5 things to see in Conca dei Marini
“In every window the sun, from every window the sea.” This saying sums up all the charm of the small seaside town of Conca dei Marini, which is just over 10 kilometers from our boutique hotel. Although it is one of the smallest towns in Italy, it has so much to tell and to offer. Rightfully included among “The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy,” it owes its name to its particular conca-shaped geographic conformation and is also known as “Conca dei gradini” because all the places are connected by “scalinatelle.”
What to see in Conca dei Marini? Here’s our list of 5 things not to miss!
The Emerald Cave
Conca dei Marini’s main attraction is the Emerald Grotto, an enchanting karst cavity partially invaded by the sea and rich in stalactites and stalagmites. It was discovered almost by chance in 1932 by fisherman Luigi Buonocore and is so called because of the characteristic coloration that the water inside takes on, the result of the reflection of sunlight filtering through an underwater fissure. Its value is not only aesthetic but also scientific, as it is home to very rare marine species. The cave can be reached both by sea and from the state road 163 Amalfitana (via elevator and stairs) but access is exclusively by boat.
The Tower of the Cape of Conca
Among the things to see in Conca dei Marini we cannot fail to mention the fascinating Torre del Capo di Conca, also known as Torre Saracena or Torre Bianca. It is a 16th-century watchtower that stands in an isolated position on a striking promontory. It was built by Charles V to defend the territory from Turkish incursions. After the defeat of the Turks at Lepanto, it lost importance and was also used as a cemetery until 1949. An anecdote says that one day two American tourists were seen kneeling in front of the tower praying to God to be buried there, “in the most beautiful place in the world.”
The Church of St. John the Baptist
The Church of St. John the Baptist, also known as the Church of St. Anthony of Padua (patron saint of the town), is definitely worth a visit. The date of its construction is uncertain but its origins probably date back to the 11th-12th centuries, when it was erected perhaps in the Byzantine style and then later enlarged and transformed into the Amalfi Romanesque style. Positioned on a cliff, it dominates the village from above with its harmonious facade and its bell tower with a cusp vault covered with majolica tiles. From here on June 13 the procession in honor of the patron saint departs. From the square in front of the church it is possible to enjoy a magnificent view of the sea.
The Church of St. Pancratius Martyr
Along Don Gaetano Amodio Street is the Church of St. Pancratius Martyr. As with the previous church, it is not possible to specify the date of construction, but a document suggests that it existed as early as the 14th century. There are three entrance doors, above which are mosaics of the Ravenna school representing St. Pancras on the right, St. Anthony of Padua on the left, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the center. Inside there are three chapels on each side: on the right those dedicated to St. Gaetano, Our Lady of the Snow and St. Anna; and on the left those dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Christ Crucified and St. Raphael.
The Church of St. Michael the Archangel
Also of some importance is the Church of St. Michael the Archangel, located along St. Michael Street. The date of its foundation is unknown, but we learn from a notarial deed that it existed as early as the 13th century. Inside it preserves a beautiful 18th-century altar, the original floor of the apse, and some valuable paintings of the Neapolitan school. The high altar is surmounted by a large panel painting of Our Lady of Mount Carmel with St. John the Baptist, St. Michael the Archangel, and St. Dominic, by the painter Marco Pino da Siena, who was a prominent and central figure in 16th-century southern figurative art.