the Abbey of Santa Maria de Olearia of Maiori, in Campania, is considered one of the most important Benedictines monastic complexes on Amalfi Coast. News of its foundation goes back to the first archbishop of Amalfi, Leone - overlaid the charge from 987 until his death in 1029 - that granted to Peter, a hermit who lived in the company of his nephew John, in the place in which took place the working of the oil, to build up the church of Santa Maria dell'Olearia. Grown after the number of the hermits, attracted by the fame of holiness of John, is made necessary the construction of a true and proper manufactured.
Formed in the shade of a large cavern natural rocky, at the side of the provincial road that connects Salerno with Amalfi, prior to the implementation of the road, had to present the shapes of a rupestrian settlement . The constructive characteristic of the architecture is given by the materials, with the exception of the marbles as columns, capitals, slabs, realizes a masonry in simple rubble of rock and Malta covered by plaster. As far as evocative are the connotations architectural and environmental impact of the site, the paintings which decorate it however constitute the datum of greater interest.
They represent one of the most important groups of mural paintings in the Campania region that we have reached the first middle ages, so much so that some of them are probably the oldest remaining of the epoch of the medieval Duchy of Amalfi. These are three different pictorial cycles, all medieval, but performed at different times, located in as many superimposed areas of destination of worship.
The first environment , the so-called crypt, is located in a little less than ten meters from the road surface and accessed today through a double ramp of scale. Clearly this constitutes the first nucleus of the hermitage. An external staircase to the crypt leads to an esplanade in front of the widest part of the cave, where you will find a real chapel, the chapel of the Virgin. It is constituted by an environment monoabsidato, covered with a cross vault, and by other two spaces with a barrel vault. On the outside, through a scale inserted in the newsstand described above, one arrives at the chapel of San Nicola, built on the roof of the chapel dedicated to the Virgin and almost embedded in the rock above. It is constituted by a small apsed hall with coverage barrel. On the southern side opens a window and on the western wall the entry gate.