The Crapolla Fjord is among the hidden pearls of the Amalfi Coast . Here, an extraordinary adventure awaits explorers, along part of the path of the Alta Via dei Monti Lattari which connects the village of Torca , a hamlet of Massa Lubrense , to the beach of Reccomone and a challenging but unforgettable staircase that leads down to the fjord.
This excursion is perfect not only for trekking lovers but for anyone who wishes to discover a pristine beach overlooking Punta Campanella . Access to this wonder is incredibly simple, which explains why many tourists from Positano or Massa Lubrense choose to spend an afternoon here.
Just ask any local person who will be able to tell you how to get to Fiordo di Crapolla.
What to see at the Crapolla Fjord: A Hidden Gem on the Amalfi Coast
The Crapolla Fjord , although less well known, stands as a secret gem of the Amalfi Coast. This enchanting natural inlet is located between Reccomone beach and Punta Taschiero and is an integral part of the Punta Campanella Marine Protected Area Nature Reserve . Here, it is possible to immerse yourself in suggestive walks in an uncontaminated environment that harmoniously blends history and nature.
Short trek and which path to follow
If you wish to explore the Crapolla Fjord, access is surprisingly simple if you choose to start your adventure from the characteristic village of Torca , located in the hamlet of Massa Lubrense . Here’s how to get there:
- By Car : Take the Castellamare di Stabia motorway exit and follow the signs for Sorrento. Once you have passed Positano, follow the signs for Sant’Agata sui Due Golfi and then for the Torca hamlet.
- By Bus : If you prefer public transport, you can reach Torca by bus from Sorrento, Positano, Agerola, Bomerano, Massa Lubrense and La Zagara. This area is well served by public transport. For Sita Sud you need to take buses 5070 and 5071.
- By Train and Bus : You can take the train to Sorrento and, from there, continue by bus.
Once in Torca, park your car near the Church of San Tommaso Apostolo in the square of the same name. From here, your walk will begin. You need to follow the CAI 300 path , better known by the name Alta Via dei Monti Lattari , and the CAI 344 link road , which leads from the church through the charming alleys of the town, until you reach a dirt path of about one kilometer which will lead you directly to the Crapolla fjord. This part of the route is relatively simple and easy. However, keep in mind that the return will be slightly more challenging, as it will be uphill.
The mule track
The first part of the walk takes the route of an ancient mule track. Here it is possible to walk among the characteristic plants of the Mediterranean scrub until you reach the La Guardia natural viewpoint in front of the islet of Isca .
In this stretch the vegetation runs alongside a small river, the Rivo Iarito , which is crossed thanks to a small bridge above it. Turning around, right in front, there are the three islets Li Galli, Vetara and Isca .
If the day is particularly serene and clear it is possible to admire the entire Gulf of Salerno and the magic of Positano.
Immediately after the La Guardia viewpoint you need to leave the 300 CAI which follows towards the Reccomone beach and start the staircase on the right on the 344 CAI link road .
What stands out now is a staircase made up of 700 steps that lead up to the Crapolla Fjord.
Every 50 steps there is a ceramic tile on the right side which allows you to maintain their progressive numbering; while walking along this staircase, you must not forget to look around because on the left side is the Chapel of St. Peter .
During the descent you can see on the other side of the fjord the ancient Saracen tower Torca , whose name is taken from the village, and above the Oasi Monte di Torca .
The chapel of San Pietro
It is a small, freely accessible building that was built using the stones with which, in the past, the Black Benedictine Monastery was built (in reality it seems that several monastic religious orders followed one another over time), also called St. Peter’s Abbey .
This place has a thousand-year history. The first building erected in this place was dedicated to the Roman God Apollo , and the name “Crapolla” derives from this ancient root . After its destruction, a Latin temple arose on its ruins. Finally, the Abbey of San Pietro was built on the ancient structure, of which today it is possible to admire the remains of some columns, marble bases and frescoes in the external space adjacent to the chapel.
On the other side of the complex stands a defensive tower, called Torca, built to protect against possible attacks by the Saracens, who had carried out raids to plunder the riches kept inside the religious buildings.
The chapel is dedicated to Saint Peter , since tradition has it that the apostle, while traveling towards Rome after leaving Palestine, stopped in Crapolla. In honor of this event, every year on June 29th (the feast of Saint Peter in the Catholic Church), the faithful organize a pilgrimage that leaves Torca at dawn. This procession passes through various hamlets along the route, gathering more and more devotees. After the religious celebration, the celebrations begin on the beach with music, dances and typical local products. These sacred and profane celebrations are a tribute to the Saint who has proven generous and benevolent with the local population over the centuries.
Finally arriving in Crapolla
At the end of the path, a breathtaking view reveals itself before your eyes: the Crapolla Fjord, an enchanting fissure in the rock that extends for just 160 meters inside the majestic cliff. This picturesque cove gradually opens up to a small but immaculate beach.
Just before reaching this enchanting beach, you can admire the remains of ancient Roman architecture. Among these, a Latin villa stands out, cisterns used to collect rainwater, presumably connected to a vast aqueduct, and the “monazeni”, shelters that fishermen in the past and today use to store their boats and maritime equipment. These finds testify to the importance of maritime exchanges that involved this small area.
The beach, unlike those typical of the area, is mainly covered with pebbles, not sand, and remains, for most of the day, in the shade, offering a pleasant refuge from the scorching sun. That’s why the Crapolla Fjord is a unique place that combines natural beauty with a fascinating history.
The Origins and History of Torca: A Journey Through Time
Torca, a picturesque town that is part of the city of Massa Lubrense, has its roots in an intriguing history that dates back to the 14th century. However, what makes Torca even more fascinating is the mystery surrounding its toponym.
A fascinating hypothesis suggests that the marina of Torca, also known as the Crapolla fjord, may have been the site of a famous Greek temple dedicated to Apollo from which the name of the fjord also derives. This theory, if confirmed, would shed light on the name “Torca”, deriving from “Theorica” Via . It is supposed that embassies from Greece undertook processions, called “ Theorie ”, along the “Theorica Via” from Sorrento to pay homage to the temple. This would indicate a deep connection between Torca and the Greek world.
Torca is undoubtedly a place of great historical interest. Even today, the remains of ancient Roman villas and columns dating back to the time of Augustus are visible.
Around the year 1100, the Abbey of San Pietro of extraordinary beauty and wealth was founded on the presumed remains of the temple of Apollo. This abbey was run by the Black Benedictine friars. However, as time passed and due to pirate raids which made the coasts unsafe, the fishermen who lived in the area were forced to move to the surrounding hills to ensure greater safety. The abbey itself was the subject of repeated looting, reducing it to a deplorable state already around 1500.
A tragic chapter in the history of Torca was the sacking of 13 June 1558 , during which pirates devastated much of the Sorrento peninsula. There were murders, violence and the kidnapping of 103 inhabitants of Torca, almost 40% of the population. Following this tragedy, the construction of the Torca defense tower was started for the protection of the community.
In the 17th century, tensions between Torca and Massa Lubrense, together with issues related to state lands, led to calls for separation. On 17 October 1625, Torca obtained limited autonomy. Another attempt at separation occurred in the 18th century, and appears to have effectively led to municipal autonomy, albeit a short-lived one.
From the end of the 18th century, with the advent of the French liberal principles in 1799, some families embraced liberal ideas and, frustrated by the Bourbon restoration, joined the Carbonari, preparing the uprisings of 1820 and 1848.
With the unification of Italy, Torca had to face an economic and social crisis, replacing the well-being of the past. Thus began the phenomenon of emigration, which continued in a fluctuating manner until the mid-20th century. The history of Torca is full of exciting stories, a narrative of struggle, change and resilience that has shaped the community over the centuries.
Useful tips for organizing an excursion to the Crapolla Fjord
Adventurers and nature lovers, here is an unmissable experience that awaits you: the Crapolla Fjord! You don’t need to be a trekking expert, but get ready for an extraordinary adventure.
During this route, you will not find any shelters or refreshments along the road, so make sure you have plenty of water and avoid the hottest hours of the day. You face a difference in altitude of approximately 340 metres, with sometimes challenging sections, so please wear comfortable clothing and suitable shoes. But know that the effort will be rewarded with a unique experience!
The lucky visitors to these lands speak of extreme satisfaction once they reach the fjord. Here, you will completely immerse yourself in nature, surrounded by plants, colors, scents and the majestic peregrine falcons that reign in the blue skies.
And what about the mysterious archaeological remains that bear witness to an indelible past? There is still a puzzle to be solved: why did the religious people build their sacred buildings in such wild and difficult to reach places? One theory suggests that it was a way to protect their faith from outside intrusions, much like hermits did.
Luckily, this area is strictly protected to preserve its historical, natural and artistic wonders, including the seabed. So, dive into the crystal clear waters and you will be fascinated by the richness of marine flora and fauna, even close to the shore.
Let yourself be seduced by the adventure and beauty of the Crapolla Fjord. It’s a journey that will change you forever!
What to see nearby
- Sant’Agata sui due Golfi (1.8 Km)
- Ieranto Bay (8.4 Km)
- Punta Campanella (7.9 Km)
- Portiglione (5.5 Km)
- Massa Lubrense (7.3 Km)
- Cala di Mitigliano (8.6 Km)