They say “See Naples and die” … yet perhaps you haven’t seen Cava de’ Tirreni…

By Angela Monetta (Translation by Thérèse N. Marshall)

Travelling southwards from Naples, you come across several towns and charming little villages that are simply a must-see. About 15 km from the Amalfi Coast, before reaching the sea, there is a town with approximately 60,000 inhabitants that still retains its medieval charm, encompassing beauty and peculiarities dating back to ancient Roman times. From the high part of the town, it is possible to admire the entire valley with its colourful roofs, alongside the surrounding hills acting as its backdrop, until you reach its southernmost part overlooking the sea. Cava de’ Tirreni, of Etruscan origin, is one of the very few cities in the south to have porticoes, a symbol of commercial activity, since they provided shelter to those passing through this area on their way to Naples. To date, the city has still preserved its commercial structure and its porticoes have since become an authentic natural shopping centre hosting boutiques, clubs, pizzerias and pubs. In the evening, the streets are cram-packed with people who love to stroll through the streets doing a so-called “struscio” (wandering through the streets without any apparent destination).

All this is what Cava was in bygone days and has always been since then, but suddenly, at the beginning of March, everything came to a standstill… the streets became deserted, stripping the town of its soul. If, on the one hand, by observing the porticoes in perspective, it was possible to admire the city in all its glory, on the other hand, it gave an idea of the impact the pandemic and lockdown had had on Cava. Businesses were forced to close and there wasn’t a living soul in sight. The town had been deprived of its pulsing heart, its people, and the traders’ bustling business activities…

Yet Cava de’ Tirreni is not new to this kind of experience. Way back in 1656, the city had to face the Great Plague, as did other parts of Europe. Evidence of this can be found in the documents preserved in the municipal archives in Cava de’ Tirreni, Salerno and Naples.

In the document preserved in the municipal archives of Cava de’ Tirreni, the notary public Tommaso Gaudiosi once wrote: “Cava de’ Tirreni, (formerly known as “La Cava”) was also found to be infected by the disease without being able to defend itself in any way, as it was open on all sides, yet at the same time, neither did its superiors forbid it (the disease) entering.”

The city slowly and laboriously recovered from the plague to resume its frenetic business activities as a commercial town. Today, we are following in our fathers’ footsteps… having to pluck up courage, forming new alliances in order to support our town, that, once again, has to embark on the long road to recovery…

Come and visit the town in order to discover other characteristics that Cava de’ Tirreni has in store …

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