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Rifugio San Michele > Colli Fontanelle

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A stage of medium length and mostly downhill, offering spectacular views of the Amalfi Coast, from Positano to the Li Galli Islands, where Odysseus was enchanted by the Sirens.

Special Notes

A stage to avoid in the height of summer.

Several sections of the trail from the summit of Monte Comune onwards, are overgrown with vegetation and the signposting is rather patchy: it is good to follow the GPS track.

The only water point is in Santa Maria di Castello: take a good supply with you.

when to go
Tutto l'anno
Suitable for
how to get there
description of the route

From the San Michele refuge we return to the Passo delle Scorchie, from which we came from the previous stage, and from there we take the agile path through the woods that leads past the Acqua Santa spring (excellent!) goes uphill (about 200 m height difference) towards the western shoulder of Monte Molare (1,444 m), whose summit can be reached with a diversion of about 15 minutes (at dawn it is spectacular!). From the ridge, passing a beautiful natural hole in the rock, continue up and down to Croce della Conocchia (1,387 m); then we start the long descent (about 700 m drop) over rocky steps, surrounded by sensational walls and a fantastic panorama. Just above a forestry barracks, we turn right and proceed along a wide path on sloping terrain until we reach the hamlet of Santa Maria del Castello (where there is a drinking fountain towards the sanctuary).

We leave the small village, return to the path and shortly afterwards begin the climb (about 200 m height difference) towards Monte Comune; the gradient gradually increases, but we are distracted by the beautiful view of Positano. At the top (877 m), the unusual sight of a cow pasture with hay bales awaits us, which is really unexpected. Below us, in the sea, we see the Li Galli Islands, where Odysseus (tied to the mast) heard the Sirens singing.

So we start a new descent (about 300 m drop) and in this section the conditions of the path become more complicated due to the invasive vegetation (mainly brambles and ferns); after reaching a wide saddle, we continue along the edge of the cliff, facing a short but intense climb (about 100 m height difference) to the southern shoulder of Monte Vico Alvano. From there, it is an easy descent on a path towards Colli San Pietro, which we reach by passing through the grounds of a hotel; we reach the main road, follow it for about 1 km, then leave it and take a side road; after a final up and down, we reach the hamlet of Colli di Fontanelle.

What to know

In front of the promontory of Colli di Fontanelle, after which the hamlet of Sant'Agnello is named, the Li Galli Islands rise out of the sea. The archipelago consists of three small islands: Gallo Lungo, La Rotonda and Briganti.

These islands have been identified as the place where Odysseus met the Sirens. The famous episode in the Odyssey that forced the Homeric hero to tie himself to the ship's mast so that he could hear the gentle sound of the Sirens' voices is set here because it is a difficult stretch of sea where the currents drive the boats towards the rocks where many ships have sunk. The name "Li Galli" is said to go back to the Greek myth that the Sirens were not half woman and half fish, but half woman and half bird. Recent studies suggest that the myth was inspired by the nightly call of shearwaters, seabirds that nest on the cliffs.

Inhabited since Roman times, it was not until the 20th century that the small archipelago became a well-known and famous tourist destination and many famous people have stayed here, including the Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev. Le Corbusier built a villa on the archipelago.

What to see

At the beginning of the stage, a detour to Monte Molare is a must. This is one of the three peaks of the Sant'Angelo ai Tre Pizzi, which at 1,444 m is the highest mountain in the range.

In addition to the spectacular view, here you can see the remains of the first nucleus built in honour of the Archangel Michael.

In Colli di Fontanelli is the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, a splendid example of the Baroque style, recently renovated.

In the municipality of Sant'Agnello, towards the Gulf of Naples, lies the Gulf of Pecoriello: a small bay of extraordinary beauty. Although today it is a tourist destination for visitors from all over the world, it was once the locus amoenus of a shepherd and his flock - hence the name.

what to eat

Sorrento cuisine is characterised by a sweet and sour taste, and fruits play an important role in many recipes, but the most emblematic is aubergine with chocolate.

Mulignana c'a' ciucculata, as it is called locally, is fried and then coated with a mixture of sugar and cocoa powder. Separately, a chocolate sauce with Concerto liqueur is prepared to spread on the fried aubergines, and the whole is topped with dried fruit and candied fruit. The dish is typical for summer, especially for Ferragosto Day.

where to sleep

Agriturismo Piccolo Paradiso, in Colle di Fontanelle. Tel. +39081 808 3869

B&B Villa Irma, in Colle di Fontanelle. Tel. +39081 807 2842

B&B Villa Costanza, in Colle di Fontanelle. Tel. +39333 270 4455

How to Reach

Starting point reachable by car.

Starting point NOT reachable by bus.

The nearest location that can be reached by bus is Pimonte, starting from the city of Naples.

Here is the LINK to check the timetables.

Starting point NOT reachable by train.

"A thousand metres below us, bathing beaches teem and hundreds of yachts crowd around the bays of the Amalfi Coast"

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