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Malta's Cross icon
art & history

historical vocation

Scala has been Christian since its foundation and the Scalesi are very religious people. Monsignor Cesario d'Amato, whose memories of the area are precious, wrote that within Scala flourished communities of men and women who embraced a life of spiritual obligations in search of perfection. At first arose Benedictine and Eastern rite monasteries, dedicated to contemplation and tending to be isolated, followed by the Augustinians, Dominicans and Redemptorists. 

Fra Gerardo Sasso - image


He is the most important figure in the history of Scala. Belonging to the noble Scalese family 'Saxo', he was an absolute protagonist in the tumultuous events of the Holy Land around the year 1000 during the first Christian crusades committed to facing Muslim dominance. A man of great charity and sense of organization, together with the Benedictine monks he welcomed Christian pilgrims to the hospital of Saint John the Baptist in Jerusalem, which was financed by Amalfitan merchants. After the Christian conquest in 1099, he was appointed Prior and founded the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem (Knights Hospitaller).

13th century A.D.

DE SAXO family building

Blessed Fra Gerardo Sasso was born in the district of San Pietro. An old photograph depicts what remained of the inner courtyard of the Saxo family's building. Over the centuries the building underwent profound changes. Today only the four columns on which the cross vaults restare visible.

Coats of arms of Order of Malta - image

Knights with no country

The Order of the Knights Hospitallers was founded to assist the needy and to defend Christianity with arms. When the Turks conquered Jerusalem in 1310, the Order was forced to move first to Cyprus, then to Rhodes and finally to Malta, hence the present name of the Order of the Knights of Malta. The conquest of Napoleon in 1801 forced the Knights to abandon the island. The Order continued to consider itself a sovereign entity deprived of a territorial state. It is currently based in Via Condotti in Rome, in a building that enjoys the guarantee of extraterritoriality.


Like many churches in the area, San Pietro also had a crypt which was later transformed into an ossuary. Today of the original frescoes, traces of a Knight of Malta still remain.

St Alfonso Maria de' Liguori image

Sant Alfonso Maria de' Liguori

He was born in Marianella, Naples during the age of the Enlightenment. Revered for his simple and warm manner, as a child he demonstrated a prodigious talent in the most diverse artistic fields. A brilliant lawyer who, while still eighteen, left the profession due to the distortions of justice. Thus came a radical turning point whereby he chose to enter into priesthood in order to dedicate himself with passion to the poor and the dispossessed. He encountered Scala while retreating at the hermitage of Santa Maria dei Monti during a period of rest. Here he was able to take care of mountain shepherds and met another exceptional religious figure, Blessed Maria Crostarosa.

the church in the rocks

Just outside the center, hidden from street level, is the small church of Saint Alfonso. It lies on the Dragone valley with a wide view of the Amalfi sea. A compulsory destination for the Redemptorists was the secret place where Sant'Alfonso de' Liguori used to pray and where he experienced frequent visions of the Madonna. Of impressive beauty is the bare rock apsidal area behind the altar.

Beata Maria Celeste Crostarosa image

Santa Maria
Celeste Crostarosa

A woman of decisive and extroverted character, she was born in Naples and entered the Carmelite convent of Marigliano near Naples while very young. Upon moving to one of the new convents in Scala, she experienced visions where the Lord told her to found a new Order. Due to the impetus of her apparition, she was initially not believed. But soon Alfonso Maria de' Liguori's skepticism changed to great confidence. Out of the association of these two holy personalities, the Congregation of the Redemptorists and the Order of the Redemptorists were founded in Scala, and are still present today throughout the world.

Grid image
Coats of arms of Redentoriste image

The sister in colour

Affectionately so-called for their dark red dresses, so far removed from the more usual black and white. The Redemptorists, much loved by the Scalesi, are strong symbols of identity for the whole community. Since its foundation the Order has experienced a notable diffusion: today, scattered throughout the world, there are forty two monasteries.

The monastery, located in the heart of the historic center, was founded in 1731 in an ancient noble palace which already being used the seat of the Order of the Visitandines. Every year the nearby guest house welcomes tourists from all over the world, fascinated by the profound faith that can be felt in these places.

The preparation of shortcrust pastry biscuits. The Redemptorists, who historically observed a rule of strict enclosure, today live in a style of open hospitality.

The decorated grate and the dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit. It is the ancient confessional through which the interactions between Sant'Alfonso and Santa Maria Crostarosa took place.

Monstrance image

Religious calendar

The lives of many religious figures are historically intertwined with the history of this country. Scalese life is marked by a long series of Christian holidays with events taking place throughout the year. Only those characteristic of Scala are listed and therefore national festivities should be considered additional.

the CORPUS domini

Known for donning their traditional blue cape during the procession are the devotees of the Madonna del Santissimo Rosario. Together with the Confraternity of Saint Joseph the Worker they constitute the active prayer groups in Scala.


A colorful carpet of flower petals in front of the Cathedral square. Tradition has it that it is trampled by the procession only when returning to the Cathedral.