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The walk to the Ziro tower is one of the most evocative of the Scala area. The tower belongs to an ancient network of defensive structures scattered along the coast to spot invaders coming from the sea. Over the centuries it has been the scene of many events, many bloody, which still leave an impression on the elder Scalesi to this day. The path which runs for around 5 km, along the crest of the Monte Aureo, is easy and immersed in a rich woodland environment. There are two main points of interest: the tower with its vantage point and, higher up, the viewpoint with an even more spectacular outlook.
From the district of Pontone, the Monte Aureo extends to the sea and overlooks Atrani and Amalfi (the most extensively inhabited areas). Between the two, surrounded by greenery, you can see the circular shape of the Ziro tower.
Metamorphosis II is one of the most famous lithographs by the Dutch artist. The church with bell tower is clearly recognisable as Atrani’s Magdalene church. The perspective from above perfectly matches theview obtained from the Monte Aureo viewpoint.
Artist and engraver of great mathematical culture, he was famous for paradoxically rich geometric works. Like so many Northern European intellectuals of his time, while traveling in Italy, he was fascinated by the beauty of the Amalfi Coast. Many of his works, from 1921 onwards, are linked to this area.
The narrow passage protected by defensive walls connects the tower to the observation yard. On the crest of rock in the background, the column of the lookout is visible.
After ransacking the islands of Ischia and Procida, the terrible privateer Ariadeno known as ‘Barbarossa’ along with his Ottoman-serving fleet threatened the people of Amalfi. Terror reigned, but an opportune storm sent the pirate ships on their way. Every year since, on the anniversary (27 June), the community of Amalfi celebrates this narrow escape thanks to the miracle performed by patron Saint Andrea Apostolo.
An ancient tradition tells of the Duchess Giovanna of Aragon who was strangled in the Ziro tower along with her two young sons. Daughter of the King of Naples and married at twelve years to the Duke of Amalfi, she was widowed very young. Later, out of love, she secretly married her butler. Guilty of union with a man of lower rank, she was condemned to her horrible fate.
The story of the Duchess of Aragon, collected and passed down through the words of Matteo Bandello’s novella, inspired authors such as Françoise Belleforest and Felipe Lope de Vega one hundred years later. The most notable work is John Webster’s Elizabethan theatre masterpiece, ‘The Tragedy of the Duchess of Malfy’.
Below the tower is the white church of St. Maria del Bando. To its right is Masaniello’s cave, where it is said that the fisherman of the famous Neapolitan revolt of 1647 sought refuge.
A separate path to that which leads to the tower takes you to the lookout terrace. The vast view of sky and sea is majestic, breathtaking.