Was über uns geschrieben wurde

Scala, the oldest village on the Amalfi Coast, retains intact its traditions and its charm of the South.
It was the retreat for De Gasperi.

Winding footpaths, rustic houses and fabulous scenery

Welcome to Scala, the oldest centre on the Amalfi Coast. If Amalfi represents folklore and popular tradition and if Ravello is that terrace on the infinite which has fascinated illustrious people such as Giovanni Boccaccio and Greta Garbo, then Scala is, perhaps, the most forgotten little town but also the most authentic and most genuine. It is a little town where tourism is catered for by just three hotels well removed from the busy and noisy centres of this world famous Coast. This little village is characterized by lush chestnut woodland and encircled by green slopes and mountains. It is the place ideal for relaxing in tranquillity which is something first understood in A.D. 337 by some Noble Romans who were running away from Rome towards Constantinople. These Patricians were compelled to stop in this area shipwrecked by a sudden storm. They were looking for a safe place away from raids by barbarians and pirates and found safety here. That is why they settled in this area, on gently sloping hills 370 metres above sea level, a vantage point from which they could overlook the sea in safety. Later they founded the towns of Amalfi, Ravello, etc, which were more easily accessible for sea trade while under control from towers higher up on ridges in Scala. Nowadays Tourists are rare in Scala and it is just as well because traditional footpaths and walkways winding their ways among sparse white little houses up and down gentle slopes are still mostly rather narrow and unsuitable for crowds. The village is uncontaminated and often does not even get a mention in bright popular tourist brochures while most guides ignore it altogether. It is really a true alternative to beaten tracks. This aspect was particularly dear to one of the founding fathers of the European Union Alcide De Gasperi who, in the sixties, would often stay here, a guest of Maria Ferrigno. This Maria was the niece of Antonio Ferrigno, who had been the personal cook of General Rommel (The Desert Fox)and later started the Hotel Zi' Ntonio. Locals still tell the story of Alcide De Gasperi's first visit to Scala in 1949 when the said young Antonio Ferrigno organized a dinner for De Gasperi in his father's house which was rather roomy and had spacious gardens so that the illustrious Statesman thought he was in a restaurant. De Gasperi loved the place and the food so much that he often came back to stay at Zi' Ntonio to renew the enjoyable experience of a ' good retreat with excellent flavours'. From that small beginning the place has now become a well established hotel with a swimming pool and a good reputation. The present owners, with modesty and pride, keep newspaper cuttings, mementoes and testimonials of past history and success of the Hotel and the family. In the vicinity of the hotel there are vineyards and orange trees with the spur of Villa Cimbrone and the sea in the background where the blue of the sky seems to bend down to kiss the blue of the Mediterranean below. The place l is a magic terrace, poised between the valley of the Dragon and that of the Reginna further on. It is an enchanting scenery which has been the background to the passion between Greta Garbo and Leopold Stokowsky. It is a place which was very dear to Boccaccio in the distant past as it has been, more recently, to Gore Vidal who owned a villa on the same spur as Villa Cimbrone. Not far from there, in an austere mansion, for a while, stayed Jackye Kennedy after the tragic Event of Dallas. People say that, while residing in Ravello, The First Lady was often accompanied to Scala wearing a blue scarf over her face and she used to go in the Saint Lawrence Cathedral where she would sit quietly for some time absorbed in meditation and prayer. At the time, nobody in Scala knew that that Lady with sad blue eyes, so quiet and discrete was none other than the wife of JFK, the ex USA President. Often local people would greet her warmly as is usual in the South. At other times, it is said that she made her escort accompany her in the Annunciation church in the Hamlet of Minuta near the Hotel Zi' Ntonio. People remember that sometime, after praying in the little church amongst old granite columns, she would linger outside looking at infinity and the Sea below, perhaps reminiscing on past happiness or dreaming about the future....

C. B. - Il Piccolo - August 5 2002