A day walking along the paths of the Peninsula is the best way to discover the most remote and spectacular corners of this natural balcony leaning-out on the gulves of Naples and Salerno. Next to the sea or in altitude there are so many possibilities, and the greater part of paths is accessible to everybody: just get a coat and trekking boots. The Peninsula is surrounded by the Monti Lattari, enclosing the sorrentina and the Amalfi Coast, with its picks which are higher than Sant’Angelo, Tre Pizzi and Monte Faito. It is from Monte Faito that our itinerary starts.
The mountain is situated at 1143 meters in height, and its name derives from the term “faggeto” (beech wood), because here there are plenty of beeches, holm-oaks and chestnut trees. The prosperity of those fruits is celebrated by an important festival, which takes place on November. There are two possibilities to reach the peak of the Mountain from Castellammare di Stabia or from Vico Equense. Those who reach the peninsula by public transportations, can use the efficient cableway service that allows to reach the mountain peak in just 8 minutes. For those who are taking a tour by car, we sugggest the road leading from the Bourbons real casina (royal little house) to the peak. Let’s not forget that, it will be possible to stop in one of the parking lot to enjoy the wonderful viewpoint.
After the aspired destination is reached, you will be likely to feel submerged by the green and by the clean air, and the sporting center with swimming pool, the handling and the typical restaurants situated on the mountain, will make your tour really unforgettable. There are many sport activities to be practiced, but the most practiced is the horseriding: every year at the end of August a famous national horse show takes place. From the Monte Faito start many naturalistic itineraries, with different duration and degree of difficulty. Particularly recommended itineraries are those organized by the circle Lega Ambiente di Vico, “II Gheppio” (The kestrel). Along the different paths it is possible to meet birds, such as the kestrel and the buzzard, but also to observe from near typical local plants, such as the Neapolitan santolina and the pinguicola. Be careful with this last plant, since it is the only carnivorous plant of Campania. There are many opinions about Monte Faito.
It is said this was a place of retreat and a shelter for saints hermits, while the general opinion was that in this place there were sprites and witches. For those who have still some energies left, there are many other places to visit. Let’s definitely make a stop at Punta Campanella, classified as a sea natural reserve, and as a park of sea and earth protection, with its Mediterranean maquis, this reserve houses different trees, like the rosemary, the juniper, the myrtle and the wild olive trees, together with the rare dwarf palm. Moreover, together with such a luxuriant vegetation, there are couples of nidifying peregrine hawks. For the most reckless people, we suggest to visit the enchanting Baia di Jeranto, a property of the fund for the Italian Environment, a natural park founded on 1982 in an area Stretching from Punta Campanella to Marina di Cantone, an area representing one of the most evocative places of the peninsula sorrentina with protected sea species.
The last two stops are in the inner part of the charming peninsula, the highland of Agerola and Gragnano, at the foot of Monti Lattari. The first highland is about 700 meters in height, and it is a cool place, surrounded by walnut trees. Agerola most spectacular hamlet is San Lazzaro, where from its viewpoint it is possible to enjoy the wonderful sight of Conca dei Marini, the pearl of the Costiera Amalfitana, with its amazing Grotta dello Smeraldo, so called because of the colour of the water, thanks to sunlight reflexes penetrating through the rocks opening. This cave is worthy to be visited, because of the enchanting scenario, with stalactites and stalagmites and with a manger in ceramics at 4 meters depth. This is a place only the “bravest” can reach, after having climbed on an endless number of stairs.
Gragnano highland, offers a direct contact with nature, together with excursions in dream landscapes: from the road of the Valle dei Mulini (The Mills Valley), to Amalfi. The sentieri della mulattiera (the mule track paths),offer another opportunity of visiting those places, leading from the Sorgente Forma (Shape Spring), at the foot of the medieval suburb of Castello (Castle), or from wooded paths stretching from Aurano to the Monte Megano, with its copse wood mainly consisting of holm-oaks, birch tree, beech trees, chestnut trees and poplars, whose rich fauna, consisting of rabbits, wild boars, badgers and foxes, to reach the sources of the Vrecciaro, where water gushes out from stones.