Every family in Cetara has a connection to the sea. One of these families is the di Mauro family. Francesco di Mauro, a retired Navy Captain, founded Ittica Alimentare Salerno (IASA) and was among the first companies to preserve the bounty of tuna and anchovies brought in by the local fishermen.
IASA became well known throughout Italy when Francesco developed a new steam pasteurizer to preserve fish in glass jars. The visual impact of the succulent chunks of local tuna and plump pink anchovies carefully packed in olive oil made the product an instant success, later copied by many other producers.
Today, Francesco's dynamic sons and daughter manage IASA. Vincenzo oversees the production, Salvatore oversees the commercial operations and Lucia, the exports. During the fishing season (April through September), the company employs a team of 50 local workers. Salvatore tells us that there are a handful of companies left in Italy today that package freshly caught fish to high quality standards and IASA is the only one that does most of the work with anchovies by hand. Gutting and cleaning the fish, placing layers of anchovies in drums with sea salt, and hand packing the anchovies in jars.
It is quite inspiring and astounding to watch the women place each one of the anchovies in a jar with an incredible amount of tender, loving care. The di Mauro siblings also tell us that they consider their staff family. They have worked together for many years and it is easy to understand that this passion is yet another delicious ingredient in the products' success.
Tucked away in a small cove of the Amalfi Coast, the small village of Cetara is guarded by an ancient watchtower that was used to defend the coast of Campania in ancient times. Nowadays, visitors come to Cetara to enjoy a walk through the picturesque village, visit the fish market, and eat in one of the many excellent seafood restaurants.