Port of Marina Grande: the fishing village
The picturesque Port of Marina Grande, nestled into a charming nook of the Costiera Amalfitana (Amalfi Coast), has the atmosphere of a forgotten world. Despite being one of the most popular holiday resorts in Italy, the Port of Marina Grande has maintained its rustic charm, original identity, and sense of community.
Restaurants, homes and shops, rising along the curve of the rocks and the colorful booths on the pier, are all architecturally consistent, creating a harmonious neon free scene. Thus it has remained one of Italy's untouched treasures.
The port's secluded atmosphere stems from its sheltered position, created by the promontory which separates the city of Sorrento from this delightful hidden harbor. The Promontory was once the site of a Roman villa belonging to the Emperor Augustus' nephew.
The harbor's community, unsurprisingly, is close knit, entrenched in time honored customs, and proud of its heritage, maintaining a "cottage industry" approach to its ancient and primary source of survival: fishing.
As with all ports, it was also a place of trade, connecting Sorrento and the sea.
Since the Third Century B.C. a city gate, constructed of limestone blocks, stood in Sorrento's walls to admit traders and visitors from the harbor to the city.
Legend tells how, in 1558, late one night, a slave (since instilled into the city's folklore as a traitor) in league with Turkish pirates, opened the ancient door between the port and the town, admitted the brigands and the town was mercilessly sacked.
The Gozzi Sorrentini, characteristic hand made wooden boats with triangular sails and light maneuverable structure, specifically adapted for fishing, were once crafted in the port. Although "Gozzo" is a generic term for wooden vessels; those made in Sorrento were the vintage version, in a boat-building tradition established over centuries.
The scene in the port at sunset, as fishermen clean their nets and wrap up their day is evocative of a pre industrial lifestyle which has all but vanished from shores across the world.