This hike from the mountain-top village of Bomerano to the coastal town of Praiano provides a long downhill, with never-ending views to the Gulf of Salerno.
The first section of this walk is amongst the mountains. While you might get the occasional glimpse to the sea, your attention will be more consumed by the limestone cliffs pockmarked with caves, some big enough to squeeze a modest shrine of Mary into, others grand enough to wedge an entire stone house into. A tall limestone stack, Il Pinnacolo in Italian, stands sentinel to the ages – though looks like it may topple in a gust of wind - and marks the top of the Colle Serra pass; from here it is downhill to Praiano.
From the Colle Serra you can see the sweeping Gulf of Salerno, a dramatic coastline of cliffs tumbling into the water. Sailors say that during stormy weather the wind whistles along this coastline and produces the Siren’s song; in mythology the Siren was a beautiful half-woman creature, and any sailor unlucky enough to hear her irresistible song, would leap overboard to their death. The small island you see ahead is said to be one such sailor who turned to stone when he hit the water.
Descending from the Colle Serra is like sitting in the front row of the cinema; the sea and sky overwhelm your entire field of view. In the foreground is Praiano, postcard-perfect and with a row of steps that will guide you right into the middle of that picture.
Make sure your camera is fully charged; photo opportunities abound.
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.
Points of Interest
Il Pinnacolo and Colle Serra
A precariously-perched pinnacle of rock looks like it may fall over in the slightest gust of wind, and marks the nearby Colle Serra Pass (578 metres above sea level). A plaque on the rock is dedicated to Ettore Paduano, the hiker who discovered the Footpath of the Gods trail and spent much of his life developing it. The Colle Serra Pass marks a transition from the mountain plateau of Agerola to the coastal Amalfi region.
You will pass the Grotta Biscotto, or ‘Biscuit Grotto’ after 1 kilometre. This cliff section is pockmarked with caves and holes resembling the air bubbles in a biscuit. Wedged into the natural shelter of these caves you will discover the houses of industrious locals several centuries old. All that was required to build a house in a cave was one wall and doorway across the entrance; the rest was already done for you!
Unlike the other villages along the Amalfi Coast, Praiano lacks anything that could be said to be a central or gathering point. Instead, the cafes, restaurants, churches and piazzas are strung along the coastline and concealed in the spider’s web of interconnected alleyways, meaning that only by getting lost do you discover the charming secrets of this village.
Food and Drink
Except for a café after 1 kilometre, there are no options to buy food or drink between Bomerano and Praiano, so be sure to bring enough provisions for the hike.
There are taps to fill your water bottles after 1.3 and 2.1 kilometres.