An Italian Coastal Town Commands Sweeping Views

February 2022

photograph of naples spanish quarter church
Chiesa dei Santi Ciro e Giovanni

Every year I make a calendar with my favorite photos from a recent trip, and 2022’s subject is Southern Italy–the Amalfi Coast, City of Naples, Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius. January features the church dome and spire of the town of Vico Equense’s Chiesa dei Santi Ciro e Giovanni.

They thrust up through the low profile of nearby red-roofed houses and multi-layered skyline. From our hotel veranda a mile outside of town, I easily spot the spire and its companion dome, covered in colorful majolica tiles. Majolica is glazed earthenware coated with enamel and ornamented with rich metallic colors, and Italy is home to best of this artistic practice.

Perched on an outcrop of tuff, a light porous rock formed from the volcanic ash of Mount Faito, Vico Equense hosts 16 churches for its 21,000 inhabitants. Italians attend church weekly more than in most European countries, almost 30% of the population. Located near Sorrento in southern Italy’s Campania region, Vico Equense holds commanding views of the City of Naples across the broad blue expanse of the Bay of Naples. Mount Vesuvius dominates the horizon sitting several miles north of the city.

The name of this charming town of winding streets and small lanes and alleys, many too narrow for cars, means “village” (vicus) “of knights” (aequenis), a destination for Roman patricians who summered in this former Greek and Etruscan area.

Can’t get enough of Italia? Be sure to check out the full Journey here

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