Church of St. Peter the Apostle


It is the church of the Patron Saint. The first news date back to 988 but the current appearance is the result of subsequent interventions that have imposed the current facade in neoclassical style and the interior of late-baroque taste.

The church is accessed by a churchyard at the top of a staircase. The facade, in neoclassical style, dates back to the eighteenth century, with a pair of pilasters with Ionic capital on the sides of the portal. On the right, on the side of the transept, there is the imposing bulk of the bell tower over 18 meters high, five orders, a rectangular base in the first three orders and octagonal in the next two, with single lancet windows on each side. The first order of the bell tower, of Romanesque style, attests a probable first building or rebuilding of the church around the tenth century.

The dome dominates the entire building, covered with ceramic ambrogette that repeat the classic style also present in other domes of the centers of the Amalfi Coast.

Before entering the church you can admire the bronze portal made in 2005 with depictions of St. Peter and St. Andrew, both fishermen, as the Cetaresi. The two brothers apostles are surrounded by a net and fish and above it is our Lord moving the net.

The interior has a single nave with transept and a series of side altars. Along the right side there is a walkway that crosses the series of chapels. The room is entirely covered with plaster and stucco taken from the late Baroque repertoire : composite pilasters with false Corinthian capitals and gilded smooth stem frescoed in imitation of marble are leaning against the walls and hold up a entablature with a very protruding frame, on which is set the barrel vault overlooking the nave.

The floor, in white marble slabs with small pieces, is of recent times, replacing the pre-existing one of Vietri ceramics, of which some fragments are still preserved. The marble altar is also recent.

To the left of the entrance, on the counter-façade wall, there is a tombstone in white marble from the mid-fifteenth century, engraved with an inscription dedicated to Grandenetto D’Aulisio, Cetara fisherman who brought to safety in Naples the second son of King Ferdinand I of Aragon at the time of the “Conspiracy of the Barons”.

Passing to the side altars, on the left there is an altar dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, on which is placed a painting of the eighteenth century depicting the Madonna; in the center there is the baptismal font in white marble. The second altar has an oil painting depicting the Madonna and Child Jesus in glory; the third altar houses a wooden statue of the Madonna Addolorata with silk vestments and a statue of the dead Christ. The fourth altar is dedicated to St. Peter and houses the wooden bust of the patron saint.

Along the right side there are four chapels. The first one presents a painting of the eighteenth century depicting the Madonna and Child between S. Ignazio and S. Francesco di Paola. The second one preserves a canvas depicting the Transit of St. Joseph; in the third one there is a painting of Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii and in the fourth one there is the wooden bust of St. Vincent Ferrer.

The presbytery, raised by two steps and closed by a marble balustrade, houses in the center the main altar of the eighteenth century, with decorations and inlays in polychrome marble, enriched by two valuable puttos in  white marble. The back wall of the apse, behind the main altar, is enriched by a wooden panel painted in oil, enclosed in a frame of stucco, depicting the Crucifixion of Jesus, dating from the second half of the sixteenth century. The traditional figurative setting with the Virgin, Mary Magdalene and Saint John the Evangelist on the sides of the Crucified Christ, has been reinterpreted in an unusual way, almost certainly in later times, as evidenced by the recent restoration, with the introduction of Saint Peter, Saint Paul and Saint John the Baptist. At the top of the wall is placed an artistic stained glass window made in 1993; it combines the image of the dome of St. Peter in Rome with a view of the tower, the church and the shore with boats.

The hemispherical dome, in whose drum there are 4 windows, rests on four plumes decorated with frescoes depicting the four evangelists.

On the left side of the transept there is a niche with the wooden bust of S. Gaetano da Thiene. On the back wall is a canvas depicting St. Anthony of Padua. On the right side of the transept there is a marble altar and above a canvas depicting the Madonna del Rosario surrounded on three sides by 15 scenes of the Rosary. In the right corner of the transept is also preserved a wooden pulpit, originally positioned differently.

On the choir leaning against the false facade there is an organ of the Neapolitan school built in 1864; the organ was restored from the functional, sound and aesthetic point of view in 2002.