High in the hills of Amalfi, above the hustle and bustle of the main shopping area, lies the peaceful nature reserve Valle Delle Ferriere. A hiking trail that winds through luscious green foliage and past eerie abandoned buildings, it brings some welcome tranquillity away from the crowds in the streets down below.
Via Orso Leone Comite: The Start of 1000 steps
Heading through the narrow streets of Amalfi, the walk starts at the top of Via Orso Leone Comite. It’s clearly signposted, and if you don’t like steps I suggest you turn back here. I think there are approximately 1000 and this is where the hard work begins. There’s not much shade on the way up and like everywhere on the Amalfi Coast, sun cream is highly recommended: I think we started hiking at about 10.30am and it was hot. We walked by lemon groves, weaved along serene woodland paths and wandered past eerie abandoned buildings. Overgrown by nature and hidden behind lush green leaves, the doorways were dark with no way of knowing what lay inside.
With many streams and waterfalls along the way, make sure you don’t forget to take your camera.
Having seen photos of Valle Delle Ferriere on the internet, I’m a little embarrassed to admit I don’t know if we actually reached the top. We definitely weren’t met with a cascading rush of water like many others seemed to be and although we were met with a waterfall, it wasn’t the spectacular sight I was expecting. As there was a big metal fence around the area permitting us from entering, I didn’t even bother to take a photograph. We sat down, ate our sandwiches and planned out the rest of our day. We’d lost sight of anyone else by this point and considering how popular the walk is, we were surprised at how quiet it was. But when a big American tour group made an appearance and shattered our peace, we decided it was time to head back down.
Winding back through the woodland, we were shouted to by a guy who we’d spoken with on the way up. He pointed out a waterfall within the rocks and gestured for us to come down for a better view. We clambered down the side of the trail and it was at this point I realised I wasn’t properly prepared – I was missing my monopod. Epic Fail. Still, a GoPro selfie stick turned out to be a pretty good alternative.
A Fore Porta C’E: Lemonade Refreshment
After a few minutes of taking photos we made a quick scramble to re-join the trail, and on the way back down decided to call into the organic lemon farm, A Fore Porta C’E, for a refreshing lemonade. Using my trusty new best friend ‘Google Translate’, I quickly found out how to ask for two lemonades and was super impressed when the owner asked if I was Italian. Made. My. Day. I could only assume either 1) he was being polite or 2) my Italian accent had significantly improved since our arrival. I decided to go with option 2.
It turned out we were the only people in there so we had the opportunity to sit down with him, learn some Italian and chat about our trip. I told him the lemonade was nice – ‘bella’ – to which he replied that food and objects are never described as nice. ‘I am nice, you are nice, but food is good: buono’. It was after this that the conversation changed. Once he learned we had hired a car for our trip he made it clear how unhappy he was with our decision. We should have been using buses instead of causing congestion on the roads and insisted that from now on we should take a bus. Rather than making him wear his own lemonade – we left – as it was turning into a completely fruitless conversation. I had no intention of hanging around while someone lectured me about how they thought I should be doing something. A car gives us the freedom to do what we want, when we want. We can detour, go off route and not be bound by time restrictions. Everyone has their own preferred way of travelling and this is ours. It always has been and always will be. Regardless of how we ended up leaving, I would highly recommend the lemonade farm. The slush was particularly tasty and refreshing – it was the best lemonade throughout the whole trip.
If you’re visiting Amalfi and fancy a break from the crowds, definitely think about taking a hike up into the hills. Although it’s not a particularly difficult route, you do need sturdy footwear as it gets a little steep and rocky the further up you go. We passed a girl wearing some slip on shoes and she was really struggling – we couldn’t help but laugh! I’m always amazed by some people’s bizarre choice of footwear attire. Make sure you allow a few hours so you can detour off, take your time, and also stop for snacks. I think (you will need to check), but I’m sure you can join onto Vallone dei Mulini which will give you a completely different viewpoint to Valle Delle Ferriere. I love hiking and this was definitely one of my favourite parts of our trip.
Happy hiking and look out for Part IV next week: Pompeii