- Start Bomerano
- Finish Nocelle
- Distance/Duration 6km; three hours
The Sentiero degli Dei (Path of the Gods) is by far the best-known walk on the Amalfi Coast for two reasons: first, it’s spectacular from start to finish; and second, unlike most Amalfi treks, it doesn’t involve inordinate amounts of stair-climbing. The walk starts in the village of Bomerano (a subdivision of Agerola), easily accessible from Amalfi town by SITA bus.
Beginning in the main square, where several cafes, including Top-VIP Cetarell, supply portable snacks, follow the red-and-white signs along Via Pennino. The start of the walk proper is marked by a monument inscribed with quotes by Italo Calvino and DH Lawrence. Views of terraced fields quickly open out as the path contours around a cliff-face and passes beneath the overhanging Grotta del Biscotto (Biscuit Cave). From here, the trail continues its traverse of the mountainside with some minor undulations. Periodically it dips into thickets of trees and sometimes you’ll be required to negotiate rockier sections, but, in the main, the going is relatively easy.
The first main landmark after the Grotta is a path junction at Colle Serra. Here you get a choice between a low route or a high route. The low route is more exposed and threads its way through vineyards and rockier sections with magnificent views of Praiano below. Roughly 800m along its course, it is possible to make a short diversion south to the San Domenico Monastery. The more popular high route (#327a) sticks to the rocky heights with broad, sweeping vistas. Both paths converge at a point called Cisternulo, 1.5km further on. Just below Colle Serra, a path from the Sentiero degli Dei’s alternative start in Praiano joins the main trail. Bear in mind that starting in Praiano involves a thigh-challenging climb up 1000 steps before you reach the trail proper.
After Cisternulo, the path kinks around some half-obscured grotte (caves) and descends into the Valle Grarelle before climbing back up to the finish point in the tiny village of Nocelle. A small kiosk selling cold drinks and coffee, served on a charming terrace with fresh flowers, greets you as you enter the village. Alternatively, head a little further through the village to Piazza Santa Croce, where a stall dispenses fantastic freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice.
From here you have three options: 1) take stairs (around 1500 of them!) down through the village to be deposited, via a succession of olive groves, on the coast road 2km east of Positano; 2) catch a bus from the end of Nocelle’s one interconnecting road to Positano – small minibuses run by Mobility Amalfi Coast depart 10 times a day; 3) a much nicer if longer option – especially if you’re weary of steps at this point – is to continue along the path that leads west out of Nocelle towards Montepertuso. Don’t miss the huge hole in the centre of the cliff at Montepertuso where it looks as though an irate giant has punched through the slab of limestone. In Montepertuso cut down past the church via a series of staircases to hit the northern fringes of Positano.
The CAI (Club Alpino Italiano; Italian Alpine Club) has a website dedicated to the Monti Lattari area (www.caimontilattari.it), with useful information on various trails. Alternatively, the best printed map is from the cart&guide series (map #3) and available in most local bookshops/newsagents (€5). If you prefer a guided hike, there are a number of reliable local guides, including American Frank Carpegna (www.positanofrankcarpegna.com), a longtime resident here, and Zia Lucy (www.zialucy.it).
The Sentiero degli Dei is not advised for acute vertigo sufferers – if in doubt, take the less exposed upper path (#327a). The trail itself (Bomerano to Nocelle) measures just under 6km one-way, but you’ll add on another 3km to 4km if you continue by foot to Positano at the end. Although sunny days are the norm in spring and summer, it can be cloudy in the dizzy heights but somehow that adds to the drama, with cypresses rising through the mist like dark, shimmering sword blades and shepherds herding their goats through fog-wreathed foliage. Bring a rucksack and plenty of water, and wear proper walking shoes as the going can be rough. You may want to pack swimming gear too and end the walk with a refreshing plunge into the sea.
Inclement weather and/or landslides can sometimes lead to trail closures. Check ahead. Tourist offices in Praiano and Bomerano can provide more guidance and details.