Trekking on the Amalfi Coast: from Maiori to the Avvocata Sanctuary
Place of Departure: Maiori
Place of Arrival: Avvocata Mountain
Walking time: 2 1/2 hours approx
Degree of difficulty: moderate
The walk starts from Via Casale Alto in Maiori and takes you to S.Vito along an easy route made of steps and dirt path.
After about half an hour you reach the ruins of the old farmhouse of Santa Maria and a little further a spring called "Acqua del Castagno" (Chestnut Tree Water).
The path continues along flat stretches with slightly more difficult segments and takes you to the extensive plateau on which the church and hermitage of the Avvocata Mountain stand.
This is probably the most famous mountain on the Amalfitan Coast and the most popular. Also known as Falerzio or Falesio, the Avvocata rises up to 1014 mt.
The walled sanctuary, convent and caretaker's house are further down.
Legend has it that the Avvocata Sanctuary was founded in 1485 by a shepherd who build an altar in the grotto (nowadays accessible by steps away from the plateau) in which he had a vision of the Virgin Mary while sleeping.
The route that takes you to the Belvedere is particularly delightful.
The Belvedere is a perfect balcony over the Bay of Salerno.
On the edge of a deep ravine there is a plaque in memory of the mountaineer De Simone Niquesa who fell to his death on the rock below in 1921.
Along the narrow path you can see the Matteo Salese Grotto. Legend has it that Salese was a local bandit who threw himself down the Grotto to escape the policemen who were after him.
Beside its the fabulous views, the Avvocata is a very interesting place for its nature, made up of holm-oak groves and Mediterranean scrub on the exposed areas and mixed wood in the more humid areas.