Explore the medieval hillside village that overlooks Amalfi and is renowned for its religious, cultural and natural attractions.
The bell towers, buildings and churches of Pontone have changed little over the centuries, and neither has the relaxed atmosphere. This pretty cliff top village between Scala and Amalfi was once a holiday refuge of Amalfi’s powerful clergy and nobility. Today visitors are still seduced by the charm of the views and laidback lifestyle.
Life is unhurried here and many locals pass the time in Pontone’s main square. Do as the locals do and take coffee in one of the square’s cafes.
Explore Pontone on foot. Start at the 12th century Church of John the Baptist, situated on the square. It’s noted for its baroque paintings. One of the most famous paintings here is Aniello Iannicelli's The Circumcision from 1590. Study the wooden altarpiece with its paintings of episodes from the life of John the Baptist. Pause by the tomb of Knight Philip Spina and read the inscription that dates from 1346.
Move on to the Church of San Filippo Neri, a 10th century building originally dedicated to San Matteo Evangelista. Admire the baroque canvases hanging above the altar and the majolica tiled floor. Note the 14th century crucifix made from stucco in the small chapel.
Go to the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine. The church and its bell tower date back to the Middle Ages, but the interior was extensively renovated in the 18th century.
Follow the marked walking trail to Torre dello Zirro. This watchtower is believed to have been built in the 14th or 15th century. It is famous for Giovanna of Aragon, better known as the Duchess of Malfi, whose tragic story has been immortalized by novelists and playwrights. She was accused of having an affair shortly after her husband’s death. To suppress the scandal Giovanna and her children were imprisoned here by her brothers and left to die.
Pontone is three miles (five kilometers) from Amalfi and can be reached by car or SITA bus along the coast road. Alternatively, climb the hundreds of stone stairs that lead up the mountain from Amalfi.