Tower and Civic Museum
Built in the Angevin period (14th century) with functions of sighting and first defense, over the centuries the bastion has been several times altered: to the original structure, Of cylindrical shape, was added the double height elevation in the Aragonese era and two other floors at the end of ‘800. After the landing of the Turks in 1534, the building became part of a system of fortifications articulated in about 400 towers that covered most of the coasts of southern Italy. These towers, at the time of the sighting of enemy boats, were transmitted signals, with fire at night and smoke by day, to warn the population of the imminent danger, and they were preparing to defend the coast. The tower, in fact, was equipped with three bronze cannons and three “petrieri” (small catapults) able to aim downwards. After the purchase in the late ‘800 by private individuals, the tower became municipal property in the ’90s and later restored. In 2011 it was reopened to the public and currently houses a Civic Museum with permanent exhibitions of the Cetara artist Manfredi Nicoletti and numerous painters of the coast, the so-called “costaioli”, as well as the “Museum alive” of another great artist from Cetara, Ugo Marano, set-up that he conceived in the ’70s and that he could propose in the tower of Cetara just before his death. In 2011, the Civic Museum was inaugurated in the renovated and reopened Viceregal Tower, which preserves and offers works by many artists of the immediate past and contemporary, from Cetara and the entire Amalfi Coast. The Museum is organized in 4 main sections that intersect each other for the proximity and the relationships between the artists on display and for the themes that tell the surrounding area.
At the beginning of the 70s, facing with the creative and structural crisis where the Vietri ceramics predominantly featuring monotonous declinations of the “Vietri style”, Ugo Marano gave life to the project “Museo Vivo”. The aim was to solicit an interdisciplinary involvement, through a proposal of free creativity involving figures of different cultural operators, in a ceramic workshop to which Marano entrusted the prospect of becoming a possible reality of a ceramic museum of the last decades of the twentieth century. From 1972 to 1976, Marano invited to work at the Ceramica Rifa of Matteo Rispoli in Molina di Vietri, artists such as Giulio Turcato, Renato Guttuso, Amerigo Tot, Antonio Petti, Antonio Franchini, Gelsomino D’Ambrosio, Mario Chiari, Mario Carotenuto, Gianni Ballaro, Tomaso Binga, Melchiode, the architect Alberto Cuomo together with intellectuals such as Edoardo Sanguineti, Giulio Carlo Argan, Filiberto Menna, Giordano Falzoni and the musician Stockhausen engaged at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. Marano particularly focused on a utopian imagination, not dictated by a narcisistic desire, but as a plot of a collective confrontation or, better, of the recovery of that pluralistic force expressed by the group. The idea of the factory-workshop, a laboratory of thought, but also of the museum as a forge, a space for research and experimentation, is for Marano the central element of the work program. In 2011, shortly before his death, Ugo Marano proposed in the halls of the Civic Museum the results of the Museo Vivo of the 1970s.
Of the large group of artists who, over the course of about eighty years, gave life to the experience of Majolica painters, the figure of Manfredi Nicoletti acquires a prominent place because his work digs into the deepest roots, in the moods of that daily pose with respect to the triumph of the landscape and nature that, over the years, will lead him to a dramatic vision of the scene and the landscape. Nicoletti speaks a different language. In him the lighting of that solar range of colors that frames the scene of the “divine coast” fades, is fragmented, decomposes to be first measure of a look that notes and transcribes the deformed scenes of popular festivals, painted between the 20s and 30s where perceptive reality is altered by artificial illuminations through such a representation based on patches and a cursive colour. His is a sign-color not indifferent to the solutions of the first futurists (will be among the promoters of the conference held by Boccioni in Naples in 1916) so careful to calibrate the movement, the energy of the masses, that is, of those dots-figures that the artist shakes, modulates in space, which is the place of both existence and phenomena. In the rooms of the Civic Museum there is a large collection of works of the artist granted by his son.
In the page of the Neapolitan painting of the Second Nineteenth Century there is the team of Majolica painters. It is an atypical structure compared to the cliché of the time, it is four generations of artists, only painters, from the mid-nineteenth century to the fifties of the twentieth century, outline one of the most unique experiences. They are different personalities whose creative activity is intertwined with stories of travel and emigration. Their painting addresses the landscape and the study of the figure placed in the daily scene; the landscape takes on a value of unconsciously iterated subject. It is the representation of an en plein air space, invaded by a luminous fluid, intensely solar. This is a figure that connotes a cultural condition, a way to anchor the present to the value of a culture of vision rooted in life, in the daily economy, in tradition. In the rooms of the Civic Museum there is a good number of works by the Majolica while far for training and generations lie the experiences of Mario Carotenuto (Tramonti 1922) and Bartolo Savo (Atrani 1932) who donated to the Museum of Cetara two paintings, significant evidence of the years of friendship with Manfredi Nicoletti.
Meta is the first multimedia museum spread over the territory – with the high patronage of the European Union and the Italian State and realized with the financial support of the Campania Region and the Ravello Foundation – that tries to tell the stories of the Amalfi Coast. A story through fourteen places, returned to the public and rearranged in a new configuration, the result of historical investigation, artistic invention and technological research. A way of imagining the coast that reverberates the mystery and seduction always exercised on inhabitants and travelers. And a way to go home, to the land where lemons bloom and sirens continue to sing. For all those who, as history progresses, still feel the distant call of myth. In the Museo Civico Torre di Cetara there are two installations of the META project:
1) Video on Cetara, its monuments, the characteristic alleys, the life of the fishermen in port, projected on an entire wall of the Rock room, with spectacular footage even aerial drone.
2) Video with some pictures of costaioli that come to life, projection of animations made using some works exhibited in the museum of Cetara and other places.
Fishing and Anchovy Colatura Museum
Set up in the rooms of the original lower part of the Angioinian Viceregal Tower, the first Museum dedicated to fishing and the casting of anchovies is an initiative carried out under the memorandum of understanding signed by the Municipality of Cetara, by the Association for the Enhancement of the casting of anchovies of Cetara, the Flag Land of Ulysses and the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Production of the University Federico II of Naples. It is a space where they will rest and grow old barrels ancient and terzigni where you store the precious amber liquid obtained from the maturation of anchovies in salt. The cellar museum will also include a small, but very important, library that will collect over time books, historical documents, newspapers, magazines, photographs dedicated to casting, fishing and the roots of Cetara.