Festa di San Matteo in Salerno

 

800px-Duomo_di_Salerno

 

Today is the feast day of San Matteo, or St. Matthew, who is the patron saint and protector of the city of Salerno. The Cathedral of Salerno, which you can see in the photo above, is dedicated to San Matteo and holds some of (or a lot of, or all of – depending on who you ask) his relics. Whatever they have, it’s an important religious day for any church dedicated to San Matteo, but especially so for Salerno since they hold his relics and he is considered the protector of the city.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog San Matteo 2008

 

Last year I was able to see the elaborate procession through town and enjoy the festivities. While I’m off to Salerno in a matter of moments, I’m not sure I’ll make it in time to see the processions again this year. The threatening skies also mean they might be abbreviated due to the heavy rains and storms we’ve had the last few days. But here is a video I made last year of the procession carrying the large bust statue of San Matteo. I was surprised to see how many men it took to carry it. (Try to count them all!) The video isn’t terrific, but out of excitement I had actually climbed a streetlight pole in order to get a good view. There were so many people! You can get a sense of that at the end of this video:

 

 

If I make it in time, I’ll post photos and videos from this year. Enjoy!

Out & About: Rainbow over Ravello

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Rainbow Ravello2

 

When the rain stops and the sun comes out, the first thing I do is run to the window and poke my head outside. Will there be a rainbow? Today what greeted me was the most beautiful rainbow I have ever seen. So clear, so bright and so close! Che bellissimo arcobaleno!!

 

 

 

I tried to get a photo with the entire rainbow, but without luck. So I settled for making the video above. Did you hear il tuono (the thunder)? You might think the rooster in that video was confused by the sun coming out after the storm, but he actually sings like it’s sunrise all day long. (I’m glad I don’t live within earshot of him!) What a beautiful way to end a rainy and dark afternoon!

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Rainbow Ravello

 

Pop on over to Positano MY LIFE where you can see Massimo’s  equally wonderful view of an arcobaleno out of his window in Positano. Che bellissimo!!

Happy Hour and the Bells of San Benedetto in Amalfi

 

I received such happy comments about the church bells from the Ferragosto Procession in Amalfi that I just have to share another video with you all. Turns out I’m not the only one who loves the daily ringing of the bells across Italy! On Tuesday I was in Amalfi for the evening and enjoyed the summer breeze and a Bellini at the Bar Gran Caffè overlooking the packed beach at Marina Grande. The Bellini was inspired by the ever fabulous Lola from Aglio, Olio & Peperoncino. She is always up to something tasty, and on Monday it was the Bellini. Head over to her blog for the recipe! It was the perfect drink for a hot summer evening in Amalfi. Thanks for the inspiration, Lola!

 

flute Image: AO&P

 

[Add: Apparently this is a Bellini themed week around the web! Linda, one of my regular readers, who writes over at Ciao Chow Linda, also had an excellent post about it being Bellini Time this week. Something is in the air! Thanks for sharing, Linda!]

 

When we got up to leave, the bells at the Church of San Benedetto along the main road through Amalfi started ringing. I looked at my boyfriend and said, “I’ve never heard these bells ringing.” He responded, “I’m not sure I have either.” And he’s from Amalfi! So we both stopped to listen, and after a few seconds simultaneously started laughing. Yes, laughing. For me these will always be the bizarre bells of San Benedetto! Was it the Bellini, or do they make you giggle, too?

 

 

 

Giggling aside now for a few moments, the stark facade of the Church of San Benedetto, which is easy to walk right past without noticing, gives no clue of the Baroque interior and beautiful decorations within.  Built at the beginning of the 17th century, San Benedetto is small church with a single nave with four side chapels. Its vaulted ceiling is decorated in typical Baroque elements in a light colors that make the small space seen larger.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Church Interior

 

The most notable feature of San Benedetto is its decorated ceramic floor from the 1700s, typical in churches along the Amalfi Coast during this period. Walking around the church, you will find lavish floral decorations festooned with fruit and birds. Unfortunately, much of the floor is in poor condition, but here are a couple of shots I took of the areas in better condition:

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Church Floor2

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Church Floor1

 

 

The photos above are from two years ago. After walking by San Benedetto countless times, one day I walked by and the doors were open. Always curious, I popped inside to see what it looked like. Here in Italy you never know quite what you’ll find inside a church. San Benedetto in Amalfi was a lovely surprise!

Ferragosto Procession in Amalfi

While I spent most of Ferragosto hiding out in the house from the heat and the crowds, Saturday evening we decided to venture out to see what was happening and to meet friends for dinner on the beach in Atrani. As we drove through Amalfi looking for parking, I heard the distinctive procession bells ringing from the Duomo of Amalfi. I ran into Piazza Duomo just in time to watch the procession celebrating the Assumption of the Virgin Mary come slowly down the grand staircase. How beautiful!

 

 

(You can hear the procession bells I mentioned at the very end of the video.) The procession went down toward the beach and then entered back into the Piazza Duomo, but by that time I was on my way to Atrani. We had a wonderful dinner at Le Arcate, one of my favorite restaurants on the Amalfi Coast, overlooking the lights of Atrani shimmering on the sea. In the distance we watched Maiori’s fabulous fireworks display while enjoying the best tasting anguria (watermelon) that I’ve had this summer. What a lovely evening!

 

Head over to Positano My Life to check out Massimo’s photos of the Ferragosto celebrations in Positano here and here.

Out & About: Night Bells and Moon over Ravello

Ravello is a beautiful sight at night with its churches glowing and the city lights sparkling up and down the Amalfi coastline. The other night while passing through Scala, Ravello’s little-known and charming next door neighbor, the bells of the Duomo of Ravello filled the valley down to Atrani with their rich sound and the moon cast a lovely glow over the scene. I captured a bit of it (plus a motorino zooming by!) on a this short video. Enjoy!