The Amalfi Coast : an exceptional heritage, between history, nature and tradition
The Amalfi Coast extends for 50 kilometers on the southern side of the Sorrento Peninsula and contains 14 municipalities to be discovered.
The splendid beaches, the flourishing vegetation and the characteristic small villages, suspended between land and sea, make this area truly special and have ensured that the Coast has been counted among the recognized Italian sites UNESCO ‘World Heritage Site’ .
The wonderful and renowned seaside resorts, such as Amalfi and Positano , Ravello and Conca dei Marini , are very popular during the summer season and attract many Italian and foreign visitors every year. Tourists from all over the world reach the region, eager to enter the picturesque alleys of the villages overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, experience the traditions of this land and dive into the turquoise waters that embrace it.
The Amalfi Coast is this and much more. . If you are a nature lover, it will prove to be a magical place for you. Letting yourself be inebriated by the scent of orange blossoms and lemons, along one of the paths that overlook the coast, will be a unique way to get in touch with the most authentic personality of the place, its history and its heritage.
Il Sentiero dei Limoni , still little known by the large public of admirers of the region, is certainly one of its most evocative routes and will not fail to surprise you.
The Path of Lemons: the timeless story of a road between land and sea
The Path of the Lemons is one of the most fascinating paths on the coast. The route connects the municipalities of Maiori and Minori, passing through the picturesque village of Torre and reaching the splendid Ravello .
Many of the views that you can admire along the way have been portrayed by the director Roberto Rossellini in his masterpieces: films ‘The Miracle’ , ‘L’ love ‘ , ‘Paisà’ and ‘Trip to Italy’ were gira you right here, in the villages of Maiori and Minori, in the 1940s.
Before the construction of the SS 163 Amalfitana, the panoramic road built in the Bourbon period to connect the municipalities of the area, this tortuous and suggestive route constituted the the only way to move between them, if not by sea.
The walk will allow you to breathe the truest spirit of this land, rich in history and traditions, which have their roots in past centuries.
The cultivation of lemons , thanks to the extremely favorable climate of the region, was imported here by the Arabs as early as the 11th century, has spread since the Middle Ages and is still an integral part of the identity of the Amalfi Coast.
The characteristic ‘sfusato amalfitano’ , the fragrant variety of local lemon, is exported all over the world and, even today, agricultural operators take care of it, respecting scrupulously to the prescriptions foreseen by the technic he traditional: the plants, well spaced from each other, grow on ‘macerine’ , the typical terraces of the place, under special structures made with chestnut wood poles.
If you set out at the most suitable time of year, from late spring to late summer, you will be able to see with your own eyes what precious and hard work harvesting requires. The baskets with ripe fruits have been carried on their heads for centuries by the women of the area, called ‘formichelle’ , and, still today, farmers carry them on their shoulders , or on the back of a mule. The cultivation of lemons has helped to shape, over time, the landscape of this corner of paradise. The terraces were created to house the plants and the path was created precisely to allow the many workers involved in the production to easily skirt the fields and move the harvest.
The itinerary: between ancient villages and expanses of lemons
The Path of the Lemons can be traveled in both directions, starting from Maiori with destination Minori and vice versa. The itinerary we propose has as its starting point Maiori and more precisely the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria a Mare . The basilica owes its name to the presence of a wooden sculpture, which is said to have been thrown into the sea to lighten the load of a boat, at the beginning of the 13th century, only to be fortunately found intact on the shore. Of ancient construction, the complex has undergone numerous alterations over the centuries. Its dome is undoubtedly noteworthy, entirely covered with colored majolica tiles, typical of the devotional art of the area.
After admiring the church, leave it behind and, taking the nearby staircase of Via Vena , taken out of the town of Maiori. Following the gentle ascent of the path, immerse yourself in the lush vegetation, all around you. Among olive trees and vines, lemon trees and small isolated buildings, you will soon find yourself in a valley, from which you can enjoy a truly suggestive glimpse of the terraces.
Continuing the journey, you will reach the characteristic Torre Village . The village, part of the municipality of Minori, probably owes its name to a fortification, of which no trace remains today. The Church of San Michele Arcangelo defines the center of this pretty rural settlement and represents one of the many jewels of the Coast. Its current sober and linear appearance is the result of numerous interventions that have taken place over the centuries. The origin of the structure, however, is very ancient and is believed to date back to before the 10th century. The viewpoint of the ‘mortella’ , which is believed to owe its name to the presence of some myrtle plants, is a panoramic site not to be missed: the terrace allows you to see Ravello, Amalfi and Atrani, giving a exceptional observation point on the coast.
Continuing the climb, you will reach, after about an hour’s walk, the Convent of St. Nicholas . Skirting the building, on its left side, a small hill allows you to fully enjoy the view and to see, in the distance, Capo d’Orso and the Gulf of Salerno, up to the Cilento coast.
From here, the path begins to degrade and descends gently, until it reaches Ravello, its famous terrace overlooking the sea and the majestic Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone , with their refined gardens, from which it is possible to enjoy breathtaking views over the crystalline waters of the Amalfi Coast.
After passing the town, climbing along the Sentiero dei Limoni and its steps, you will finally arrive at the pleasant village of Minori, the final stage of the itinerary. Here you can admire the Villa Marittima , a Roman monumental complex of the Julio-Claudian period, dating back to the 1st century AD. Its stuccos and the remains of the frescoes in some of its rooms are remarkable and, inside the ‘antiquarium’, there are collections of Roman remains found in the surrounding area.
The Basilica of Santa Trofimena Martire , in the heart of the town, houses the relics of the Saint, dating back to the Middle Ages.
The characteristics of the route: length, slope and degree of difficulty
The Sentiero dei Limoni winds for a total of 9km and, starting from the municipality of Maiori, reaches that of Minori, following the mountainous coast and passing through Ravello.
The journey takes, as a whole, about five hours to walk on foot, proceeding without haste and allowing yourself a few stops to contemplate the landscape. If it is your intention to dedicate a whole day to the excursion, certainly worthwhile, you can stop along the way for a pleasant lunch at one of the many local trattorias you will meet along the way. It will be an opportunity to dedicate yourself a moment of relaxation, getting to know the local products and tasting the specialties of the Amalfi and Campania gastronomy.
The difference in height that you will find yourself covering is not demanding (about 410m in total), even if there are several stairways to go up and down.
The path is in any case easy and not particularly tiring, so it will be perfectly practicable, even if you are not a great trekking enthusiast and you are not particularly trained. The walk, almost entirely paved, is suitable for everyone. It can be tackled at any time of the year, even if it gives its best in the summer season, and represents an excellent opportunity to discover the territory of the Coast, breathing in the timeless charm of this land and its treasures, yet to be discovered.