Trekking on the Amalfi Coast: Punta Campanella 2
Place of departure: piazza Santa Croce, Termini
Place of arrival: piazza Santa Croce, Termini
Walking time: about 2 hours
Distance: about 2.5 miles
Degree of difficulty: easy
The itinerary starts at Piazza Santa Croce, in Termini, a small town between Sorrento and Positano, at the edge of the Amalfi Coast.
Take via Campanella and, after about 100 yards continue along via del Monte, taking a path (indicated as CAI 374 on the map) that, crossing the paved road, leads to the top of Mount San Costanzo.
From the top of the mountain (about 1.500 feet) you can see the entire landscape, which includes the Gulf of Naples and Salerno, the islets of Li Galli and that of Vetara.
Cross the top passing through a pine forest. At this point, on the left, is the Bay of Jeranto.
From the top you can clearly see the well-preserved tower of Mont’Alto and Capri, set picturesquely as if times has stood still.
Continuing the journey through an area called Pezzalonga, after about 40 minutes, you reach the tower of Punta Campanella (fourteenth century), built on the site of an ancient temple dedicated to Athena-Minerva, the Roman goddess of war, also patron of craftsmen.
Near the tower, steps lead to the cave of the Sirens, a grotto in which the reverberation of the waves of the sea, along with suffused reflections that filter through three adjacent openings, adds to the mystical aura of the area.
Along this path to the sea, carved on the rock wall, is an ancient inscription in the Oscan language dating back to the second century BC. Discovered in 1985, it mentions the names of three Meddices Minervii (Magistrates of Minerva) that ordered the construction work of the harbor of the ancient temple of Minerva.
The legend says that the temple was dedicated to the sirens, as they waited in those waters for the passage of ships. Strong currents and high waves do hit the area of Punta Campanella even in the summer, and caused a number of shipwrecks. It is perhaps for this reason that the legend identifies this part of the sea as a meeting point for Sirens, waiting for sailors who had fallen overboard. Over the centuries the temples, watch towers and villas have dotted the promontory.
Near the tower there is an ancient staircase that leads to the cave of the Sirens. It takes about an hour, along the ancient via Minerva (still partially paved with large Roman stones), to return to piazza Santa Croce.