Walking along the Corso Reginna, with your back to the sea, you cannot miss the view of San Nicola de' Thoro Plano Castle, standing on the mount in front of you, the last witness of the incredible defensive system of Amalfi..
The heart of the Duchy of Amalfi, the area from Amalfi to Maiori, was protected on the mountainous side by a tall wall stretching from the Castle di Scala Grande, on the mounts of Scala, to the Valico di Chiunzi, (Chiunzi Pass), where it joined with the Fortress of the Pass. Within this area, every village had its own walls and was protected by fortresses and towers in the mounts.
Maiori had two rows of walls. The Baluardo di San Sebastiano (Baluard of St Sebastian) stretched from the Fortress of Sant'Angelo, the present Collegiata, to Mount Monte Brusario to the East. Six round small towers stood at intervals along the walls, near the three gates opening onto the beach with a drawbridge. Beneath the walls stood a moat, that in case of danger would be filled in, diverting the stream of the Regina river. Some remains of these walls (much lower than they used to be, as the doorstep was built higher than the original one) can be seen at the end of via Casa Mannini; you can get there walking up along the Corso. At this point, on the opposite side of the Main road (Via Nuova Chiunzi), it is possible to see the small towers facing the Porta Jusola. (Jusola Gates).
Within the Baluard stood a second row surrounding Ponte Primario, and the fortress of San Nicola, the last shelter in case of a siege. The fortifications were knocked down by the Pisans in 1137; instead the castle was used for some other centuries, but with the invention of cannons, it became useless, and therefore it was abandoned. The only surviving defensive buildings were the watchtowers along the coast. The castle of San Nicola is the final destination of this tour.
From via Casa Mannini go up towards the main road for about 600 metres, to the steps of via Accola. Once at the top, you will get to the tarmac: past it other steps take to the destination. If you are lucky and Mastro Crescenzo is in, knock the door and you will hear him saying, "trasite, trasite" (please, get in). He is the last Lord of the castle of San Nicola, welcoming the visitor with a smile.
The Castle of San Nicola de Thoro plano.
Built in IX century, it has an irregular shape, with a perimeter of 550 metres, and a surface of about 7500 square metres. Along the walls, provided with terraces and buttresses, stand nine round small towers. The view from the highest point is stunning and breath-taking: the gulf, the mount of Avvocata, Ravello, Mount Sant'Angelo and Tre Pizzi.
Back to the main road, in front of you, near the sign "Frazione San Pietro" climb the steps leading to piazza San Pietro. At the end of the square there is a small bridge on the Regina river. Cross the river, then turn on the left and walk along the Corso to the starting point.