If you like to explore and escape the boredom of everyday life, I have the perfect advice for you. In the marvelous setting of Cilento there is a pearl of history and nature that will literally save you from the monotony of the usual activities: I’m talking about Punta Tresino.
Punta Tresino, near Agropoli in the province of Salerno, is located in a strategic point, between the blue of the coast and the green of the woods. At the gates of the Vallo del Cilento and Diano National Park, declared a UNESCO heritage site, the area extends to the coast. The trekking activities that can be carried out are varied and will give you the opportunity to fully enjoy the breathtaking view of these places. Trekking is a stimulating activity in itself, yet in this setting it becomes a decidedly unforgettable experience.
In particular, the trails of the Trentova-Tresino area are ideal for groups who want to spend a different day than usual, but also for loners, couples and families. Anyone who wants to explore new places and breathe the pure air of Monte Tresino is welcome in this slice of paradise.
Fauna, flora and unique travel companions
Backpack on your shoulder and … off you go! Already from the first steps you feel a sensation of adrenaline and curiosity, someone is on horseback, some daredevil decides to venture out on a MTB, while the majority choose to walk one of the paths, letting themselves be intrigued by the presence of animals such as foxes, badgers, wild boars and weasels. The dirt road is embellished with the most varied plants and trees and allows anyone who decides to get lost in these places to observe the variety of vegetation belonging to the Mediterranean scrub.
As you walk, you may have some unique travel companions. Yes, cows and sheep could peep into the path, also eager to go trekking to Punta Tresino together with visitors. These are not dangerous animals for humans but it is always advisable to keep a certain distance to enjoy the excursion peacefully.
Monte Tresino and the peculiarities of the rocks
Tresino is an uncontaminated mountain, an extreme offshoot of Mount Stella that extends to the shore of the Tyrrhenian Sea, located between the Lago di Castellabate hamlet and the municipality of Agropoli. The highest peak of Mount Tresino reaches 356 meters above sea level. Its territory is completely within the boundaries of the national park of Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni, while its coast is part of the marine protected area of Santa Maria di Castellabate.
The Tresinese coast is the subject of numerous erosive phenomena that characterize the landscape as in the case of the particularly bumpy coast that goes from Punta Pagliarola to Punta Tresino, formed by large blocks and marked by numerous fractures which are called junctions. The erosive phenomenon is also testified by the characteristic rocks that have formed and smoothed over time. Another phenomenon that shapes the shape of the sandstone rocks of the Tresino coast is that of aloclasm, due to the crystallization of sea salt, which with its expansive action breaks up the rock, creating a series of very particular alveolar sculptures.
A simple and suggestive route
The most representative route of the Tresino promontory is the circuit one with departure and arrival from the Trentova bay, where you can leave your car in a large parking lot located nearby. The hiking circuit, which can also be tackled starting from the ancient fountain used by the inhabitants as a source in the lake area, is about 12 km long and has the characteristic of bringing the hiker to know in a short time, numerous natural and historical aspects of the whole promontory, as well as to cross the numerous paths that characterize the area, namely the path of the Pietra bridges, the basins, the Trezeni and the pastena. The basins are sandstone boulders, in the top of which there are holes (basins) dug by exogenous phenomena. With its numerous farmhouses on the route, the two Saracen watchtowers located to guard the extremity of Punta Tresino and Punta Pagliarola and its ancient monastery with the church of San Giovanni, the hiker relives the atmosphere of the past made of work and tranquility, where every moment of life was lived with the whole community.
The abandoned village of San Giovanni
The abandoned village of San Giovanni is undoubtedly one of the most evocative places of the entire route. It is a village that during the second half of the 20th century was gradually abandoned by its inhabitants who moved to more populous areas. Here time seems to have stopped and the air you breathe seems to be that of the 1950s. If you stop for a moment to observe the abandoned houses and the church of San Giovanni in the center of the town, it seems as if you are reliving the moments when the population, mostly made up of peasants, was alive and inhabiting the place. The last function celebrated in the village church dates back to 1962; from that moment on, the village gradually lost all its inhabitants. Sheep and goat farms are still present and sometimes reach deserted houses, making this bucolic image even more real.
The residential nucleus of Tresino, which in 977 was part of the possessions of the Badia di Cava and the bishops of Capaccio, was one of the most developed centers in the area, established before the foundation of the village of Castellabate. Most of the inhabitants of Tresino in the twelfth century then decided to move to the safer hill of Sant’Angelo where the Castle of Abate was built, founded by Costabile Gentilcore, a native of Tresino, to avoid the increasingly frequent raids of the Saracens who had chosen as their stronghold the neighboring Agropoli. The village of Tresino suffered serious damage during the war of the Vespers by the Amulgaveri.
The Church of San Giovanni was built by Ligorio di Atrani in 957 in Tresino. The Christian building attached to the remains of the monastery, in its last eighteenth-century guise, has been deconsecrated and is in a state of decay. The legend of the bell of San Giovanni is linked to the church, which was stolen by the Saracens and thrown into the sea in the pit of San Giovanni to prevent their ship from sinking in a storm. It is believed that, at midnight on each San Giovanni, in Tresino it is still possible to hear the sound of the bell.
Between history and nature, from Greek-Roman origins to the Bourbons
The toponym Tresino probably derives from the presence of the Trezeni Greeks, who, driven from Sibari, settled in the area. Another hypothesis on the origin of the name can be traced back to the word “treseni” to indicate the three indentations of the coast (the breasts of the Saùco, of Stajno and of the Lake). In the 6th century BC on the promontory of Tresino, according to Strabone, stood the temple dedicated to Poseidon of the city of Trezene, built by the Trezeni to protect the nearby Poseidonia. The remains of a Roman villa and a bisoma tomb from the 3rd century BC have also been found in the Saùco area. The area between Punta Tresino and Punta Pagliarola (called Marinelle) was instead the seat of the port of Stajno.
One of the most interesting stops from a historical point of view is the one around the Saùco Bay, on the coast. The area is also called “Vallone” and is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Cilento. In this area it is possible to admire the perimeter walls of an ancient Roman villa and a bisome tomb (which housed two bodies) from the 3rd century BC, as well as a lookout tower from the Angevin period (1200). In this period the finds, including amphorae and Roman anchors, cannot be visited but the sensation of literally walking on a path made of history and culture remains tangible.
The Road of Prince or Pathway of the Bridges instead boasts more than 13 stone bridges probably dating back to the Bourbon era. The numerous farmhouses along the route are also traced back to the same period. Cultivation was one of the main livelihoods of the farmers who lived in the area, witnessed by the numerous farmyards used between 1700 and 1900 for the separation of wheat and still present today, in addition to the dry walls and terraces useful for growing wheat, vegetables, olive trees and vines. The climate of this area is perfect for this kind of crops.
Trekking with a view
During the journey, what stands out most is the view. The marine protected area of Santa Maria di Castellabate shows itself in all its splendor and reveals the colors of its crystalline sea even at 300 meters above sea level. Enjoying the view of the sea directly from a mountain is something you definitely can’t do every day!
Breathing the nature of these places will make you rediscover the beauty of an experience out of the ordinary and far from the chaos of the city. Silence accompanies the entire excursion, sometimes “disturbed” by the chirping of birds and the bellowing of the farms.
Useful tips and information
If it is the first time that you venture into a path immersed in nature like that of Punta Tresino, you will find these tips useful, especially suitable for those who do not know the place or have never hiked. Let’s go immediately!
• Bring water and food with you: walking, cycling or horseback riding for a long time, especially during the summer season, can be very tiring. Our advice is to bring with you everything that could be useful during your excursion;
• Use sunscreen: the sun is stronger especially in the mountains. Always use the sunscreen to avoid incurring annoying and painful burns on the face and arms / legs;
• Document your trip: it would be a shame not to have even a photograph of the splendid panorama that can be admired from Mount Tresino. Thanks to your experience many other people could plan their adventure in Cilento and not miss this wonderful adventure.
In addition to these tips, it is essential to have the right trekking equipment such as boots, hats and comfortable layered clothing. During peak hours, the temperature could in fact change, and we must also pay attention to the difference in height on which the route winds, which, we remember, crosses both the mountains and the sea.
You can park in one of the special areas and continue on foot or by bike or you can take advantage of the public transport network that affects the area. Several organizations take care of organizing excursions to Punta Tresino, each one specializing in a specific path. You can also count on several bed & breakfasts and hôtellerie services to stay overnight in the Punta Tresino area and divide the excursion into two or more days.
The alternatives are truly numerous and tailored to each visitor. Without a doubt, the experience of the trekking route to Punta Tresino deserves to be lived at least once in a lifetime.
Punta Tresino awaits you with its breathtaking panorama and its history that embraces the different eras, to offer you a unique experience from a cultural and naturalistic point of view.