Cetara is a small Fishermen's village, nested at the foot of Mount Falerzio, partly luxuriant and verdant of citrus, partly wild and thin. The street that from Vietri sul Mare continues tortuously until the end of Fuenti, goes across the valley of Albore and is overlooked for a short while by the fascinating villages of Raito and Albori, then goes on almost straight to reach the ancient charming basin of Cetara.

According to the name etymology, Cetara is derived from Cetaria (meaning tuna-fishing nets) or cetari (meaning big fish – tuna – sellers).

A bit of history...

Since 1030 Cetara was debtor to the bishop of Amalfi, and paid taxes in the form of "ius piscariae" – tithes in kind and catch. In 1120, the hamlet passed under the political rule of Amalfi, then it submitted to the rule of the Abbey of St Mary in Erchie, and at the end passed under the dependence on the Abbey of Cava de' Tirreni.

The incredible quietness of the local population has been undermined several times throughout the ages. In 1551, Turkish armies enslaved the Cetaresi killed all those who did not embark with them. After this tragic episode, the survivors built a magnificent sighting tower (nowadays used as private residence, but still protecting the tiny beach), while the majority escaped to Naples.

Cetara today...

The picturesque white architecture, along with the secluded wonderful beach make Cetara one of the jewels of the Amalfi Coast. Among cubic small houses, rises the church of St Peter with a noteworthy glazed dome and the thirteenth-century bell-tower with double lancet window double lancet windows.

Some fishermen still practice the ancient tradition, handed down throughout the years, to move to Algeria and Morocco during March and April, to fish anchovies and come back in autumn, after supplying the markets of Messina, Genoa and Livorno.

Cetara is famous for the local production of 'colatura di alici': dripping of salted anchovies. Colatura comes out naturally from the process of salting anchovies "Cetara-style". When the fish is caught, the fishermen throw it into wood barrels, alternating layers with handfuls of salt. Then the fish is pressed down by a wooden lid weighted with rocks. By December, the anchovies have produced a bit of fragrant amber juice. A tiny hole is poked in the bottom of the barrel, and a bowl collects the colatura that drips through this small hole.

You can use it on spaghetti as follow: spaghetti with a sauce of extra virgin olive oil, chili pepper, garlic and a spoon of colatura.

You might also be interested in reading about the following Cetara topics:

Beaches (3)Italian Food (1)
Public Transportation (1)Restaurants (1)

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