The charming and quiet fishing village of Cetara is often missed by visitors to the Amalfi Coast. Group tours tend to focus on the major cities of Amalfi and Ravello, due in large part to parking issues, and then zip along the coast making stops at the overlook above Positano and the Grotta dello Smeraldo. But there is so much more to discover! Last week I was reminded of Cetara when Valerie from 2 Baci in a Pinon Tree asked for some recommendations for their day trip to Amalfi. If you are planning a drive along the Amalfi Coast, and you are interested in seeing some of the quieter and less touristy cities, I would highly recommend a stop in Cetara.
Cetara is the first city on the coast after Vietri sul Mare, and it is easy to drive right past it since it sits well below the Amalfi Coast road. Take the exit off the road and drive all the way down to the harbor where there is parking. Once you arrive at the beautiful beach, it might surprise you to learn that Cetara has been an important fishing harbor since Roman times and continues to be the most important on the Amalfi Coast. Located off the coast are Cetara’s tonnare, or tuna processing facilities, where tuna caught out at sea are placed in underwater cages before being killed and processed. The city produces some of the most incredible tuna, which is preserved in olive oil in glass jars. You can buy it in most cities along the Amalfi Coast, and it will completely change your opinion of canned tuna. Divine! Pick up some of the tuna on your visit to Cetara and make pasta with tuna when you get home. It is a simple dish, and certainly one of my favorites. In July the city celebrates their successful local industry during the Sagra del Tonno (Tuna Festival), with good food, music and other events. This year I won’t miss it!
The Parish Church of San Pietro, with its bright majolica dome, is another highlight of the city. I have yet to see the inside of the church, but you can see photos of the beautiful, late Baroque interior and other views of the church on its website. (How great is it that churches, even smaller ones like San Pietro, now have websites?)
Even if the church is closed when you visit Cetara, you will find an impressive set of contemporary bronze doors on San Pietro. The work of Don Battista Marello, they depict the Apostles Pietro and Andrea surrounded by the sea and entwined in a fishing net supported by Christ at the top of the doors.
There are some great restaurants in the area, but I would recommend Il Ristorante Pizzeria Al Convento, located in the Piazza San Francesco in Cetara. Stop by and let the owner Pasquale introduce you to some of the local fish specialities. (They do cooking classes, too!)
Have you been to Cetara?
Will you stop by on your next visit to the Amalfi Coast?