This month, I had the opportunity to visit friends at CAI-Pisa to discuss the exchange for next year. After, the meeting I made a trip the to the Amalfi Coast. This peninsula is remarkable for the rugged cliffs that plunge into the Gulf of Salerno and the notable towns of Sorrento, Positano, and Amalfi that cling to wooded slopes. The last town–along with Pisa, Genoa, and Venice–is one of the four historical maritime republics. In 2004, CAI-PNW organized a hiking trip to the area. There is a website maintained by CAI sections of Cava de’Tirreni and Castellamare di Stabia and the Consorzio Turistico Amalfi di Qualità that hosts descriptions of the hikes in the region. CAI trail 325 through the Valle delle Ferriere is described on their website. (Trail description is excellent. A cool feature is dynamic mapping of location on the trail: Click on the trail profile line and see its location of the contour map.) See the website for a detailed description of the trail. The trail is fairly short—3.2km and rises 335m for an average grade 10.5%. With all the stairs —did I mention stairs?—it’s a good workout. With most of the town impassable to cars, goods and groceries are packed up the hills by the residents—in fact, donkeys are still in use. It’s like Venice where goods are taken off boats and carried by the residents to home.
I mention this as an ‘urban hike’ as it starts quayside and meanders through the main street of Amalfi until the end of the road at the Paper Museum. (The valley contains ruins of several paper works that were powered by the stream. The last closed at the end 19th century.) The trail then transitions to well-maintained paved footpaths and stairs—many, many, stairs—and then to tree-shaded paths through the woods. The trail follows the Canneto stream along which, were paper and iron works. About halfway, is the Azienda Agricola Fore Porta. This is a great stop for lunch on the way back (reservation recommended.) This would be the place that Francesco would have recommended: Good food from the gardens, simple wine from their vineyards, and nice terrace with a view down the valley. After walking by ruins of paper mills and an iron foundry, and several attractive waterfalls, you arrive at the end of the trail at the The “Riserva Naturale Orientata”, where you can still find a fern (Woodwardia radicans) that dates back to the pre-glacial era. You need to book on-line for access to the Riserva. (Click for more photos.)