The small village of Meta is the first one on the road to Sorrento: it welcomes the visitor with a beautiful panorama of the coast and makes him feel well received. The name “Meta” has an old origin: it means “border, end“, but also “turning point”.
Where once there was a Roman milestone, now it stands the tower of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Lauro, built on the ruins of a small temple dedicated to the goddess Minerva. A curiosity: there is another place of worship dedicated to the same goddess on the promontory of Punta Campanella, the extreme angle of the peninsula, a sort of twin temple. Tradition says that the Basilica of S. Maria del Lauro was built in the eighth century following the prodigious discovery of a simulacrum of the Virgin by a deaf-mute shepherdess who was putting her cow to pasture.
The statue, found at the foot of a bay tree, was surrounded by a hen with twelve gold chicks.
When the bishop of Sorrento knew about this prodigious episode and that the shepherdess had acquired the gift of speech and hearing, decided that the statue should have been carried in procession to the cathedral of Sorrento.
In the early 1200s, it was named after Santa Maria del Lauro but in the second half of the sixteenth century, the ancient chapel was demolished to be replaced by a much larger church. Its current aspect dates back to the neoclassical period. Tradition wants that the wooden statue of the Virgin preserved in the Basilica is exactly the one found on that miraculous September day.
During the Bourbon period, Meta finally knows its own strong identity obtaining the independence from Sorrento and is to be distinguished from all the other hamlets for its maritime tradition.
Meta, in fact, has been the birthplace of one of the greatest shipowner of the past: it is not by chance that today, there is the naval museum “Mario Maresca” in memory of this truly glorious past.
Today the Alimuri shipyards no longer exist, but in their place, we can find a long and beautiful beach, very popular in the summer and attended both by the locals and the Neapolitans. Considered one of the most beautiful and accessible seaside areas of the peninsula, it is certainly a stop to consider during your stay.
What distinguishes Meta from the other neighbouring villages certainly is the sense of calmness that you can fell here, especially walking through the labyrinth of the alleys that characterize the ancient historic centre. You can feel some kind of mystery while crossing the narrow streets – starting from via del Lauro, ancient downhill in front of the church leading to the heart of the historic centre, Casale square – and admiring the old piperno portals belonging to the noble palaces from the Baroque era, such as villa Elisa, Palazzo Fienga, Villa Liguori or Palazzo Maresca.
Another stop is Palazzo Cosenza, better known as Villa Giuseppina, entirely designed by the architect Luigi Vanvitelli and built-in 1739. The place was also the location chosen by the director Dino Risi who elected it as the cinema set for the movie “Pane, amore e…” (1955) starring Sophia Loren and Vittorio de Sica.
Thus, Meta certainly is an ideal place to spend your holidays if you are looking for a peaceful place!