during the night with 120 ships and under the lead of Alì Pascià, destroying and looting the village, taking around 4000 people as slaves.
In 1656 the plague hit Naples and unavoidably here too, killing many people, but finally, under Bourbon domination, Nerano rised up again thanks to the sea trade of raw materials, agricultural and handicrafts products with the capital (Naples) and other Mediterranean ports.
In 1861 Italy was unified and the Bourbon domination ended.
Many quarries were opened in that period. A very important one was the limestone quarry in Jeranto ( we can still see its remains), so many people from Sardinia (experts in mining) moved to Nerano. That's why we have many Sardinian surnames here. Many other people came here when Naples was bombarded in World War II finding peace and welcoming people.
Jeranto Bay Limestone Quarry
Pasta alla Nerano
In recent times Nerano has become very well known thanks to its beautiful sea, awarded the Blue Flag nine years in a row. This is a prize given to the cleanest and clearest water in Italy.
It is also very popular with the Jet-Set thanks to the very high reputation of the restaurants and the delicacy of its gastronomic products.
Pasta alla Nerano is a special and famous dish invented here by the owner of a very old restaurant on the beach called Maria Grazia.
If you need a break from the craziness of today's life style and if you'd like to spend some time in a place that is lively by day but peaceful at night where you can be lulled just by the sound of the sea, Nerano is the right place to be.