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Bay of Ieranto, the Temple of the Sirens

In the heart of the province of Salerno, along the Amalfi coast lies the Bay of Ieranto. This area is a real natural area to be explored and enjoyed for the great beauty that the area offers.
The natural area of ​​the Bay of Ieranto is located in the Gulf of Salerno and precisely belongs to the municipality of Massa Lubrense (metropolitan city of Naples), right near Punta Campanella, the far end of the Amalfi and Sorrento coast.
This area is part of a protected marine area and is managed by the FAI, the Italian Environmental Fund. Its surface extends for about 63 hectares of which 47 are managed by FAI.

History of the Nature Area of ​​the Bay of Ieranto

From the beginning we can remember that this area has always been rich in references. From the historical finds unearthed we can well remember that the Greeks in this area raised the temple of Athena and subsequently the Romans dedicated the temple to Minerva.
These testimonies can be found through the Oscan inscription, which was engraved on the rock of the eastern landing (discovered in 1985) and on other historical finds dating back to the Roman imperial period.
It is precisely here that Homer places the mermaids who chained Ulysses during his return journey home to Ithaca, and here derives the name of the temple of the sirens.

Events linked to piracy link the history of the places to the presence of the coastal towers whose construction was started in the viceregal era (1516-1707). The Bay of Ieranto is in fact between the Tower of Montalto to the east and that of the Campanella Tower on the opposite side.

The extraction of limestone, which began in the early twentieth century, has left important marks on the territory, contributing to human integration into the environment, given by the installation in the area of ​​Sardinian miners engaged in the quarry. The Ieranto quarry, which passed to Ilva in 1918, was renovated in 1925 to definitively cease its activity in 1952. In 1986, Ilva, the last owner, donated the entire area to FAI – Fondo Ambiente Italiano for a total of 47 hectares.

In 2002, FAI opened the Bay to the public, a veritable open-air museum which includes a 2nd-century Roman villa brought to light by the Archaeological Superintendency of Naples and Caserta and the restored and consolidated tower of Montalto.

Along the path that leads from Nerano to the Bay, it is possible to come across the Casa Silentium, called Villa Rosa, a refuge for the writer George Norman Douglas where, at the beginning of the 1900s, the writing of the book Siren Land (La terra delle Sirene) began.

There are those who believe that the term “Ieranto” does not derive from the Greek “ierax”, which indicates the falcon that still nests in the area, but from “ieros” which means sacred, to indicate precisely the Bay as the seat of the temple of the Sirens. A land of charm, natural, historical and environmental, unique as only Campania can be.

The territory of the natural area of ​​the Bay of Ieranto

The territory of this natural area is located in the southern part of the Sorrento peninsula. It is divided into two areas through the Punta di Capitello having consequently the Baia Grande and the Baia Piccola.
These two areas offer natural spectacles at landscape level: the Baia Grande is the rocky and steep one that closes with Punta Campanella, and the Baia Piccola is of the promontory with the most sloping slopes, which extends from the top of Montalto, to end towards the open sea to the south west with Punta Penna. The agricultural landscape is instead characterized by the ancient cultivation of the olive tree: the trees are arranged on terraces supported by dry limestone walls completely rebuilt in the restoration.

Flora and fauna of the area

In the territory of this natural area, analyzing the aspect of the fauna we can see that it offers a great variety of migratory birds.
With the weather conditions that it faces during the year, the landscape frequently finds itself the figure of the herring gull. In addition to this type of animal we find the solitary sparrow, the kestrel and the pilgrim.
The pilgrim is an animal that reproduces precisely with the arrival of the quail in the area. Furthermore, it is not difficult to be able to admire the figure of the goldfinch and battlements in the sky. In particular, if we analyzed the winter period, as well as in the mid-seasons of autumn and spring, we can see the presence of robins and flukes.
All this makes the natural environment offered by the Bay more magical.
Furthermore, this area also allows for spontaneous flora. The type of vegetation that arises in this area is mainly formed by evergreen shrubs. The latter characterize the whole area of ​​the coast. However, a particularity of the natural area is constituted by the presence of specimens of agave. This characteristic of the flora allows to offer the natural area an excellent base scenario.

The excursion to the Bay of Ieranto

To get to the Bay of Ieranto there is a path that starts from Nerano. Currently, thanks also to the developments relating to transport, it is possible to reach this area of ​​Nerano by bus from Sorrento.
Obviously this area can also be reached via a scooter or a car, even being able to park with peace of mind and carefree.

The final part of the path that leads to this area includes the so-called miners’ ladder. It takes its name thanks to the miners who lived in this area in 1900 and extracted lime.

Inside the protected marine area of ​​the Bay of Ieranto it is possible to reach the beach of Ieranto. This beach is considered one of the most beautiful and offers people a view of Punta Campanella and the Faraglioni of the island of Capri.
The path that leads to this area also allows you to admire the square and continuing with the walk you can admire the coast characterized by the presence of the Li Galli islands.

To conclude we can say that in addition to offering excellent landscapes with natural beauty, it presents those who visit it to be able to also expand knowledge from the point of view of culture

FAI – Fondo Ambientale Italiano https://www.fondoambiente.it/luoghi/baia-di-ieranto

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