Eremo di Santa Maria a Cetrella ("Hermitage of the Holy Mother of Cetrella") is a church in Anacapri on the island of Capri, Italy. It is located on Mount Solaro's Cetrella region.
1. " Cetrella ": We do not know exactly what this name comes from but two versions are credited. The first, probably the most well-founded, claims to come from a Caprese plant: cedronella. The second assumes that there was a Pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Cetera in the place where the church rises today.
2. An image of St. Maria is conserved within the church. The icon was of particular importance to the sailors of Anacapri who used to climb up to the tiny church in pilgrimage to ask for the Madonna's protection before embarking on their, often perilous, voyages in search of coral.
The hermitage is located on a steep hill to the south. The whole complex lies in a small rocky cove. The hermitage of Cetrella is comprised of a small church, bell tower and sacristy with a low dome, which was added in the seventeenth century. The path to Cetrella is a track through the woods, so walkers will need to wear comfortable shoes and to carry a supply of water.
The hermitage develops on two floors: on the ground floor is the church with the refectory, the kitchen with some small rooms that were used as cellars. On the first floor, along a corridor leading to a terrace with wisteria pergola, we have 4 small rooms that were the brothers' cells. From one of these cells you access a second terrace. From these there is a particularly impressive view of the island's caprese: M. Grande, Monte Tiberio, M. Piccola with the Faraglioni. Moreover, the Sorrento Coast and, on clear days, also the Gulf of Salerno and the Amalfi Coast. Having days with a special visibility you can come to see the Inner Mountains of Salernitan and all the coast to the south to the Punta Licosa Lighthouse.
The easiest way to get to Monte Solaro is by chairlift. The journey to the summit of Capri's mountain takes just 12 minutes. Take the chairlift from Piazza Vittoria in Anacapri. The chairs on the chairlift are made for a single passenger. There is a safety bar, but it is easily lifted, so we do not recommend riding with very young or very active children on your lap.
The church is made up of two aisles, both with an altar. The first, adjacent to the entrance, is the main one and is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This altar is marble and was made from the hermit. At the top there is a niche in which is housed the statue of the Virgin sitting with the Child in her arms. The work dates back to the '600 Neapolitan and is made up of mixed materials including paper, cork and plaster. Behind this altar lies the seventeenth-century burial sacristy with a picturesque window opening on the farways.
The second altar is in masonry surmounted by a representative painting of San Domenico, a testimony to this that here the Dominican Friars lived between 1600 and 1700. In this regard, it is not possible to clarify whether there have been before the Dominican brothers or those Franciscans.
According to the great archaeologist Maiuri, the church dates back to the first half of 1300. Later in 1500, thanks to a legacy, it was restored and expanded with what is today the refectory, the kitchen and the cells.
In 1983, the artist Domenico Gentile, known anacaprian ceramic, gave a gift to the majolica church overlooking the entrance of the church, depicting the vow of the Blessed Virgin with the Hymn's background.
Festivals & Celebrations :
The church is consecrated and during the year there are celebrations. There is a retreat for the children of first communion; There are the meetings of the various parish groups; A day of prayer with all the island groups in July; August 10th is celebrated the Mass SS for tourists. In September, then, the virgin's birthplace is celebrated: the eight of this month with celebrations in the morning and in the afternoon, and for all Sundays of the month there is an SS Mass in the early morning. This is a meeting that many faithful are always attending to fill the church and outer space. In mid-October, the SS Fishermen's Mass is celebrated on the island.
During the year, the church also offers hospitality to groups of Boy Scout, accompanied by a spiritual assistant. Of course this can be done by agreement with the Parish of Anacapri and the guardian of the Hermitage.
Punta Cannone View Point :
The Punta Cannone viewing point can be reached from Capri's Piazzetta. From Anacapri, rather than wait for the buses at the crowded Piazza Vittoria stop, it is a good idea to walk to the previous stop, near the cemetery, or even take a taxi.
Once in the Piazzetta, climb up the steps leading to the old Cathedral of Santo Stefano and, from the Piazzetta Cerio (home to one of the island's most fascinating museums) head to the right and the Via Madre Serafina. This ancient vaulted alleyway which runs beneath the houses, passes by the Convent of Santa Teresa and the historic Taverna O'Guarracino.
The cloisters of the Convent of Santa Teresa, dating back to the late 17th century and accessed by an old flight of steps, are open to the general public, although maximum quiet is requested. At the center of the cloisters there is a well, which provided a vital source of drinking water., and a small citrus grove, a reminder of the islanders' passion for growing fruit. Above the portone the remains of an ancient fresco can still be seen.
|One of the wells where rainwater is collected. This, cleaned every year, is primarily used to collect water for cooking and drinking. Water is drawn through a manual pump. On the left you can see the sideboard. On the right is the door to the garden|
Having visited the cloisters, continue along Via Castello, all the way to the Punta Cannone viewing point, which, in the 19th century, was armed with canon and used as a sentry post by the occupying British troops. From here, a splendid view over Marina Piccola, the Faraglioni and Via Krupp can be seen.
One of the most beautiful shows that can be seen from the Hermitage, given its location, is to see the sun rising up that illuminates the Faraglioni and the island.
How to get there :
From Capri: starting from the "Due Golfi" (so called because from here the two roads leading to the two 'gulfs' of the island: Marina Grande and Marina Piccola), there is a path that climbs to the wall of the Mount leads almost under the Hermit. A spectacular walk, but also not to do it yourself and if you are inexperienced. From this trail you can enjoy the panorama of Capri and Marina Piccola in particular, so also of the view on the Faraglioni.
From Anacapri: Via San Michele starts a dirt road that soon turns into a mountain trail , and in about twenty minutes leads to the Hermitage.
From Anacapri: from P.zza Vittoria takes the chairlift (15 minutes to a maximum of 8-9 meters from the ground) leading to Monte Solaro (the highest point of the island at almost 600 meters above sea level). Here, following the signs in a further 15 minutes on foot, crossing a pleasant pine and chestnut grove, you reach the hermitage.
On both routes departing from Anacapri you have a great view over Anacaprian old town.