Translated Jeff Matthews
For many years my visits to the Sorrentine-Amalfi peninsula were confined to the spendid coasts and the sea. I was stunned by the extreme beauty of the myriad coves and inlets along the coastline; it never entered my mind to pay some attention to the interior and to the high mountains that overlook the sea and still today protect and conceal her.
In recent years, I have sent aside my "pinne, fucile ed occhiali" [fins, spear gun and goggles] (obviously I am not referring to the mythical 45 rpm record by Edoardo Vianello from long ago 1962) and have started to become more interested in the lands hiding in the white limestone of the Coast. Punta Campanella, Jeranto Bay, the Trail of the Gods and many others are some of the recent hikes I have mentioned to you in these pages. Today it gives me great pleasure to tell you about another one, a hike we undertook last Sunday in the Valley of the Amalfi Ironworks.
We decided not to set off at our usual crack-of-dawn. We left at a relaxing 8 a.m. In an hour we had picked up Nando in Bagnoli; he would be our personal guide for this excursion. Then we got Marbet a San Giorgio and then were off in the direction of Angri, where we would climb the Lattari range from the back.
Nando suggested a route that he had taken many times before; it's a ring route that starts at Scala (at 430 meters/1290 feet a.s.l.); you move on a line at about halfway mark along the mountain side that closes off the Valley of the Ironworks (Valle delle Ferriere) and reach a point that is at 530 meters, then drop down on the right bank of the valley, reaching the town of Amalfi and then come back up (on a stairway with more than 2000 steps!) to Scala, passing the ruins of the medieval cathedral of Saint Eustachio at Pontone and the part of town called Minuta, where you will be at your point of departure and have completed the “ring”. You will have covered 10.5 km.
This hike is of moderate difficulty: There are some exposed parts of the trail along the slope that have drop-offs on the side of tens of meters. Some of the fording points across waterways are not always that easy to negotiate (the day we chose for our outing had been preceded by strong rains, providing us with more than a few extra “phantom” streams. We actually had to long jump from one steep bank of the Cannetto stream to the other, and finally there was the limestone, itself, which in the presence of water presents slippery mats of moss.
An interesting point of nature is the presence of the fern Woodwardia radicans, a true living fossil that thrives at the upper reaches of the valley amid the waterfalls
At the end, we were tired, granted, but it had been worth it—the sheer beauty of it all, not to mention the heavenly taste of the "Delizia al limone" (a local sweet pastry) that we enjoyed in Amalfi, and, most of all, there was the togetherness, the harmony of the group.
Our NUg group covered this ground again one year later. That description is here.
The NUg video