Unfortunately we don’t know why and when Acquafredda village was founded in Maratea but it was named after one of the rarest sea spring of fresh water in Italy (the water gushing out of this spring is colder than the surrounding sea one and the fishermen called it “ acqua fridda”, meaning cold water).
Santo Janni is a small island in the gulf of Policastro, situated almost in the middle of Maratea coast.
The little island was named after the ancient San Giovanni chapel which was on its taller rocky spur. Santo Janni island is 200 metres long and in its widest point it is 80 metres; its tallest rocky spur is 18 metres on sea level. In the island sea bottom hundreds of anchors of Roman ships have been found and on the spurs even tanks to produce “garum” ( meaning: anchovies in salt) have been discovered. For more the sea bottom surrounding the island is one of the most rich deposit of amphoras and anchors dated back to Roman age and all these artefacts are visible at the Underwater Archaeology Exhibition in Palazzo De Lieto in Maratea. Due to the great exposure to sunrays the flora on the island is very limited. The fauna is very interesting instead because on the island there is the so-called Dragon of Santo Janni, a bizarre zoological phenomenon living in its rocky little bays; actually it is the Podarcis sicula paulae, a brown and blue lizard which is protected by specific environmental laws.
All along the Maratea coast you can see the ruins of six sighting towers: Crini, Acquafredda, Apprezzami l’Asino, Caina, Filocaio, Santa Venere. The towers were used to protect the village and to signal the pirates’ danger.
Apprezzami l’Asino Tower
It was named after a bizarre little story: the tower is above the road that once was the only narrowest street from Sapri to Maratea and every time that two donkeys (and their owners) met along the pat there wasn’t enough space for both. The only thing to do was to estimate the value of the two animals and the worthless one was thrown into the sea to clear the street.
It is one of the antique towers built during the kingdom of Naples and it is in the municipal territory of Maratea, in the province of Potenza. Its construction was ordered in 1566 and then completed in 1595; nowadays the tower is only ruins but we know that the plan was square with solid foundations in section of pyramid. Each architrave had three or four drains in counterscarp. The tower vault is now destroyed but maybe it was barrel one.
It is placed in the old Maratea, also called the Castle; it was built by sculptor Bruno Innocenzi from Florence (1906-1986) and commissioned by count Stefano Rivetti from Valcervo; it was erected on the top of Monte San Biagio where a commemorative cross in stone was located.
As dimensions it is second only to Christ the Redeemer on the Corcovado mountain overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro; actually the statue of Maratea is 21 metres tall and the statue was built in reinforced concrete and covered with a mixture of white cement and marble from Carrara. You can walk without effort up to the statue, with his arm spread and facing the mountain. The views from there are unbelievable, amongst the finest in Italy, and our staff will be happy to plan your stay and side trip.
Vito Riviello was born in Potenza in 1933. He was a Lucanian poet who could express his natural talent playing with words in all his works, his ability to cross all the different language levels combining sounds and meanings which give birth to unexpected juxtapositions and senses. During his life Vito Riviello stayed many times in Villa Cheta and he dedicated a poetry to our Home, entitled “ Il Silenzio al Villa Cheta” (meaning: the silence at Villa Cheta).
Villa Cheta, villa tranquilla, vita
che ha origine dal silenzio degli avi.
C’era un silenzio di porte, finestre
perfino di minestre serali,
quiete nei cassetti, fra i panni
destinati a sposare.
Le magnolie divoravano le nonne
e i fichi i nonni.
Forse Garibaldi appariva all’onda…
Dal quel balcone Totò, comico eccelso,
sorrideva alla sirena Silvana.
Ora vi è il silenzio del mare
ch’entra nel petto di turisti assolati,
stanchi di lotte urbane,
con i nervi distesi come polipi,
sulle piccole spiagge marateote.
20 Agosto 1981