It is a beautiful evening of early summer. We are at the harbor Masuccio Salernitano and the sun setting on the horizon gives splendid reddish reflections to the sea. A pleasant breeze is caressing us and it’s a real relief from the heat of this scorching day.
We won’t wait any longer: we are about to do a quick ferry ride to reach Cetara, where they are celebrating SS. Peter and Paul tonight.
Each year the festival summons many people from all over Campania and lots of them choose to go by the sea, just like us. The journey amid the waves along the Amalfi coast is in fact spectacular. We are coming from the sea and are welcomed by the town and the wild Mountain Falerio behind it: it looks like a postcard!
Cetara owes everything to the sea – it has always been the fishermen’s country. Its name comes from the Latin word Cetaria – tuna-fishing boat – and has the largest fishing fleet in Italy. Fishing here has an ancient tradition: in the past, the men of the village used to leave in spring for Algeria and Morocco and returned home only in autumn after catching anchovies and supplying the markets of Messina, Genoa and Livorno.
The patron of the village could only be a fisherman, a simple man chosen by Jesus to follow him and become a "fisher of men". In Cetara, St. Peter's worship is very much felt: celebrations in his honor go on for days and culminate on June 29th with a great celebration, just the one we will be attending.
There are really a lot of people here, and we hardly manage to move along the narrow streets of the town when the procession begins. The statue of St. Peter is carried on a boat-shaped platform to bless the sea. Three times it touches the water, before performing the characteristic final run on the staircase of the Church. According to tradition, thanks to the blessing of the sea, the fishing will be prosperous and the waters more friendly with our fishermen.
After the religious celebrations, there is an evening program full of lights, music and taste. For the occasion, they let us visit the Torre Vicereale, a tower that is also a silent sentinel on the sea , protecting the village since the 16th century. From this gorgeous terrace we can see the coast at night and we are being carried away with fantasy. This historic place keeps stories of men, wars and prayers, but also of traditions with a simple and genuine flavor. We can almost hear the oars on the water and the sentinels spotting the fires of war ...
We’ve just opened our eyes and the fires are there for real. They are coming from the sea, but this time it's a friendly fire: every year, at midnight, the firework show starts. Fire tongues dance on the water beneath the soft moonlight and under the incredulous eyes of all the people who have faced long journeys to watch the show. Let's enjoy the atmosphere: flashes of light illuminating the waves that are gently touching the shores of the village – this way renewing a pact of love that has been lasting for centuries.
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