Located at the mouth of the valley of Tramonti, according to ancient tradition, Maiori was founded by the Etruscan Lucumone Reghinna: the ancient name of the town was Reghinna Major (to distinguish it from nearby Reghinna Minor, at present Minori). Today the ancient town's name still derives from the name of the stream that runs through the town - Reginna - which also give its name to the main high street, "corso Reginna".
Like other countries of the Amalfi Coast, Maiori was part of the possessions of the ancient maritime republic of Amalfi and the town became the seat of Arsenals, Admiralty, Customs and Salt deposit. It was sacked by the Pisani in 1268, bitter enemies of the entire Coast. Under the reign of Queen Giovanna and of her successor Charles III of Durazzo, there was an evident economic recovery that culminated with the establishment of the first paper mills in the XVI and the XVII centuries. The local historians narrate that off the coast of Capo d'Orso in 1528 there was a clash between the French and the Spanish armadas. In 1662 King Philip IV appointed Maiori as a royal city.
In more recent times, the town jumped to the headlines for being the setting chosen by the famous neo-realist director Roberto Rosellini, for his cult movies: "Paisà" in 1946, "The Miracle" (the second episode of the film "L'Amore" - Love) in 1948, "La macchina ammazzacattivi" (The machine that kills the Bad) in 1952 and" Journey to Italy "in 1953. Nowadays, during the "Rossellini film festival", Maiori turns into a movie set, where new emerging directors screen short films that are judged by a panel of experts.
Not to miss:
- The Collegiate Church of Santa Maria a Mare, dating from the XIII century and remodeled several times in later centuries, is located on the top of the hill Torina on the ruins of an ancient fortress. Formerly dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel, following the discovery at sea in 1204, of a miraculous wooden Byzantine statue of the Madonna, wrapped in a bale of cotton, it was decided to entitle the church to the Virgin. The interior is divided into three naves of which the central one features a beautiful coffered ceiling, artwork of the Neapolitan artist Alessandro De Fulco. Other valuables are featured by paintings and altarpieces depicted by local artists, as well as the precious organ, a superb example of craftsman work of the master Zeno Fedeli from Foligno.
- The Church and Convent of San Francesco, destroyed several times over the centuries by storms and also during the raids of the pirates of Mohammed II. It was rebuilt in the XV century. It currently presents a Rococo style, with a fine carved chorus in walnut, a statue of the Saint that depicts the moment he received the stigmata, and paintings of extraordinary craftsmanship and remarkable side altars. In the attached convent cloister some scenes for the film "Paisà" were filmed by the famous film director Roberto Rossellini.
- The Abbey of Santa Maria de 'Olearia, which dates from the X century and is situated along the main road (S.S. 163) in the direction of Salerno. Built in the den of a cave, it is a rare and valuable record of architecture of the early Middle Ages. It consists of three overlapping circle shaped caverns: the crypt or catacomb (on the lowest level), the main chapel with two aisles (on the intermediate) and, finally, a chapel dedicated to Saint Nicholas ( on the highest).
- the Shrine of Madonna dell'Avvocata, on the summit of Mount Falesio, built after the apparition of the Virgin to a local shepherd, Gabriele Cinnamo, who asked him to build here an altar in her honor.
- the Church of St. James in Platea, built in the XIII century;
- the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, in the homonymous village;
- the Church of St. Martino in the village of Vecite, built in a Romanesque style;
- the Castle of San Nicola de Thoro Plano, built by Duke Piccolomini. A fortified garrison built to protect the population from the continuous raids;
- the Miramare Castle (or Mezzacapo), located on a rocky outcrop in area Torricella, on the border between Maiori and Minori, topped by towers with conical spires;
- Palazzo Mezzacapo, a renaissance-style building, now seat of the Town Hall, with adjoining XVIII century garden, built in the shape of the Cross of Malta;
- A small stretch of wall and the bastion of San Sebastian, the only remains of the large defense system destroyed by Pisani in 1137.
There are also numerous coastal towers, built by the Spanish, which are part of a large defensive system. Most of them are visible only by sea, the tower entitled Norman, however, dominates the landscape of Maiori, becoming one of the most representative symbols of the centre itself.
By sea it is always possible to reach the many coves and beach corners along the coast (like the Bay of Salicerchie, known also as of the Dead Horse) and the suggestive caverns, such as Cave Pandora, wide and full of stalactites and Cave Sulfurea, where inside flows a spring of sulphurous water rich of magnesium.
The gastronomy of Maiori collects all the typical elements of the traditional cuisine and features mainly products of local agriculture. All this is accompanied by the fish species of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the cooking traditions handed down from generations.
Examples are the unusual pairing of eggplant with chocolate, a dessert preparation of probable Middle Eastern origins, a result of the various dominations over the centuries, and liquor typical of Maiori, the Concerto, whose preparation is the result of proceedings. that for years have been kept secret by the local inhabitants.