We started off February by taking our first visit to the Costa d’Amalfi to a little town called Vietri Sul Mare, a city famous for its ceramic products. It rained and stormed quite a bit after our visit there, so we must’ve soaked up the last of the sun and warmth. The day was gorgeous, colorful, and adventure-packed as always. We began with wandering through the ceramic shops, continued venturing through the towns lesser-known alleyways, and eventually ended down at the beach hunting for sea glass. Street signs, doorway entries, and parts of store flooring were made with ceramic. Ceramic murals lined the stone walls and houses, and colorful pieces were even placed in the sidewalks. Everyday scenes like fishermen and women carrying water urns on their heads, local architecture, and elements of daily life served as colorful artistic inspiration. Even the humble and hardworking donkey was memorialized in clay, and has ever since been one of the ceramic symbols of Vietri sul Mare. The local ceramic style in Vietri varies by artist but often involves bright Mediterranean colors like turquoise, yellows, and blues. This was the first time that we really saw people since our explorations began after we turned yellow. However, after escaping the small crowds into the alleys, it was surprisingly much more deserted and peaceful! We encountered an Italian signora who let us have some fruit from the tree in her courtyard while chatting for a bit. On the way back, I later had some laughs with a cheerful signore during a purchase after we found his ceramic shop that led below street level.
— Corso Umberto — Chiesa Parrocchiale di S.Giovanni Battista — I Due Fratelli —
In the heart of the old town center is the Church of St.John the Baptist. The present building stands on the site where, since 1036, there was a place of cult denominated St. John de Staffilo, that in the 14th century became a parish church. Over the centuries the church has undergone changes, expansions, and renovations that have altered its original appearance, leaving traces of different styles: late Renaissance on the facade and Baroque and Neo-classical in the interior. The existing building goes back to the early ‘600. The most important intervention occured in the second half of that century, when the the polychrome marble alter of Neapolitan style, the balustrade, and the pulpit were donated by the family of Ascenzio Cassetta. At the beginning of ‘700 the high dome was erected, to be covered in 1902 with majolica tiles from the Vietri faenzera of the Taiani brothers. The church, oriented to the east, consists of a Latin cross, with the belfry located on the left of the facade. The best pictorial work is the 16th century altarpiece of the breast-feeding Virgin, formed by a central ancona depicting the Madonna feeding the Child, painted on a gold background, and by two side panels representing St.John the Baptist and St.Andrea, evidence of Salerno Renaissance painting. Inside the church a late 16th century painting of the Madonna of the Rosary by Lorenzo Fiammingo, the mid-16th century Crucifix by Aniello Stellato, and the St.Nicholas painting by Francesco Solimena are also preserved. The caisson was built in 1670 and later guilded and adorned with 15 paintings representing the principal events of St.John’s life, paintings damaged by the flood of 1954 and then dispersed.
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Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!
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