Maiori is a resort town lying on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. This lively town is in the Salerno province, surrounded by lush green hills and heavenly beaches. If you love stunning views, unique attractions, and great food, Maiori, Italy, is the destination for you.
Did you know that Maiori was the vacation paradise of ancient Romans? Well, now you do. Maiori has a history of being an ancient tourist attraction – in beautiful places like Italy, everyone has always loved the coast.
Speaking of history, there’s still an ongoing debate on who founded Maiori. No one can really agree if it’s the Etruscans, the Corsicans, the Romans, or the Greeks. It’s interesting, but ultimately unimportant – especially once you set eyes on this Italian paradise.
Maiori means “greater” in Latin or “senior” in Corsican. This name likely plays on the town’s proximity and relationship with the smaller neighboring town of Minori (literally “minor” in Latin and Corsican).
Perhaps the biggest appeal of Maiori is that it sits on the most extensive unbroken stretch of beach on the Amalfi Coast. Additionally, Maiori is known for its delicious seafood, as well as its unique architecture. It is home to many beautiful churches and historical structures, not to mention some of the most breathtaking vistas in Italy.
Interested? Well then, let’s get into the best things to do in Maiori, Italy!
- Most significant landmark – The Church of Santa Maria a Mare
- Best park – The gardens at Palazzo Mezzacapo
- Best free activity – Walking the “Lemon Trail”
- Best activity for kids – Maiori Beach
- Best activity for adults – Visiting Roberto Rossellini’s Film Sets
- Best food – Pasticceria Napoli
- Best nightlife – Dining at the Norman Tower
- Best all-around accommodation – Mezzacapo Castle
Things to Do in Maiori, Italy
1. Explore the Church of Santa Maria a Mare
Address: Piazzale Mons. Milo Nicola Prevosto, 84010 Maiori SA, Italy
The Church of Santa Maria a Mare stands in the middle of Maiori, on the side of Mount Torina. The Hermits of Sant’Agostino built this church on the remains of Rocca di Sant’Angelo in the 1200s.
The church underwent many alterations throughout history, combining three pre-existing churches. The 14th Century bell tower has a colorful maiolica tiled dome, while most of the exterior originates from the 18th Century. The church has a spacious interior with a vaulted nave and coffered ceiling and an impressive organ in its choir loft.
Well, the wonders of this church don’t end there. The Church of Santa Maria a Mare plays host to a museum, too: The Museum of Sacred Art. This museum is home to historical relief structures, statues, and the relics of St. Clement in the church’s crypt.
Feel like staying nearby? Check into this gorgeous bed and breakfast, just a couple of blocks away.
See Related: 17 Fun & Best Things to do in Positano, Italy
2. Tour the Castle of San Nicola de Thoro Plano
Address: Via Castello, 84010 Maiori SA, Italy
The Castle of San Nicola de Thoro Plano is a fascinating set of ruins I highly recommend. It was once a fortified stronghold built in the 9th Century. Its original purpose was to protect refugees fleeing various Lombard and Saracen attacks. The fortress ruins stand atop a hill overlooking the Accola and Carpineto villages.
The fortress gets its name from its location on a rolling hill, and the old church it once housed dedicated to Saint Nicola.
Despite being abandoned for centuries, the ruins are in remarkably good shape. You can still see the spy holes and buttresses in the battlements, with nine small cylindrical towers splitting the walls.
You can enter the Castle of San Nicola de Thoro Plano for free. You’ll get a spectacular view of the gulf, the valley, and the nearby town of Ravello from there. Prepare to climb about 290 stairs to get to the castle, as it is not accessible by car.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Sorrento, Italy
3. Enjoy the Sea at the Maiori Beach
Address: Via Roma, 62, 84010 Minori SA, Italy
Maiori is the longest and most sandy beach along the Amalfi Coast, a paradise for those who want space. Unlike other beaches along the Amalfi Coast, where you have to walk and climb or will have to deal with rocky terrain, Maiori Beach is relatively easy to reach.
Maiori Beach (or Paradise Beach) is usually packed in July and August, but plenty of space exists. There is a free beach and many shops to rent umbrellas and loungers. You can also enjoy cafes and restaurants along the water’s edge because it is close to town. There are also shops where you can rent pedal boats and canoes for your enjoyment!
Do you know what the most exciting thing about this stretch of the Amalfi Coast is? There are several sea caves to explore! Grotta di Pandora can be reached by boat and is only a few minutes from Maiori. The cave is vast and simply beautiful. Your eyes will feast on the fantastic view of stalagmites, stalactites, and azure waters.
If you feel like making more of a day of coastal cave exploration, book a half-day cruise to see the Grotta dello Smeraldo (or Emerald Cave) and more beauties along the Amalfi Coast. And if you’re looking for a place to stay on the beach, you can’t get much closer than Hotel Baia Verde, which also has some wonderful views of the Med.
4. Stay in the Mezzacapo Castle
Address: Via Roma 1 SS163, 84010 Minori, Italy
Mezzacapo Castle perches on a rocky spur in the Toricella area, sitting between the towns of Maiori and Minori. This magnificent chateau draws the attention of everyone arriving in the port of Maiori. Just one look and you could believe it popped right out of a children’s storybook, thanks to its light hues and symmetrical shapes.
The Castle is named after the Mezzacapo family, and its backstory is quite fascinating. On a trip to France, a Mezzacapo marquis admired the chateau he visited on the Loire. He decided to copy the castle in his hometown of Minori. To let the local builders know what he was looking for he showed them a French matchbox featuring an image of the castle, and from that image, they set to work on this masterpiece.
The Mezzacapo Castle was completed in the 19th Century and bears a remarkably accurate resemblance to its French twin. It stands near the Annunziata Cave and the Torre Mezzacapo. The castle has three stories, three-cylinder turrets with conical spires, and a lovely garden.
Today, you can stay at Mezzacapo Castle amid beautiful scenery, framed by the sea and mountains. Book a room and stay awhile, you’ll feel like royalty living in a storybook world!
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Naples, Italy
5. Walk Along the Citrusy Path of the Lemons
Address: Via Torre, 84010 Minori SA, Italy
The Path of the Lemons, or Sentiero dei Limoni, is a lovely, historic path connecting Maiori and Minori. You will experience all Amalfi offers: picturesque sea views, hiking trails, and lemons – lemons as far as the eye can see!
The lemon groves along this path produce the region’s famous lemons. You may follow the footprints of the region’s first lemon farmers between the sea and the cliffs. Stroll past the lemon trees and agricultural terraces that drop into the clear Mediterranean waters below.
To experience it, you’ll have to climb more than 400 steps. The path presents no challenges or sharp drops. It’sIt’s a lovely stroll for non-hikers and children. It takes roughly an hour to walk the Path of the Lemons. It begins close to the Via Vena steps and the church of Santa Maria a Mare.
After passing through the town, the path leads you to the terraced lemon and olive groves. It travels through beautiful scenery to Torre village, where it descends to Minori.
See Related: Best Tours in Italy: Food, Walking & Bike Tours
6. View the Exhibits in the Palazzo Mezzacapo
Address: Corso Reginna, 84010 Maiori SA, Italy
The Palazzo Mezzacapo is a palace on Corso Reginna, the main thoroughfare of Maiori. The Marquis of Mezzacapo constructed the palace in a Maltese cross design. The palace has gardens that amaze visitors with an unmatched explosion of color.
The Palace of Mezzacapo was the residence of Mezzacapo’s Marquis and his descendants. Decorated in the baroque style, it features distinctive paintings, gleaming marble stairs, and beautiful wood carvings. Each scene is a representation of the family’s philosophy and social standing. We can only guess their grandeur and success at the time.
Palazzo Mezzacapo now serves as the town hall of Maiori. It frequently holds concerts, art exhibitions, and weddings. If you are an art lover, spend some time in the palace’s chambers to view the Ludwig frescoes.
7. Dine at the Norman Tower
Address: Via Levi Carlo, 40, 75019 Tricarico MT, Italy
The most significant and historic tower on the Amalfi Coast is the Torre Normanna (or Norman Tower). This tower was constructed between 1250 and 1300. It is a brilliant example of a Norman-style medieval coastal watchtower and was used to spot pirate ships approaching from the south.
The tower offers stunning terraces for a romantic reception while watching the setting sun. It has an internal partition that is suited to the requirements of modern renovation.
The Norman Tower houses Ristorante Torre Normanna, one of the best Maiori restaurants, and includes a private beach with sun loungers, umbrellas, and a cocktail bar. You may enjoy the spectacular natural surroundings while indulging in delectable seafood specialties. They make the fabled giant Italian pizza, and you can also taste regional desserts like “delizie al limone” or Norman cake.
After a delicious dinner, reward yourself with a comfortable night at the nearby Residence Due Torri, a stunning condo hotel with bright, airy decor and breathtaking views.
See Related: Best Things to do in Normandy, France
8. Visit Chiesa di San Francesco
Address: Via Giovanni Amendola, 41, 84010, Maiori Italy
Chiesa di San Francesco sits between a cliff face and the sea bordering Maiori and Minori, near the Grotta of the Annunciation. Over centuries it has witnessed a voyage through the cultural and religious history of Maiori.
The Rococo Chiesa di San Francesco opened in 1783 next to a historic monastery built in 1405. It has a rich interior featuring pieces of art from across the ages, donated by the wealthy, noble families of Maiori.
There is a magnificent crucifixion composition by a Flemish artist from the 15th Century and other works of art in the Chiesa di San Francesco. Several other art pieces are kept at the convent, including replicas of famous works by Vasari, Titian, and Pietro de Cortona.
The monastery still houses a small community of monks and a religious shelter. You can stroll through the monastery’s miraculous San Bernardino fountain and the secret passageways. You can also find peace at the cloisters and library of Chiesa di San Francesco.
See Related: How Much is a Trip to Italy: Average Cost Per Day
9. Admire the Abbey of Santa Maria de Olearia
Address: Strada Statale Amalfitana, 43, 84010 Maiori SA, Italy
The Abbey of Santa Maria de’ Olearia is a beautiful artistic gem in Maiori. This Benedictine Abbey, now a unique bed and breakfast, was founded in the 10th Century, near the historical center of Maiori. The structure is located in a tranquil spot along the iconic Amalfi Drive highway.
While active throughout the Middle Ages, the abbey was left deserted when the last abbot passed away in 1509. The building’s central core was originally built in 973. It has undergone multiple expansions inside a rocky cavern that both man and nature carved out since then. The three tiny overlapping churches that make up the monument’s core may hardly be seen among the rocks today.
The site’s best-preserved paintings are located in the lower church. It comprises a rectangular room with three little apses, and two cycles of frescoes are painted on each wall. It is referred to as the catacombs chapel or the Crypt.
The main chapel is the second church; it faces out over a lovely terrace and uses to be covered in frescoes both inside and out. Following renovation works in 1988, many paintings were saved and restored, but presently many others, particularly the outside ones, are terribly damaged.
San Nicola is the name of the third church. This is also completely frescoed, but the scenes from the saint’s life are broken up in the apse to create a way for a Virgin and Child as well as San Nicola and San Paolino. Moreover, there are two praying angels and a round form that symbolizes God’s hand on the facade.
The area around the abbey is also lovely. The olive trees that cover the hill offer a welcome respite from the hot Mediterranean sun. The hill has a lovely view of the sea. The olive trees are responsible for the abbey’s name (Olearia = olive oil), and there used to be a well-known oil mill nearby.
10. Trek to Monte Falerzio and Santuario di Maria Santissima Avvocata Sopra Maiori
If you enjoy hiking across the countryside, Maiori is a terrific place to start, particularly with places like the Santuario di Maria Santissima Avvocata (or Shrine of the Blessed Lady Mary Advocate). This hallowed landmark can only be reached on foot, following the path leading to Monte Falerzio.
This walking route’s broad open spaces with ocean views inspire visitors to meditate on the infinite. The road from Maiori to the Falerzio Mount’s summit is lovely and magnificent. It ascends through lemon groves and a lush Mediterranean scrub, passing numerous characteristic ruins and water sources.
The ascent of the Mount of Avvocata trekking path is of medium difficulty: challenging but not impossible, although the roughly 4-kilometer course includes a moderately challenging ascent that calls for some planning and orienteering abilities.
Once you get there, this red brick edifice from the 16th Century is perched above a grand viewing deck making for unrivaled views of the area. It takes about 5 hours to travel round trip, so plan a big dinner that night!
See Related: 25 Fun & Best Things to Do in Naples, Italy
11. Visit Roberto Rossellini’s Film Sets
Roberto Rossellini, one of the pioneers of Italian neorealism, used Maiori as the natural setting for many of his well-known films. His 1946 war drama Paisà (Paisan) had two episodes filmed in the settlement, notably in the Chapel di San Domenico, and in front of the Torre Normanna (Norman Tower).
The neighborhood and the great maestro created a particular bond during filming, and Rossellini would later return to Maiori to shoot more scenes for the iconic films Il Miracolo (The Miracle), L’amore (aka Ways of Love), La Macchina Ammazzacattivi (The Machine to Murder Bad People), and Viaggio in Italia (Journey to Italy).
12. Have Breakfast or Snacks in Pasticceria Napoli
Address: Corso Reginna, 64, 84010 Maiori SA, Italy
You can’t fail to stop by this historic pastry shop when you go to Maiori! Pasticceria Napoli is a paradise of sweets. When you go, you will be surrounded by flaky and spongy sfogliatellas, little chocolate-covered spice cakes, lemon cream sponge cakes, liquor-soaked yeast cakes, stuffed cakes, and pastiera into Pasticceria Napoli in the center of Maiori.
You can go there for a break during the day or a latte and croissant breakfast. If you’re not a fan of regional flavors but still want a professionally produced treat from a patisserie, try tiramisù, semifreddi al cioccolato, or cheesecake.
Is Maiori Worth Visiting?
Maori might be a small town, but it offers more than the typical town. From stunning beaches to delicious restaurants and unique attractions, it has everything you want in a vacation spot. If you’re looking for a quieter, more relaxing visit to the Amalfi Coast, then Maiori may be precisely what you want. It’s worth a visit for travelers looking for a more local experience away from the more crowded areas of the Amalfi Coast, such as Amalfi, Capri, and Positano.
What are the best tourist attractions in Maiori?
Some of my favorite tourist hot spots in Maiori were the Church of Santa Maria a Mare, the Abbey of Santa Maria de Olearia, the Castle of San Nicola de Thoro Plano, Palazzo Mezzacapo, and the Norman Tower.
Where else should I explore on the Amalfi Coast?
If you’re looking for more lively locations, try Amalfi, Positano, and the gorgeous island of Capri. I’d also recommend visiting Minori, which is Maiori’s closest neighbor if you’re still looking to chill.
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