BOOK
NOW
close

Discovering the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, symbol of Positano

October 1, 2019

If you ask people of Positano what is the symbol of the vertical town on the Amalfi Coast, they have no doubts. The Church of Santa Maria Assunta, with the iconic multi-coloured dome, is the undisputed protagonist of postcards, tourist photos and paintings by local artists.

If you ask people of Positano what is the symbol of the vertical town on the Amalfi Coast, they have no doubts. The Church of Santa Maria Assunta, with the iconic multi-coloured dome, is the undisputed protagonist of postcards, tourist photos and paintings by local artists.

The majestic majolica dome, inlaid with yellow, green and blue tiles, constitutes a breath-taking mosaic. The same that you can admire from your room at Hotel Palazzo Murat, located in the historic centre of Positano.

Visit the symbol of the city with us and find out what makes it so special.

 

History and legends

 

The history of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta is intertwined with the Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria, whose foundation is enveloped in mystery, between uncertain sources and popular legends.

According to an undocumented tradition the Benedictine monastery was built on the occasion of the arrival in Positano of the Byzantine icon of the Black Madonna, still worshiped in our church nowadays. More likely, however, the abbey was founded in the second half of the 10th century and dedicated to San Vito, the martyr protector of the Positano population.

Until 1777, the monastery and the church were entrusted to commendatory abbots responsible for their progressive impoverishment and state of abandonment. After a 5-year renovation, in 1783 the archbishop Mons. Antonio Puoti consecrated the new church and crowned the icon of the Madonna with a gold tiara. The Byzantine icon probably came to Positano in the 12th century thanks to the Benedictine monks, who sailed along the coasts of southern Italy. However, the popular tradition prefers to give a prodigious character to the arrival of the icon in our city, based on a legend that you can read in our dedicated article.

 

The essence of the church

 

Originally the Church of Santa Maria Assunta had only one nave, but after the works completed in 1782 it was divided into three naves with five arches and some side chapels. Near the major altar you will immediately notice the image of the Madonna, while on the sides of the apse stands a majestic walnut wood choir. Two niches with reproductions of the Addolorata and the Christ complete a harmonious picture of sacred art.

Worthy of note is the chapel of Santo Stefano with the eighteenth-century wooden statue of the Madonna with Child. Other works we suggest you to admire are the altar of the Circumcision, by Fabrizio Santafede, and the reliquary bust of the patron saint, San Vito.

Walking on the churchyard, a few steps from the church you will see the bell tower, rebuilt in 1707 by an unknown Capuchin friar. The bell tower door is adorned with a medieval bas-relief depicting a sea monster, a fox and a fish from Campania.

The precious materials, the atmosphere intertwining faith and legend, the romantic profile of the dome let many couples realise their dream of love right here, getting married in the Church of Santa Maria Assunta.