From Praiano to Positano, the Footpath of the Gods tackles a rocky and unforgiving section of mountain, with a demanding climb, an equally demanding descent, and spectacular views throughout.
A relentless climb ensues straight out of Positano, offering little chance for a warm-up. Is it nameed The Footpath of the Gods because you’ll be praying for divine intervention halfway up, or because it feels like the stairway to heaven?
Once you’ve gained enough height, the path flattens out, and offers spectacular views stretching along the jagged coastline. It’s impossible to miss the iconic village of Positano cascading up the cliff, looking like giant ‘Jenga’ game that got out of hand, which will have you reaching for the camera with great regularity, but be sure to look beyond Positano; on a clear day, you might spot the Isle of Capri.
From Nocelle, there’s a sign saying it is 1,500 steps to Positano - Try not to look too smug when you see walkers coming up them! By the bottom your legs will be burning, but the warren of narrow streets in Positano are perfect to get lost in, crammed-full of intrigue and with art galleries and shops galore, along with some of the best food on the Amalfi Coast.
With 1,500 steps to descend to Positano, allow a refreshing lemon slushie to rejuvenate you in Nocelle before you set off.
There are some exposed and unfenced edges throughout the walk; be careful and keep walking on the path. If the path is hard to see, read the instructions carefully, and follow the rocks which have paint on them.
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
Convento Di San Domenico
The path passes right beside – under, even – the Convent of Saint Domenico situated in its serene mountain setting. It has been customary, on the evening of the 4th August, to light a candle on your windowsill or balcony. On this night Saint Domenico would pass, and those who had left this mark of fire would be preserved from the devil for another year.
More information available here: https://www.summerinitaly.com/guide/the-convent-of-san-domenico
Church of Santa Maria Assunta
In Positano, almost every staircase appears to eventually bring you back to the piazza outside the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, which must demonstrate the historical significance it has been for the locals of Positano. The church was dedicated in the 10th century to San Vito, the patron saint of Positano, though when a Byzantine icon of the Virgin Mary arrived nearly 200 years later, the Archbishop of Amalfi was quick to cast Vito aside and rededicate the church in her honour. What you see today is a restoration, maintaining its neo-classical style, from the late-1700’s.
More information available here: https://www.charmingitaly.com/article/positano-santa-maria-assunta
Food and Drink
There is a large section throughout this walk, from Praiano to Nocelle with limited opportunities to buy food or drink. Be sure to carry enough provisions for the entire hike.
There is a basic snack bar after 1.2 kilometres, near the Church di San Domenico, and another after 4.6 kilometres.
Nocelle has a few restaurants and cafes, and Positano, where you finish the hike, has a wide selection.
There are taps to fill your water bottles after 0.3, 1 and 6.3 kilometres.