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The Path of the Gods in Amalfi Coast: the Essential Guide

Have you ever heard that along the Amalfi Coast there is the so-called "Path of the Gods"? And what if I told you that you can go along this path?

According to a legend, this was exactly the way along which Greek Gods travelled to save Ulysses – the main character of the Odyssey, Homer’s poem – from the sirens who lived at Li Galli Islands (literally the Cocks from their shape).

Sentiero degli Dei: between History and Legend

There are a lot of popular beliefs about the Paths of the Gods. They say brigands, criminals and smugglers used to take shelter in this path because, due to the inaccessibility of the place, they could hide easily.
Furthermore, the story goes that a sow, with 6 little pigs, on full moon nights turned into devil individuals striking fear into unfortunate passers-by.

Probably the Path of the Gods has been visited by famous artists like Goethe, Wagner and the Italian writer Italo Calvino who describes this path along the Lattari Mountains like “the street hanging up the Gulf of Sirens cut through memory and myth even now”. Locals felt that this sentence expressed so much the authentic essence of the history of the place, melted with the myth, that it was curved on a pottery plaque located right at the beginning of the itinerary to welcome tourists in one of the gems of the Amalfi Coast.

The path shows how these places have always been influenced by the local culture: a rural, farming but also maritime civilization. Here the inhabitants live and work –above all the elderly- in harmony with the surrounding environment: you can find those who pick the fruits off the trees, those who transport wood riding their horses or donkeys, those who walk along the street, twice a day, to deliver jerry cans filled with goat milk.
Everything around you gives the impression of a place where the sense of time has been suspended. A historical and cultural background that encourages people to discover again both the noble and independent origins of the seafaring people, and the hosting and proud roots of the mountain people.


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The Hike

Every year thousands of tourists decide to travel along the Path of the Gods that starts from Agerola and goes along about 10km until Nocelle, a hamlet of the nearby well-known town, Positano. Going through different villages located on the shore, it is one of the best excursion in the world.
During the years nobody tried to change the natural beauty of this genuine place, neither bad weather managed to scratch the shore of this magic path, that defend the history of people who have been living there.

These places are shrouded by the myth and the most imaginative people could be able to hear the sound of Ulysses’ ship cutting through the sea. All along the way the nature smells so good and intense that even those who think they have seen Ulysses, are thrown back to real life.

Speaking of, if you feel tired and you want to have some rest while walking, you can enjoy a brief break at Fontana Vecchia di Monte Pertuso. According to a popular belief here Virgin Mary fought against Lucifer and the tracks of these battle are still visible on the rocks (pertuso means hole). Actually, it is a phenomenon of erosion that has moulded the rocks like they were stone sculptures. Beyond freshwater spring, you can benefit from wood benches which will allow you both some peace and a beautiful sight over the Amalfi Coast.
From Fontana Vecchia di Monte Pertuso to Positano you have to climb up 1700 steps.
Passing through Vallone Porto, where you can appreciate a great waterfall and a canyon, you will finally get to one of the best world known views, a cascade of houses descending from the shore to the beach: Positano. It is the only place in the world conceived vertically.


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Sorroundings and Panoramas

Hiking the Sentiero degli Dei is a unique adventure. I know the itinerary could appear a little bit difficult, but it is really easy and the marvellous views are totally worthy of it! My only advice is to wear comfortable shoes.
You can walk along two paths, the high up one and the downward: the view is the same but the majority of tourists chose the latter because they say there are more peculiar places to visit. Moreover, it is more typical from a traditional point of view -and it is all downhill!

The Mediterranean scrub is the dominant background, with an abundance of fruit trees, above all a peculiar kind of grapevine called “Pede’e Palomme” (literally dove’s paw) for the shape of the shoot and for its colour. Being the only street connecting the shore with the inner part of the region, it had a fundamental role for trades, buying and selling. Crops and architecture are a testimony to the passage of different ethnic groups, like the Greek and the Arabic one.

With regards to this, you can find ruins of ancient houses all along the path, appreciating a panorama characterized by the presence of caves, cliffs and precipices, oak woods, brooms and lots of herbs like thyme, sage brushes and rosemary. With every step you take, the coastal view will take your breath away!
Paths surrounded by the green hills and silence everywhere, courtyard and pergolas are the ideal frameworks for these magic places. The cherry on top Positano is a completely isolated village, and no one can get there by motor vehicles.

If you are searching for something really emotional and unusual, you should totally go through this path. You will have the chance to admire something really special that will allow you to get a little bit closer to the authenticity of the past. Being in contact with this uncontaminated nature will make you feel as you have no right to be there, in that perfect microcosm. Still hesitating?

25th Oct 2018