6.15.2017

Travel Sketch: An Unexpected Surprise Above the Amalfi Coast



Although Italy’s Amalfi coast is well on the beaten path, hidden alcoves await those willing to go just a bit further afield. Bomerano, high above the sea is a surprising gem Mike and I discovered during our recent trip to Italy. We planned to walk Sientiere Degli Dei, Path of the Gods, from Positano on the Amalfia coast. Rather than take a bus back to Positano at the end of the thru-hike, we decided to spend the night above the sea before taking another path down to the coast the next morning. We randomly reserved a B&B in Bomerano in the Agerola Valley and were in for a pleasant surprise. With fewer people, cooler temperatures, and affordable food and lodging, it was a welcome change of pace from the coast. Here is an assortment of reflections…

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Our hike starts off as many do along the Amalfi coast, with a long, steep ascent up an ancient staircase marked by red and white stripes. This narrow passageway leads us up to small villages and eventually into more rugged and mountainous terrain. It isn’t an overly challenging hike, but it is work. While it’s not warm, 75 degrees or so, there is a touch of humidity to the air. Considering it was snowing at home the day before we left and it had been a cool spring, it felt hot. Although we have plenty of water, I dream of ice cubes. But I know in Italy, as in much of Europe, ice cubes in drinks are a rarity so I refocus my dreams on a sweet beverage.

About ¾ of the way through the walk we reach Colle Serra and the trail descends towards Bomerano. After short walk along the road, we come to Bomerano’s the town square and are surprised to find a lively hamlet that promotes walking with lots of signage, information and maps, a small outdoor shop, and just enough places for food and lodging to accommodate visitors. Bomerano sits 2,171 feet above sea level and within minutes I feel more at home than I did on the coast.

Our B&B, A 2 Passi Degli Dei, is a charming four-room place with a welcoming and knowledgeable host and private courtyard. After getting settled, important lounging time, and washing clothes in the sink, Mike and I head out in search of food. We consider Hotel Gentile, Bomerano’s answer to a boutique hotel, for an aperitif. There, waiters in black pants and gold vests hover about eagerly awaiting dinner guests and the vibe is off. We opt for someplace a bit more low-key and find a Picchio Rosso, a spot where locals and visitors congregate. Crisp white tablecloths add a touch of class but it still retains a comfortable, friendly atmosphere. Dinner of Caprese salad, pasta arrabiata, a large bottle of mineral water, and a carafe of wine sets us back €20, another welcome reminder that we are no longer on the busy and expensive coast. 


Clouds that have been building all evening hang low in the sky and a misty fog crawls up from the sea snaking its way through into the alley as we make our way back to the B&B. There is a nip in the air and I fully zip the neck of my light-weigh wool jacket. Back at the B&B, ensconced in bed, we pull the covers tight and keep the blanket on, it’s the perfect place to get cozy and get some rest before continuing on in the morning.

The forecast calls for rain and as expected, the morning is cloudy; pants and long sleeve weather. Sure enough it starts raining shortly before we leave the paved road in Bomerano and head down the wooden staircase at the start of the hike. Well equipped for whatever Mother Nature throws our way, Mike and I soldier on.

The wooden staircase makes way to the rocky steps that take us down the path and in and out of the trees. Misty clouds rise up from the sea surrounding the rocky summits and green hillsides. The landscape is bi-color, the tangerine and turquoise of our raincoats adding a burst of color to the predominantly green and grey panorama.

About half way down the trail, the Amalfi coast comes into view. Although we can see the coastal road, it is still a long way off and thankfully, the buzz of scooters and small Fiats zipping about does not yet reach us. Chirping birds and nature sounds still predominate, preserving our peaceful mountain high for a while longer. Eventually, we wonder out of the trees and onto an open path, and soon the rain stops. Mike and I gaze up at the mountains, rocks, and terraced gardens, mist still clinging up high while the vivid azure sky makes its way through the breaking clouds. The contrast between sun and fog and sea and mountains is captivating. 

Traveling Companions
As we continue to descend, the landscape becomes more sea-like and warmer. Small green lizards reappear and cacti work their way back into our walk. A few cats, predominant along the coastal trails yet largely absence in Bomerano, appear shortly before we arrive in Praiano and a friendly little orange guy follows us for a few meters along a wide, rock-tiled path.

Terraced gardens, mountaintops, massive rocks, and remains of old stone structures are everywhere. Hiking here leaves a lot to the imagination. Who lived here? Who remains and how do they survive? What are the stories? Beauty and curiosity keep us interested. Mike and I are captivated and plan to come back to Bomerano and the Ageroal Valley before our trip is over.

Near Colle Serra
A few more photos...












Dos & Don'ts in the Agerola Valley