ith its long beach and lovely shoreline, Maiori boasts the best hotels of the area. Ruins of castles and towers give testimony to its medieval splendour, when it was encircled and defended by walls and fortifications. The church of Santa Maria a Mare dominates the town and every year on August 15 festivities commemorate an event dating to 1204, when fishermen pulled a statue of the Virgin from the water after it had been dumped by a boat from Costantinople that was in trouble and had sought refuge in the Maiori bay during a tempest.
On the main altar there is a wooden sculpture of the Madonna and Child and a collection of art is cared for in the Sacristy Museum and the crypt below it.
The popular sanctuary dedicated to the Madonna delle Grazie has medieval origins, but was restructured in the 1700’s.
The unusual stone complex of Santa Maria Olearia, a benedictan abbey built around the year 1000 is worth a visit. In the buildings that hug the rock cliff, in one of the natural grottoes of the area, there are halls, chapels and small frescoed porticos.
A boat trip will take you for a visit to the Grotta Sulfurea and the Grotta Pandora. The first one is rich in sulfuric-magnesic water with therapeutic properties; in the second one the emerald-green scene, the stalactites and stalagmites create an unforgettable scenario.
Also around Minori one can find many signs of the past, a lovely seaside resort as well as a grand Roman villa.
A few kilometres from Maiori is Erchie, with a tower on a boulder which separates the two beaches. The benedictine monastery Santa Maria di Erchie, founded in 980 and destroyed in 1451, gave this place its name. This small village with the characteristically white houses, the delightful beaches and the crystaline sea is ideal for a moment of relax in contact with nature.