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the hamlet of

pontone

art & history

Pontone

Almost completely surrounded by lemon groves, this hamlet is situated between the two valleys of the Canneto and the Dragone Rivers. Pontone is nearest hamlet to the coast and St.John the Baptist Church can be found in its centre. In 1137, it was an independent town called Scalella, (little Scala) and was the preferred location for Amalfi's mobility because of its quiet and relaxing surroundings.

The wool spinners

The square in front of the St.John the Baptist Church was originally built to be easily transformed into a processing pool for fleeces of wool. From the late Middle Ages, wool was imported from Apulia (Puglia) to be treated and spun in Pontone. Pure mountain spring water was diverted via an ingenious canal system that flooded the square so that the raw wool could be washed before spinning.

THE COLUMN OF JUSTICe

On the facade of St. John the Baptist Church (12th century) there is a bizarre partial column jutting out from the wall that dates back to the late Middle Ages. This horizontal column was meant to represent the portico of the church which was never built because it would have reduced the square’s dimensions considerably. Standing under the column had a symbolic value: it meant seeking asylum. Any man or woman who maintained that they had undergone abuse or injustice from kings or from high ranking officials, received protection and could ask for justice from the Corporation of Wool-Spinners of Scala. The idea that a community could thus guarantee individual rights bears witness to how Scala and the Duchy of Amalfi were at that time, in line with the liberal ideas of major European cities.

ST. PHILIP NERI

The church dates back to the 10th century and has both Byzantine and Medieval influences. You come across it by following the steps that lead up to Minuta from Pontone’s square. The bell-tower is built on an elevated rocky outcrop. The atrium that is now partly disintegrated, has three cross vaults which were once decorated with frescoes.

The feast day of St. John the Baptist in Pontone. After impressive firework displays, the statue of the saint is being placed back inside the church while the villagers remain in the square to enjoy the festivities.

Pontone is also well known by enthusiastic trekkers. There are two major trekking paths, one that descends to the Valley of Ferriere, and the other path up to Mount Aureo that traverses through centuries-old woodland and the ruins of the ancient defence wall before reaching Ziro Tower.

Valley of
Ferriere

"Woodwardia Radicans"
a prehistoric fern that still thrives because of the unique climate.

trekking

Ziro
Tower

where Princess Giovanna was imprisoned, is perched on a promontory with breathtaking views.

trekking
art & history

The
6 hamlets

A short guide to the
ancient town of Scala.