Walks on the Amalfi coast
The Footpath of the Gods
In the excellent company of the Sunflower book by Julian Tippett : Sorrento, Amalfi Coast and Capri: Car Tours and Walks (Landscapes), I cobbled together a number of "segments" including, on my first day in the area, the "Sentiero degli Dei" or Footpath of the Gods.
The path starts at Agerola (Bomerano), reachable by SITA bus from Amalfi no. 5080 (Campania-Salerno). Setting out in the direction of the Colle la Serra and Nocelle you will, for the most part, follow a contour line high above sea level giving these fantastic views.
Eventually, you must come down to the coastal road and it is more or less a choice between a thousand steps down from Nocelle or continuing on along the contour to Montepertuso, where there are a couple of welcome cafés, and taking the path combined with steps down to Positano. Another possibility is the Positano "internal" bus service from either Nocelle or Montepertuso down to the coast road and Positano.
The whole distance took me about 4 and a half hours, including frequent photo stops and a longer stop for my picnic
At Positano you can catch a SITA bus no. 5070 (Campania-Salerno) back to Amalfi. The path from Montepertuso brings you down close to the eastern bus stop of Positano. If, like me, you walk down into Positano and climb back up on the other side, the bus passes by about 8 minutes earlier than the timetable time. Make sure you sit on the right-hand side and then sit back for a well-earned rest and some breath-taking scenery.
Click here for my second walk along the Footpath of the Gods.
Atrani, Torello and Ravello
My next day's walk took me from Amalfi via Atrani and Torello to Ravello.
Atrani is about 15-20 minutes' walk from Amalfi, setting off via the tunnel furrowing below the
cathedral of Amalfi. I didn't choose to take the direct path from Atrani to Ravello which is
fairly steep though shorter. Instead I took the path via Torello which climbs up past peaceful
gardens and more lemon groves until you reach the chapel at Torello where you join
the path from Minori and turn up left towards Ravello.
Approx. WALKING time: Amalfi via Atrani and Torello to Ravello: 2hr40. Ravello via Atrani to Amalfi : 1hr30.
If you don't want to walk this is the bus timetable from Amalfi to Ravello.
The Sunflower book invites you down dark passageways, through narrow alleys and along sometimes overgrown paths past gardens and lemon-groves. Have faith in the book: even when I feared I was walking into someone's private courtyard or would find myself at a dead end after climbing down countless steps, it always turned out to be right.
Public thoroughfares, Atrani-style:
It amazed me to see that so many people arriving in Amalfi on tour buses or on the regular bus service hardly venture more than 100 yards from the bus station on the seafront. (Although as an ex-tour guide this shouldn't have surprised me !) If only they had realised that by exploring the little alleys and passageways, you can find yourself in a different world. These public passages dart to the right and left, over and under houses, including a subterranean alleyway beneath the cathedral of Sant'Andrea in Amalfi. It must be a nightmare to try to establish plans for the land registry in such an area.
Close cooperation between man and mule in order to clear rubble from an inaccessible building site within the maze of alleyways.
In Ravello, there are of course two must-sees: the gardens of the Villa Rufolo (€5,00) and the gardens of the Villa Cimbrone (€5,00), these are the classic views from each:
Every spare centimetre is used, whether for gardens, lemon-groves or houses. Just looking at the vertical drop at the edge of some of the cultivated terraces made me quite dizzy - and that's without considering how they were created. At some distance (too far for a photograph unfortunately) I saw some workmen, in alpine gear and securely attached to the rocks above them, working with pneumatic drills in order to install secure netting to guard against rockfalls for the gardens below. In Corsica, we are used to seeing such work for the protection of road traffic but here, for the protection of gardens, it shows the value placed on cultivatable land.
Valle dei Mulini, Pontone, and bird's eye views of Amalfi and Atrani
The peacefulness of this walk is hardly believable. Tall trees, running water and the ruins of several watermills previously used for the fabrication of paper will be your companions. Nearly 2 hours after leaving the centre of Amalfi, you reach the sleepy village of Pontone where there is a friendly bar.
From Pontone, you would kick yourself afterwards if you did not make the detour along the ridge
which separates Amalfi from its "baby" sister, Atrani. I only went as far as the lookout point with superb
views all round. You can prolong the walk a little further (downhill !) to the Torre del Ziro but be prepared for
the steep climb back uphill afterwards.
Approx. WALKING time: Amalfi via the Valley of the mills to Pontone : 2hrs. Pontone to the look-out point above the Torre dello Ziro: 40 min. round trip. Pontone down to Amalfi: 1hr.
Here are bird's eye views of Atrani on the left and Amalfi on the right. These are almost aerial views, but my feet were firmly on the ground.
Below are photographs of beautiful Atrani (again), the Torre del Ziro and a view of Amalfi from its western edge showing the Torre del Ziro and, at the top left of the photo, the look-out point from which some of my photos were taken.
Walking maps (scale 1:10.000) are to be found at the Amalfi Tourist Office and at the travel agency
opposite Amalfi bus station (where you can buy the bus tickets) at €5 per map. One covers the area between Positano and Conca dei Marini and
the other goes from Conca dei Marini to Maiori. Although I found them quite useful for the overall view, I in
fact used more or less exclusively the Sunflower book for my "navigation" of the numerous footpaths.
I stayed 5 nights in Amalfi in early April 2008. This little town grew on me and I found myself daydreaming of living there in a little flat somewhere in its maze of narrow streets, provided there was a garden at some level for my cats. Only joking ! In the end I did turn my car back in the direction of Corsica.
A note to car-drivers: Being resident in Corsica I'm very used to driving on narrow mountain roads BUT my car stayed firmly in the hotel garage during my stay and, when I was not walking, I used the extremely well-organised SITA bus services (click on "Campania-Salerno"). The roads in this area are not only narrow but are enclosed by parapets or rock faces and so have no leeway and they have far more traffic than I'm used to on such narrow roads. Secondly, I noticed that, although residents generally have very small cars (which they often drive up stairways !), even so there is barely a car (or bus) which does not have some damage to its bodywork. A dented wing on your own car is a nuisance; on a hire car it can be very costly.
Link to a second Amalfi page.