Only 6km north of Amalfi, Scala is the oldest settlement in the area and was, together with Amalfi and Ravello,
the centre of the Amalfi Maritime Republic. A fortified town, its two castles - one guarding inland approaches,
the other overlooking the sea - were connected by walls that enclosed the town completely. Some medieval palaces remain, such
as Palazzo d'Afflitto with its beautiful tower, where you can see an interesting bath in Arab-Sicilian style, covered by
an elegant dome on arches similar to the one inside Palazzo Rufolo in Ravello.
You can also visit Casa Romano, noted for its imposing entrance. While the first floor has been left as it was in medieval times,
the second floor was completely redone and decorated with frescoes during the baroque period. The 12th century Duomo, dedicated to St. Lorenzo Martire,
is an impressive church that was redone in 1615 and restored in 1980. A Romanesque portal and medieval sculptures decorate the facade; inside,
the majolica floor is still in good condition.
From the right nave, a staircase descends to the crypt, which boasts a unique, surprisingly bright architecture.
Some of the best art pieces are conserved here, including the 14th-century funerary monument for Marinella Rufolo, erected by
her husband Antonio Coppola and uniquely decorated with coloured enamel.
Be sure to note the 13th-century crucifix over the main altar. Around Scala, you can also visit the several separate villages
built on the surrounding hills. Each is a smaller replica of Scala's defensive structure -- protected by two castles, one facing the sea
and one guarding inland. All of these smaller villages can be reached by car of course, but also on foot, using the network of footpaths connecting them.
These provide an excellent opportunity for short hikes.
One of the easiest and most rewarding is the walk to the village of Minuta, only 1km south of Scala, where you will find the Chiesa Della Santissima Annunziata,
probably Scala's original cathedral. Built between the 11th and 12th centuries, this church is one of the best examples of Romanesque architecture on the whole Amalfi Coast.
If you come here, be sure to visit the crypt, where you will find an important cycle of 12th-century frescoes, including a Christ
Pantocrator that accurately represents Byzantine style. Note that the church is only opened for mass on Sunday (9:30-10:30 am).
Another is the walk from Campidoglio di Scala – one of the villages connected to Scala, at an altitude of 470mts. the first part is the ridge trail,
extremely scenic and not very arduous. You can make the walk more challenging by descending all the way to Amalfi.
Along the way, you will find, on your left, the ruins of the 12th century Church of Sant’Eustachio. The trail continues through a natural
rock formation in the form of an amphitheatre, showing the ruins of an ancient fortification, called Castello. It finally reaches
the waterfalls at the top of the Vallone delle Ferriere of Amalfi.
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