This is a tale of two walks, using Nerano as a base with which to strike out to Montalto Watchtower and the nearby ruins of a disused mining industry to the west, and then to the beach at Marina Del Cantone in the east.
This is a walk of two halves, using Nerano to explore one of the quieter and less-visited stretches of the Amalfi Coast. Its relative solitude when compared with the tourist hotspots of Amalfi and Positano highlights its isolation and is no indictment of the area’s heavenly beauty.
If you have already completed the Punta Campanella hike you will almost certainly have gazed longlingly at a secluded bay of turquoise waters on your right – that’s where the first half of this hike takes you today. In addition to the beauty, there’s the history. Between 1918 and 1956 this remote headland was a hive of mining activity, and the scattering of abandoned buildings and infrastructure that remain testify to this. Nearby is the Montalto Watchtower, which would have fended off Saracen raids and invasions.
Having returned to Nerano, the path weaves its way between houses, headed steeply downhill, before erupting onto the beach at Marina Del Cantone. The walk continues for 700 metres to another, more secluded beach at Recommone. Why not enjoy a relaxing afternoon here? Either beach is deserving of a swim and a stop in one of the nearby restaurants, before returning to Sorrento by bus.
Check the bus timetable before leaving the beach. Estimate (conservatively) how long it will take you to return to Nerano, and therefore what time you must leave the beach. This is preferable to reaching Nerano and discovering you have an hour to wait for the bus, which could have been spent on the beach!
There are some exposed and unfenced edges throughout the walk; be careful and remain on the path.
There are several stretches where you must walk on the road as there is no pavement. Walk on the left side facing the oncoming traffic, unless there is a verge separated by line-markings that provides space to walk on.
Much of the path is rocky. Bear in mind these may be slippery when wet, place your feet with care, and use the handrail, where one is provided.
Sturdy hiking boots and a waterproof/wind-break layer are required. Walking poles will be a big advantage on some of these ascents and descents.
Ensure your phone is fully charged; if you doubt the battery will last throughout the hike, it might be beneficial to bring a power bank.
Make sure you bring enough water. It is recommended to drink 0.75 litres per 1 hour of hiking.
Be sure to bring plenty of sun cream and a healthy respect for the sun.
Points of Interest
Stone towers such as Montalto Tower which you will pass on today’s walk have dotted the Amalfi Coastline for nearly 1,000 years and have played a vital role in the region’s defence, fending off invasions from Saracens, Barbarians and Turks. These towers were manned by knights who, on sighting an enemy vessel, would sound a warning bell or gallop on horseback, to summon support. At night they might light a fire atop the tower.
The limestone geology which has resulted in the dramatic karst scenery and prominent sea stacks, has also played an important role in the local economy. Between 1918 to 1956 a lime quarry operated on Jeranto Bay. This walk passes through the industrial relics of these mines, and is today maintained by the FAI, which is the Italian National Trust. Among the buildings you will discover a plaque to those miners who died in this dangerous occupation.
Marina Del Cantone
The secluded beach at Marino Del Cantone has been described as a ‘refuge for Italian locals and travellers-in-the-know’. For now, until this ‘secret getaway’ becomes more well-known, you can be sure of a relaxing day on the beach, with a host of beachside restaurants and cafes to provide whatever refreshments you need. A short walk away is Recommone Beach, accessible only on foot or boat, and therefore even less established. Take your pick of which beach you want to soak in some Vitamin D!
Food and Drink
There are a few shops to buy snacks, sandwiched and drinks in Nerano, where you start, finish, and return to after 4.6 kilometres.
There are restaurants with fantastic sea views after 5.9 and 6.6 kilometres, in Marina Del Cantone and Recommone.