Path of the gods: SOUTHERN ITALY'S MOST STUNNING HIKE.
November 22, 2015 / By Anthony J. Carro
When I first heard of the hiker's paradise named "Path of the gods" (Sentiero degli Dei), I was captivated. I thought, how incredible must this trail be to engender a title evoking images of Greek mythology?
It turns out this extraordinary panoramic footpath above the Amalfi coast was never tread by Zeus (surprise!) but was instead, created for another, perhaps less cosmic purpose. This ancient path, an average 1,640 feet above the sparkling blue-green Salerno Gulf in the hills of the Lattari (milk) mountains was slowly carved into the hillside by the many feet and hooves of dairy farmers and their mules.
As the story goes, corroborated by present-day villagers of these hill top towns, farmers would guide their weary animals through a network of paths to sell their local produce and exchange goods with communities in Agerola, Amalfi and Vico Equense. The path also served as a vital communication network during times of war.
Today (to the great benefit of those lacking any sense of direction) clear markers indicate the trail’s start and end points. The most famous and stunning section of the Path runs from Nocelle, (a quiet village nestled in the hills above hectic Positano) past dense lemon groves, vertical cliffs, old farm houses and stone walls to Bomerano.
This famed route zig-zags up and down the mountain pass and includes dizzying views of the Amalfi coast west, past the Sorrento peninsula, the sparkling Bay of Naples and the island of Capri. The Siren Islands (another mythological reference) can also be seen on your journey. There are abandoned villas to explore and a refreshing natural spring near the mid way point. You’ll deserve a break if you complete this hike during the summer months.
Starting in Bomerano and ending in Nocelle: the best, locally made lemon ice can be found the moment you enter the village. Look for Julio’s terrace cafe! If you’re in the mood for more sustenance, keep walking straight through Nocelle to La Tagliata restaurant. You can sit awhile and eat while overlooking the sparkling sea.
Starting in Nocelle and ending in Bomerano: (a slightly more difficult route) take a quick bus ride down to the heart of Amalfi. You can go for a swim in the sea or tour historic Saint Andrew’s Cathedral. VITAL INFORMATION: Stop by Pansa Bakery for a "Coda di Aragosta con Crema Chantilly" - it will be the first time you've eaten Italian pastry, promise.
The ferry system in southern Italy and all along the Amalfi coast are efficient and affordable but most importantly, they offer incredible views of the shore line and towering cliffs. Taking the ferry from Amalfi to Positano is a wonderful experience. You’ll travel past the Siren Islands, old lookout towers and fortresses to eventually port in Positano.
Here's a helpful map showing the complete trail starting at sea level in Positano and ending in Bomerano...a true ankle buster!