[translator's note: Avvocata means “protectress”; that is, the Madonna.]
Springtime, with its mild climate, is the best time of the year to venture out on some “tough” trails that might prove too taxing during the summer because of the length as well as the difference in level.
Last weekend we tried one of those: the Trail of the Avvocata. It's a nice hike; out and back is about 13.4 km. (We took a few side trails and actually covered almost 16 in all with a difference in level of 835 meters.) The trail goes from the part of Cava de' Tirreni called Corpo di Cava to the Sanctuary of Maria Santissima dell'Avvocata. The first part of the trail, which is steep right from the start, is beneath a ridge of the Lattari mountains and it takes about an hour before the trail opens onto a splendid view of the sea at the towns of Cetara, Vietri and Salerno with the Picentine mountains in the background.
This trail at certain times of the years is also the route for processions of pilgrims on their way to the Sanctuary of Maria Santissima dell'Avvocata for mass. Along the way, there are prayer “stations” and three memorial plaques to recall three of the faithful who, because of the strenuous nature of the pilgrimage, actually died in these hills.
About an hour from our goal, we made the top of a crest where the view ranges to Amalfi and the cobalt blue of the coast so named. Amalfi dominates the panorama; you can see the entrance to the Ferriere Valley, pontoons with the ruins of the castle/basilca of St. Eustachio as well as, in the distance, the famous auditorium built by architect Oscar Niemeyer.
The whole hike, excluding stops, takes about 5 hours and 30 minutes. There's no denying that it's tiring, but you are well rewarded by the beauty of the panoramas that the Amalfi coast offers. This hike is a must.
Here is a link to some photos taken on our outing: The Avvocata sanctuary.
The video: The Trail of the Avvocata
A chart of the route with GPS coordinates and points of interest along the way: The Trail of the Avvocata.