“Man decides that a place is good for living, or at least for working, and with the delicacy of crib builder, builds a mill, fed by the acrobatics of the water, a paper mill, and a village of rectangular houses that protrude from the cliff, and then finally lays a dozen boats to rest on the wet sand.”
Albano Marcarini, La via degli Incanti
Furore, like many other towns on the Amalfi Coast, is characterized by an inhabited area on the mountain and a nucleus on the coast: the Furore marina, or the Fjord.
Unlike other towns, however, Furore’s layout is characterized by the almost complete absence of squares and piazzas. This unique urban condition is a direct consequence of the geomorphological structure of the territory, emphasized by the layout of the most recent network of roads. To adapt to the orography, the network uses a series of winding hairpin turns that almost look like the output of a seismograph.
The city’s architecture could not have failed to be influenced by this general urban-territorial situation.
Some of the most interesting readings about this type of architecture is found in Armando Schiavo’s book Monumenti della Costa d’Amalfi. In this work, the architecture of the coast is analyzed in its environmental-historic entirety. Schiavo clearly identifies its unique “genius loci” and explains the particular choices of construction, typology, and shape for the most architecturally important structures on this basis.
Furore’s churches, for example, are analyzed independently and in context of the figurative tradition of the area. Even though they are not traditionally considered to be architectural models that represent the style of the Amalfi cliffs, these buildings demonstrate important characteristics when they are viewed in the light of being part of the environmental system.
A very similar discussion can be had for domestic architecture. On a typological and formal level, Furore’s houses are products of rural culture and of the techniques used by local workers. However, in their stylistic reduction, they demonstrate typical elements that reflect the characteristic building culture of the Campania basin from the Amalfi Coast to the Phlegraean Fields and the islands.
The architecture of the Fjord, however, is a different discussion entirely. The Fjord is recognized as a unique section with real environmental and architectural character: mills, a fishing village, and manufacturing sites exist in harmony. They have recently been converted into a historic monument.
Lastly, the murals make up an outdoor museum – an artistic and poetic representation of the dry-stone wall, an element of fundamental importance for the costal landscaping structure. The dry-stone wall allowed space for agriculture and for life to be literally carved out of an impassable and inhospitable territory.
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