Furore, the wild beauty of a neverland
pe’ chi c’è nato ‘nterra a ‘sta marina,
pe’ chi capisce ll’onna quanno canta,
si s’alluntana, st’anema se schianta:
Cumpagne, è bello ‘o mare! – Popular song
Furore is actually not a real village, as we use to imagine one. Or better: Furore is indicated as a municipality in the province of Salerno; it is clearly visible on the maps of the Amalfi Coast, between Conca dei Marini and Praiano; it is a popular tourist destination; has a definitely evocative name. So it has it all to be a town like anyone else. But no.
Because Furore, differently from all other cities and villages in Italy, doesn’t have a main square on which stand the church, the city hall and the most classic of Bars. Furore is in fact a village scattered on the flanks of a mountain, with streets, alleys and stairways leading to groups of houses, old and newer, and as many as three main churches: the town is spread across a ridge that ends abruptly into sea of the Amalfi Coast. The more unfocused tourists who drive along the Coast on the state road SS163 Amalfitana, might accidentally leave behind this village after admiring only the Fjord for which this place is famous worldwide. This “spread out” town, on the contrary, deserves to be visited because of its particularity, for its Not Being a town like others. From the beach of Furore you go up through steps and paths amid olive groves and lemon trees, thus reaching the monazzeni, the typical houses of this neverland.
The fjord of Furore, natural beauty and cultural site
The fjord of Furore, the beautiful gorge that closes the beach between cliffs overhanging the water, is the work of the ancient river Schianto, which excavated the rock to flow into the sea. Up the fjord, you cross mills and other structures such as the so called Stenditoio and Calcara. The former was used in the manufacturing of paper to hang the material out to dry in large sheets, the Calcara instead was the place where bricks and stones were prepared to build the houses in the town. Today, Calcara and Stenditoio (Drying Room), along with other buildings that rise along the fjord, were turned into exhibition spaces by the local administration, places for studies and cultural enrichment. The Virtual Eco Museum of Furore, or Territory Museum, is a complex that consists of a greenhouse for the cultivation of organic products, an old mill that can be visited, several rooms where a herbarium of local flora has been set up, a laboratory for the study of vegetation, and astronomical observatories. There are also a bar-restaurant and conference and convention facilities. The section named Villa della Storia, hosts a permanent photographic exhibition dedicated to Anna Magnani. The diva of Italian neorealism and director Roberto Rossellini are among the celebrities linked to Furore, which especially in the last 50s has been a popular destination for international celebrities. The home of Anna and Roberto is now a museum with pictures and objects of their love story.
Churches, museums and artist’s walls
Proceeding towards the town and then on the crest of the mountain, you are immersed in a truly wonderful landscape. Among the old houses and new homes, in a short time you pass from the sea to the mountain forests, with tall trees in which even the peregrine falcon nests. Among the various places of tourist interest in Furore, there are of course churches. The three main churches: the Church of Sant’Elia, San Michele and San Giacomo or Santo Jaco. The latter is the oldest, it treasures beautiful frescoes and has the tallest spire of all. The church of San Michele, very austere, is a testimony of a style called simple Baroque. The church of Sant’Elia, in the periphery of the village, is a very simple church which houses a wooden triptych of great value by Angelo Antonello da Capua, dating back to 1480.
The wild and ancient beauty of Furore has always been a source of inspiration. This place of peace and silence has become a destination for artists who have made a habit of leaving a memory of their passing. That’s why the walls of Furore are an outdoor museum of paintings and frescoes that over time have become one of the main attractions of the town. To the point that this habit has become over time an appointment, an art event called Muri d’Autore. Every year in September, artists from all over the world arrive in Furore to create their works on the walls of the houses, the walls that line the paths and stairs leading to the sea.
A name, many legends
The origin of the name Furore is shrouded in legend. Or rather in various legends. The first has it that once the Devil himself, wandered homeless in these areas. One day, after his physiological needs, he used the classical method used by farmers for personal hygiene, grass. But by mistake he took the most wild and stinging nettle of these lands, with imaginable consequences. He wandered for days yelling his wrath (his “Furore”) and cursing these places. Another legend tells that one day, for reasons never clarified, the inhabitants of the place, caught by a blind rage (blind “furore”), decided to get rid of three statues of saints, St. James, St. Elias and St. Angelo. Finally there are those who, more prosaically, protect themselves from the wrath of the good or bad gods, by saying that the name Terra Furoris comes from the deafening roar that in stormy nights cause the waves crashing on the rocks and creep voraciously in the magnificent fjord.