When you're at the business end of Positano (read down the bottom) there is one building that stands out due mainly to the colourful Moorish style dome.
The church of Santa Maria Assunta is located right in the center of Positano, in the small Flavio Gioia square. With its decorative, colourful, dome of Vietri maiolica (tiles), the church is a typical example of the architecture found in this beautiful area.
The church is divided into three "navate" which are decorated with stucco, and gold ornamentation. Inside the church there is a collection of important works of art, like the "Circoncisione" by Fabrizio Santafede (from the end of 600), and the famous Byzantine wooden panel, depicting the Virgin Mary and Her Child. The town's name Positano (which means "put it there" in latin), derives from the story of this panel.
The ancient legend tells that the icon was stolen by the Saraceni (pirates of the time), but when the pirates tried to leave Positano's shores with the panel, a terrible sea storm suddenly arose, and prevented their passage. During the storm, the pirates heard a cry from heaven saying: "posa, posa" (put it back). The fearful pirates set the decorated panel back on Positano's shores, and miraculously, the storm ceased giving them the opportunity to flee the Coast.
It's majolica-tiled dome is easily visible, even if you just pass by on the coast-road bus.
The Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta probably dates back to the 10th century. Its interior is classical, coolly white and gold, with a 13th century 'Black Madonna' icon above its altar.
The icon (Byzantine) was probably brought to Positano by Benedictine monks (there was an abbey nearby....the monastery of Santa Maria....... which is supposed to have been built when the icon arrived).
Local legend has it that the icon was part of the cargo of a ship which was becalmed in the area. The captain of the ship heard a voice telling him to leave the icon with the people of what was then a village. As soon as he did so the winds returned, and the ship could continue its voyage.
Inside the church there is also a silver reliquary containing parts of St Vito.
This landmark can be seen in many of the beautiful photos of Positano. We got to go in during an afternoon service.
Located in the small Flavio Gioia square, the parish church of Santa Maria Assunta stands with its splendid majolica-mosaic dome. The building contains important works of art, most notable is the Circumcision - a magnificent work by Fabrizio Santafede, and a thirteenth-century, Byzantine-style panel depicting the Virgin and Child.
According to popular tradition, the origin of the town's name is linked to the panel of the Virgin and Child. The panel was looted by the Saracens, then brought back to land following a storm. While is was out to sea you could hear from the shore the prodigious cry of "posa, posa" (put it here). A church was built in honour of the Virgin on that spot where the panel was returned from the sea and the town grew around it, that took the name of Positano.
The bell tower is also very interesting with a medieval bas-relief portraying a sea monster, some fish and a fox. It is said to represent the dual nature of the coastal inhabitants' souls, half countrymen and half seamen.
The church of Santa Maria Assunta is the most recognizable landmark in Positano. Built in a moorish style, the church has a domed, brightly-colored roof (constructed of majolica) that really stands out on the landscape.
Inside the church, you'll see a rare 13th century Byzantine Black Madonna. Locals will tell you that it was this Madonna who gave the city of Positano its name. Legend has it that the Madonna was stolen many centuries ago, but once out of the city it began crying out "posa" (meaning home). It was eventually returned and Positano gained a new name. It is really worth going inside Santa Maria Assunta to check out the remarkable detail of the church's interior.
Inside the cathedral is divided by pillars, into three separate aisles. On the main altar is a Byzantine icon of the Black Madonna with a child, which legend says came to Positano, on the wave of the sea: During a storm shocked mariners clearly heard a voice repeating telling “put down, put down”. The boat docked and as soon as they put the picture down on the beach, the storm began to disappear.
Santa Maria Assunta is the parish church of Positano, and occupies a great spot at the lower end of Via dei Mulini. Inside is a 13th century Madonna and child, a familiar image in many Italian towns.
The splendid Church of Santa Maria Assunta was built in the 13th century, but almost completely rebuilt in 1700. Its dome is completely tiled in majolica.