I trudged on and, as luck would have it, I came upon the group of walkers that I had waved to. They were from Australia (mainly Geelong) and their guide Francesco said that the numbers of Australians travelling had increased markedly while Americans were literally scarce on the ground.
Soon after we came upon two walkers and three mules who were gathering wood. It was fascinating to see it still gathered in such a way in a relatively modern country like Italy, but that's the way life is here above the resorts.
Not long after, civilization beckoned in the form of a village called Nocelle (pic 5). From here you can catch a bus down to Positano but I chose to walk on.
Monte Pertuso came and went (pics 2 & 3) and other cliffs passed, along with natural water springs and religious sites.
From up top you can get a great view of the cemetery (pic 4), that improbably sited bit of real estate that sits bizarrely beneath a cliff.
Dramatic cliffs pass by, shaped by weather sculpted by water. Numerous grottos come and go but in this land there's always one nearby (pic 3).
The sea is always there and the Amalfi Coast road is glimpsed now and then (opening pic) and I pass a few well sited picnic tables before taking time out (pic 5) at one and soaking up the view for a time.
It was all so sublime and I was all alone for a while until I looked above and saw another bunch of walkers on high. Though I waved they failed to acknowledge me so I packed up and moved on.
Soon the scenery did something impressive, it got better.
I wasn't in a hurry, a fairly unusual circumstance for me. The weather was as close to perfect as it was right to expect. My last journey to these parts it was hazy and windy. Today it was clear and sunny. My camera trigger finger was poised. In the end I could have gotten RSI.
After the first half hour it was the views to the sea below that transfixed my gaze, as you can no doubt ascertain from the opening pic.
The were other people here though; walkers on my trail, others on the one above; a man with a gun and a friendly smile (pic 2); workers in a vinyard (pic 3) and an elderly couple of males who were arguing over something in a language I was unfamiliar with.
Soon after I was gobsmacked by the amazing places where buildings occured (pics 4 and 5). One wondered about Occupational Health and Safety standards but these were the stone edifices of the ages; who knows how many years they had provided aid for humans.
After my first trip to Positano, I heard about this walk, the Path of the Gods. With a name like that it got my attention. It gnawed at me. I always thought that if I returned I would do this walk. I'd wondered if there was a way to see the Amalfi Coast from above and this was it.
I came across another Aussie walker on Capri on the Via Matromania and he told me to catch the bus to Bomerano and then you'd find the start of it.
It involves first catching a bus to Amalfi and then the bus that goes to Napoli over the mountains. If that was all you had to do you'd have a good day. The ride up to Bomerano alone is worth the effort, gaining altitude a few kilometres north of Amalfi on a switchback road that leads you to thinking it must be going to be an exciting walk.
You will be thinking correctly. I'd been chatting with a Swiss tour guide who was taking a group to do a harder walk, one of several up in the mountains apparently. He indicated to me when I should alight but it was probably a bit early.
Not to worry, after passing a fishmongers and a backyard with a cage full of rabbits (pic 2) , I soldiered on up one dead end and then finally stumbled on the trail proper (pics 3 and 4).
Excitement welled up inside and I started out on my big adventure.
The only existing fjord in Italy. The zone which begins at the bay of Conca dei Marini and continues to the feet of the faraglioni of Capo Sottile, is the most spectacular sight on the Amalfi Coast. Suddenly a road sign directs you to a village which, well, which isn't there... Welcome to Furore. To see it you've got to and look down from the street to where, at the bottom of a fjord cut into the cliffs, a small fishing village crouches among the rocks. Our driver took us by Furore on the way home from Ravello. You can best appreciate its charms from the sea, where the enchanting effect of the tiny coves and terraces carved into the rock hits full force.
If you are a John Steinbeck fan you are most likely aware that he spent a significant amount of time in Positano. He lived there well before Positano became a tourist destination and one can see where he got some of his inspiration. A few days in Positano and you will have the desire to write just like Steinbeck, though its doubtful anyone ever will!
We took the bus from Positano to Praiano and walked to lower Praiano down by the sea. Their is a small marina with a restaurant/cafe. Their is path along the coastline with beautiful overlooks of the rugged coastline. We really enjoyed this hike because of the views and it's relative desolation after the crowds of Positano. We walked much of the way back to Positano on this path which eventually goes back up to the coastal road. This road is very narrow and many tour buses navigate this stretch which has many tunnels and blind spots. The buses have to slow way down and honk as a warning to oncoming traffic since they have this blind spot.
And envelop you! We stayed in a guesthouse above Positano, about a 40 minute drive from the centre.
The clouds are at eye-level. That is, you see their width and form, and you can watch them slowly move toward you from the ocean. Slowly your view of the ocean becomes obscured. Until you are surrounded in cloud, and you can see wisps of them move by.
It truly is where the sea meets the sky. The line becomes blurred, so much so that you can't tell the difference, and can't make out the horizon.
I would recommend the journey up the hill and spend one night looking over the ocean from high above. It's fairytale... where beanstalks grow or worlds turn around and transport you to a different place.
On a tragic day in AD79, Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried the town of Pompeii in 6 metres (20 feet) of pumice and ash. The city, which is still undergoing ectensive excavation, is petrified in time and some buildings still show paintings and art work.
All of this can be discovered by a short 25 minute drive/bus ride from Amalfi to Sorrento and then a 25 minute train ride directly to the front gate of this fascinating city.
For a spectacular view of Positano climb Via Raffaele Bosco from either Vico Equense or Seiano. Take Via Gradoni to S. Maria del Castello. Park your car on the side of the road (by the fence near the church). Walk down the path to the cliffs. Warning! This is not for the faint of heart (there are no railings). Email me if you need more directions.
The steps at the top of Positano get steeper and steeper...I was glad to keep stopping for the wonderful views of Positano though. Our knees were really complaining by now after our long hot hike on the Sentiero Degli Dei path and we were so glad when we reached the Lemon Tree restaurant (see restaurant tip) where we collapsed into a chair for a rest before making it down all the way to the beach.
Atrani is a beautiful, peaceful fishing village named because of the narrow form of Atrani, from the Latin antrum, narrow or dark. Atrani is so close to Amalfi that people park there and walk. The corniche arches over the main square of his pretty fishing village and wraps itself around the church of Santa Maria Maddalena.
This was the upmarket, residential part of Amalfi in the 10th century; today it still has some of the best examples of the vernacular architecture of the Costiera.
In the heart of the Amalfitan Alliance since the 800's, the small hamlet achieved a notable power: it became the " twin of Amalfi", where -in the historic church of San Salvatore di Bireto- the Amalfi's Doges received their investiture. Atrani also became a preferred residence by Amalfitan Nobles. Atrani's downward winds of fortune changed around 1734 when the Bourbons came to the throne of Naples. The new rulers brought culture and development, to Atrani, along the valley of Dragone, paper factories, textile factories (providing wool cloth and sagette) , and above all pasta-making , that maintained a certain level of commerce in the town. The pasta of the Coast was famous and the enterprising people of Atrani sold to all the outlying towns. Since the 1960's Atrani has gotten its share of the spotlight with actors, producers, artists of all types and adventurers. Jackie Kennedy who danced barefoot on the tables of Chez Checco, Rossellini turned the town into an exclusive cinema set. In the footsteps of the VIPS, tourism has brought some of its old fame to Atrani.
It also has a very good trattoria: 'A Paranza, where they certainly know one end of an octopus from the other. The seafood antipasti alone would justify the visit.
Behind Capo Sottile, on the far slopes of Monte Tre Cavalli, and looking eastwards, there is the little town of Praiano. Once an old fishing village it is now a popular seaside resort with hotels and camping facilities that can accommodate large numbers of tourists. The parish church, dedicate to Saint Luke, is found in the upper part of the town, in a spot with a lovely view. The church houses a precious silver figure of Saint Luke. Praiano's beach is the small, enchanting Marina di Praia, which is found at the end of the wild Praia valley. The surrounding cliffs have been deeply marked by erosion. On a rocky promontory stands the cylindrical mass of the Torre a Mare, a medieval structure which recalls the centuries-old struggle of the area's inhabitants against the attacks of pirates.
About seven kilometres (10 minutes by car or bus ) from Amalfi is the town of Ravello, set like a natural balcony in mountains and ravines over the Gulf of Salerno. Rich in scenery, culture, and good living, it’s an ideal summer retreat for travelers seeking an escape from the heat, and time to relax and breathe the fresh air. In July, an outdoor musical festival is hosted in the gardens of Villa Rufolo overlooking the sea.
Check out my Ravello pages for more info and pictures.
Praiano is a picturesque fishing village - a close neighbour to Positano. Its a smaller and less well known resort but that means it will be less crowded with tourists and the accompanying trappings.
We didn't actually visit the village but we enjoyed looking down on it from far above on the Sentiero Degli Dei path to Positano.