A stage of good length, with many ups and downs and passages that are sometimes not very easy. It is of exceptional beauty and takes us to Punta Campanella, the end of the Sorrentine Peninsula, with a view of Capri.
This stage should be avoided in the middle summer months.
Although this stage is not particularly difficult from a technical point of view, it requires good physical preparation, a sense of direction and experience in difficult terrain.
Several sections of the route are infested with invasive vegetation and it is necessary to pay attention to both the GPS track and where you put your feet (always try to stay on the top part of the path, so as not to slip down due to the not always very firm ground): in particular, the descent after Torca and the following traverse, as well as the climb to Monte San Costanzo from Nerano, are particularly worth mentioning.
The descent to Recommone Bay (the first access to the sea that day) requires passing through a private restaurant: therefore, make sure that the restaurant is open, otherwise you will not be able to pass it (there are currently no other paths for the descent).
The climb from Nerano to Monte San Costanzo is quite steep; the subsequent descent to Punta Campanella is over rocky and uneven terrain and is not very easy: be careful.
The only water points are in Torca and Nerano.
We leave Colli di Campanelle on a slightly ascending asphalt road and then take the path near a hairpin bend and begin the long traverse with a view of the sea. Shortly after, there is a descent (about 150 m drop), that is a little steep, then we continue uphill and downhill (with a view of the Li Galli islands) until we reach the village of Torca, where there is a drinking fountain in the small square.
After leaving the houses, we soon return to the path and have a new descent (about 100 m drop) ahead of us, crossing some private properties; in this section the path is often overgrown (and therefore not always easy to see) and we have to make our way through ferns and brambles. We ignore the diversions towards the Crapolla fjord (unless we want to take a dip in the lovely water, but it's 700 steps down and then up again) and continue halfway up the hill through a beautiful pine forest, with a view of the Scoglio Isca, which once belonged to Eduardo De Filippo. We slowly descend (about 200 m drop), passing some abandoned houses, until we arrive at Recommone Bay, which we reach by passing through a restaurant (this is currently the only viable route), which must therefore be open - make sure.
After crossing the small pebbly bay, we take the beautiful coastal path that leads to Marina di Nerano; from that beach, we quickly climb uphill on secondary roads (about 150 m height difference) until we reach the village of Nerano, where we take a break in anticipation of the next effort. From the village we take the path towards the bay of Ieranto, only to part from it shortly afterwards and take the stairs (not very visible) on the right: this is how we start the second part of the climb (about 250 m height difference, the real challenge of the day) towards the western saddle of Monte San Costanzo. After a first part in the woods, which is very steep, we come out into the open: the track is often overgrown with vegetation and sometimes we cannot see where we are putting our feet (so it is good to keep to the upstream side of the path).
When we finally reach the ridge, instead of aiming for the summit, we briefly return to the woods and continue on the plain, passing alongside the asphalted road; shortly afterwards, back in the open, we start the descent (about 400 m drop) towards Punta Campanella. The path, which is always clear, is made difficult by the stony ground, so caution is advised. At the end of the descent, we reach a small paved road and linger for a moment at the old watchtower of Punta Campanella (probably built on the remains of an ancient Greek-Roman temple), from which we have an incredible view of Capri: we are at the end of the Sorrento peninsula.
We retrace our steps and walk up the paved road (about 300 m height difference) until we reach the village of Termini.
Termini is a hamlet of Massa Lubrense, a municipality at the far end of the Sorrentine peninsula, which looks out only to the sea and the island of Capri.
The point where the two stretches of coast meet is called Punta Campanella and its name comes from the theft of the bell of the church of Sant'Antonino: the pirates who stole it were hit by a storm just in front of the promontory, on 14th February (Sant'Antonino's day) and sunk. Since then, it is said, you can hear the sound of the bell rising from the bottom of the sea on this day.
The western tip of the peninsula was known as Promontorium Minervae in Roman times: numerous remains have been found indicating a Roman settlement. According to literary sources and more recent findings, there was also a temple there dedicated to Minerva, built on an earlier Greek temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. In 1334, an alarm tower was built at the behest of Robert of Anjou; the tower, now called the Minerva Tower, was equipped with a bell to warn of pirate attacks - a less imaginative version of the origin of the name.
In front of the fjord of Crapolla is the island of Isca, which became famous as the place where Eduardo de Filippo used to retire between one tour and another. The remains of a large Roman villa and numerous caves have been found on the island, one of which is the mooring for the villa built in the 20th century for the Neapolitan playwright.
The 20th century for the Neapolitan playwright. The actor not only found peace here, but also the last love of his life, Isabella Quarantotti, who recognised the actor on a boat near the island and met him for the first time. Eduardo wrote many works in this corner of paradise, in particular the Neapolitan translation of Shakespeare's Tempest.
In the house, which no longer belongs to the actor's family, a book of recipes prepared with products from the island was also found: the lentisk, myrtle, caper plant, olive tree, prickly pear, tomatoes and citrus fruits.
Among the magnificent beaches of the peninsula, the Baia di Ieranto is one of the most beautiful and offers a unique view of the Faraglioni of Capri.
According to Plinio il Vecchio, the marvellous inlet was the place where Odysseus met the Sirens. Today, the bay is part of the Punta Campanella Marine Protected Area, which is characterised by the limestone cliffs that drop into the sea. The Bay of Ieranto is located just below the Montalto Tower, which is part of the system of towers protecting against dangers from the sea. The bay is a natural place that has preserved its integrity despite various human interventions: the extraction tools of an old quarry and the terracing with olive trees are still clearly visible.
The area, mostly owned by the FAI, is characterised by a farmhouse, a symbol of rural architecture, and the Casa Silentium, where the writer and traveller Norman Douglas sought inspiration for his works.
The area's most famous dish is Spaghetti alla Nerano, invented in the 1950s in Nerano, a hamlet of Massa Lubrense.
The recipe calls for spaghetti with fried courgettes, fresh basil and Provolone del Monaco, the peninsula's most famous cheese, a special type of caciocavallo protected by DOP: made from the milk of Agerola cows and owes its name to the shepherds who came to Naples wrapped in heavy cloaks and hooded to sell their cheese, so that they looked like monks on a pilgrimage.
You cannot leave the peninsula without tasting the lemon granita (in Nerano, at the Cioffi bar, it is enhanced with a drop of limoncello).
The lemon is the symbol of this area, where many inhabitants were ship owners and traded in citrus fruits (the houses in the centre were large to store them all year round). The morphological diversity created by the Lattari (the Amalfi coast descends to the sea with large steep walls while the Sorrento coast is gentler) is clearly reflected in the lemons: the Sfusato Amalfitano lemon, grown on terraces, enjoys a particularly favourable climate thanks to its southern exposure and the Lattari mountains, which protect it from the cold north winds. The Sorrento femminiello, on the other hand, is grown in extensive gardens covered with “pagliarelle” - mats used to protect the plants from the cold and bad weather. This difference in climate and production leads to two very different lemon varieties.
Hotel Piccolo Paradiso, in Massa Lubrense (it is possible to reach the resort by shuttle bus). Tel. +39081 8789240
There are numerous room rentals in Termini.
Starting point reachable by car.
Starting point reachable by bus, starting from the city of Salerno.
Here is the LINK to check the timetables.
Starting point NOT reachable by train.
Va' Sentiero is a grassroot project, thanks to the spontaneous contribution oft housands of people.
Even the most complicated dream, a 7,000km uphill dream,
can be achieved... together.