Hiking High Above the Sea Along the Path of the Gods
Place of departure: Praiano Place of arrival: Nocelle (Positano) Walking time: less than 3 hours Distance: about 3.5 miles Degree of difficulty: Mostly easy (the only more difficult part is between the convent and the Sentiero)
The famous Sentiero degli Dei, "Path of the gods", is a breathtaking mountain path over the sea that takes you from the town of Praiano to Positano in about 3 hours.
From Praiano, take the steps of Via degli Ulivi (in front of the Re-Jewel Shop, at the beginning of town, coming from Positano). Once you reach the top, turn left on Via Croce instead of continuing on the right. After about 100 yards, take the road up on the right. After about 1,500 steps and 1/2 hour climb you will reach the wonderful old Dominican monastery of Santa Maria a Castro.
You can visit the church and then from there continue going up following the signs for Il Sentiero degli Dei.
The piece of the walk up to the Sentiero is steep and somewhat difficult, but once you reach the Sentiero the path becomes pretty easy.
Follow the signs for Positano and in less than 2 hours you will get to the small town of Nocelle.
Once you arrive in the town of Nocelle you can either take the bus to Positano or walk down, first to town of Montepertuso and then Positano.
A somewhat less breath-taking but still beautiful walk in the opposite direction will take you to Bomerano/Agerola. For that, take Via Umberto I uphill, pass the statue of Padre Pio going uphill on the right. After a couple hundred yards, on your left, next to some houses, you will see steps going up with a wooden sign indicating the Sentiero degli Dei and its destination (such as Colle Serra) with the time it takes to get there (it usually takes less time). Take the steps and keep going up until you will have to turn left. Keep going from there.
ARTICLES ON THE SENTIERO DEGLI DEI
The Guardian (London) May 4, 2002 Travel: Italy: Stairway to heaven: Stephen Cook follows the Path of the Gods high above the Amalfi coast By Stephen CookThe Footpath of the Gods: it's the sort of name that makes you smile at first. Ah, these Italians - so over the top, so full of hyperbole! But when you're actually up there on the narrow stone ledge, surrounded by infinite sky with the sea a thousand feet below, you begin to see what they mean.In a sunny silence broken only by the wind and the croak of ravens, the notion of Jupiter descending from the heavens or Neptune breaking out of the distant waves becomes less far-fetched. And it helps when you forget the clunking translation and say it in Italian: Il Sentiero degli Dei. Some of the climbs are quite strenuous, but much of the walking is moderate and offers dramatic and sometimes vertiginous views... You start at sea level in Praiano and head steeply uphill, first up stone stairways among terraced village gardens, and then up the Via San Domenico - 800ft of climb past 15 stations of the cross. Behind one is a grotto with a nativity scene…Just above the church, the Sentiero began its spectacular contouring of the coast…Link to the full text
The New York Times October 14, 2001 Sunday Treading Footpaths Fit for Gods By Anna Bahney The Path of the Gods is a formidable name for a hiking trail, even in the picture-postcard landscape along the Amalfi Coast of Italy. But standing on a promontory of the pathway, the Sentiero degli Dei, on the lip of a sheer cliff that dropped a half-mile to the sea, I saw no reason to dispute the name. Peering down through the clouds, I saw the doilylike village of Positano and tiny villas below, ensconced in terraced orange groves. A shaft of sunlight beamed down on sky and water fused so that the horizon was invisible. If Apollo had appeared in his chariot, I wouldn't have batted an eye. Even my friend Yuri, a native of Naples who had joined me on a five-day trip to the Amalfi Coast in February, was stunned by the vista… Maneuvering almost invisibly between the ancient and contemporary faces of the coast is a web of rugged, well-worn footpaths. Carved out by Greek settlers in the eighth century B.C. and later used by those living in secluded monasteries, these paths can lead the visitor from luxury-laden towns along the ancient granite cliffs and back toward a grand trattoria meal. Link to full text
Sunday Times (London) March 21, 2004, Sunday Walking with Jupiter By Tony Perrottet … The most illustrious hike was Il Sentiero degli Dei, the Trail of the Gods. It had been wandered by pilgrims and shepherds since darkest antiquity…Next morning, I staggered a little groggily onto my sun-drenched balcony to find a dome of perfect blue. Jupiter, the king of the Roman gods and lord of nature, was obviously giving me two thumbs up…This was it, I gloated -a chunk of Italy unbound. Ahead, the coast looked as if it been carved into sheer folds by a cyclopean knife; in the other direction, three titanic columns of stone protruded from the sea by the island of Capri (where, it was said, the Sirens lured sailors to their deaths)…
The carved steps of the Sentiero clung precariously to each precipice, worn smooth by use. Stones bore the shadows of ancient carvings, hinting at long-forgotten altars. Eerie silence reigned. It was high summer in the Med, but you'd see more traffic on the Inca Trail in Peru.Link to the full text
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