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Valley of the Ancient Mills, Amalfi - Ravello (Part 1)

· 3 reviews · Hiking trail · Amalfi
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  • Amalfi Cathedral
    / Amalfi Cathedral
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Road Passes under a Building
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / View to Amalfi
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Waterfall Beside the Path
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Valle Delle Ferriere Signs
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Lemon Groves
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
m 300 200 100 -100 6 5 4 3 2 1 km
Climb away from Amalfi through the Valle Delle Ferriere, passing waterfalls, derelict buildings and lemon groves, and finishing in Ravello in the Piazza Duomo.
Distance 6.3 km
3:30 h
473 m
117 m

No matter how much the coastline and nearby piazzas of Amalfi may be bustling with tourists, within a few minutes of this hike you will escape the crowds and be greeting locals with your heartiest ‘Buongiorno!’. This is a glimpse into how life in Amalfi has existed for generations; an old man balances precariously atop a wooden lattice, 3 metres high, tending to his lemon trees, which droop under the weight of the grapefruit-sized, yellow treasure for which the region is famed. Derelict stone buildings – old paper mills – crumble beside a swift stream as nature steadily reclaims her territory. All this set within an amphitheatre of magnificent limestone cliff-faces.

The quiet, forgotten village of Pontone greets you halfway through the hike, its sleepy Piazza San Giovanni a peaceful spot to break for a drink or lunch. From Pontone, the colourful houses of Amalfi, far below, appear like a ribbon threaded through the valley, nestled between two mountains, and with an unbeatable backdrop of the Mediterranean, a rich sapphire-blue.

Ravello is a popular village, where tourists enjoy browsing through the vibrant ceramics shops and art galleries, stepping into history in the old monasteries and churches, or watching the world-go-by with a gelato ice cream, or a slice of pizza in the Piazza Duomo, the square around which the village is centred. From here, you can return to Amalfi by bus or continue on foot.

Author’s recommendation

Sit in Piazza Duomo and feel the pace of life slowing down around you. Is it too early for a beer?

Profile picture of Josiah Skeats
Josiah Skeats
Update: July 02, 2019
Highest point
369 m
Lowest point
11 m
Best time of year

Safety information

There are some exposed and unfenced edges throughout the walk; be careful and keep walking 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 on rocky-steps, which can be irregularly spaced. Bear in mind these may be slippery when wet, place your feet with care, and use the handrail where one is provided.

Tips and hints

Points of Interest

Ravello Cathedral

Ravello Cathedral, looking out over the Piazza Duomo, has several notable attractions; the bronze door dating to 1179, and the ornate, mosaic-decorated pulpit, suspended on 6 spiral columns, each atop a marble-carved lion, which was commissioned by Nicola Rufolo, a famous 13th century merchant. There is also a small museum with several significant pieces of artwork.

More information available here:


Amalfi Cathedral

Amalfi Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Andrew; steps from the basilica lead to his crypt, with his remains reportedly captured during the crusades in 1206 and brought to Amalfi from Constantinople (now Istanbul). Inside you can visit the Heaven’s Cloister; an Arabic-inspired garden and architecture, built around 1266, and intended to be a cemetery for noble families.

More information available here:


The Paper Museum (Museo Della Carta)

The Amalfi Paper Museum is itself housed in an old papermill, dating to the 13th century. The Amalfi Region was long one of the leading paper-makers in the world, peaking in the 18th century with 11 mills. You will pass some of these mills, now long-derelict, crumbling and reclaimed by nature on your walk today. The museum allows you to view the old paper-making machinery, and explains the role of Amalfi in this.

More information available here:


Villa Rufolo

The Rufolo family was the family of Ravello, both economically and politically powerful during the 12th and 13th century. This villa was built, befitting their status, blending Arabic and Byzantine architecture with traditional Italian elements. The real draw of the villa is its gardens, set against a grand backdrop of the coastline and Mediterranean Sea.

More information available here:


Villa Cimbrone

Reference to Villa Cimbrone can be found as early as the 11th Century, a golden age of Ravello. The Villa is a private, 5-star hotel, but you are welcome to enter the gardens. Gore Vidal, an American Author, was once asked of the most beautiful place he had seen in his travels, “and I said the view from the belvedere of the Villa Cimbrone on a bright winter’s day when the sky and the sea were each so vividly blue that it was not possible to tell one from the other.”

More information available here:


Food and Drink

There are opportunities throughout this walk to buy food or drink.

There are remote cafes after 1.7 and 3.5 kilometres.

Pontone has a small collection of cafes and restaurants around its Piazza San Giovanni.

Ravello has a variety of restaurants and cafes to suit your desires, and the Piazza Duomo is a lovely place to sit and relax after the climb.

After 4.3 kilometres there is a water-tap where you can refill your bottles.


Amalfi Bus Stop (8 m)
40.633579, 14.602784
40°38'00.9"N 14°36'10.0"E
33T 466409 4498158


Ravello, Piazza Duomo

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00km – Start at the bus stop in Amalfi, where departures for Scala, Ravello and Pogerola leave from. Facing the small roundabout, and with the sea behind you, CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON headed to the narrow street between the Tabacchi and a Gelateria. Ignore the main road on your left which passes through a tunnel. After 100 metres you will pass the steps to the ornate Amalfi Cathedral on your right. After 350 metres, admire the Cape E Ciucci fountain on your right, which has a nativity of carved limestone figures, and was originally constructed to quench the thirst of donkeys carrying produce from the mountain-villages.

0.47km - CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON as the road heads under a block of houses. After 70 metres, CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON ignoring the sharp left-hand turn, and following the sign for Valle Delle Ferriere.

0.82km – Immediately after passing Musea Della Carta (The Paper Museum) on your left, TURN RIGHT steeply uphill. After 40 metres, as the road passes through gates and into a school, TURN LEFT to head uphill on the steps. At both junctions you are following signs for Valley Delle Ferriere.

1.10km - CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON, ignoring several sets of steps on your right, and keeping the lemon groves on your left.

1.50km – As the path forks near a rusty metal antenna, BEAR RIGHT up a few steps. You will immediately pass a café.

1.80km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON keeping the stream on your left. Ignore the path bearing right and heading uphill.

2.00km – After passing a derelict stone building, you can take a detour by turning left to see a small waterfall, before returning the same way. Be careful as this path is steep and may be slippery. After passing the waterfall BEAR RIGHT to continue heading uphill on the major path, keeping the stream on your left.

2.30km – You will pass an old electricity building on your left.

2.50km – At an arched entrance to a derelict building, BEAR RIGHT to head uphill on crumbling stone steps. At the top, near an information board, TURN RIGHT following the sign to Pontone. After 200 metres, once over a narrow bridge with a wooden handrail, TURN RIGHT.

2.70km – After climbing some steps there is a T-junction; TURN RIGHT and then after 50 metres BEAR LEFT as the path forks. At both junctions, keep following the sign to Pontone.

3.30km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON to pass under a wooden lattice, and past a café on your left. There are breathtaking views on your right to Amalfi.

3.70km – You will pass several catholic shrines on your left. CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON ignoring paths on both sides, and follow the paved steps downhill. After 100 metres, ignore several steps on your right, and the path will soon join a narrow road.

4.10km – As the road becomes smoothly paved, and with a metal bench on your right, BEAR LEFT to head uphill on the stone steps, following the sign to ‘Centro’. After 200 metres, ignore two sets of stone steps turning sharply on your left. There is a water-tap here where you can refill your bottles.

4.50km – This path will open out into the Piazza San Giovanni. BEAR RIGHT to head under the belltower, and then immediately TURN RIGHT. After 50 metres, as the path forks BEAR LEFT, keeping to the stone slope headed downhill to the road. After 100 metres, TURN LEFT and walk along the road for 800 metres. This will pass through two tunnels bore through the rock. Walk on the left side facing the oncoming traffic.

5.20km – The road makes a sharp right bend and crosses over a bridge; immediately after crossing over the bridge, TURN LEFT. It appears a dead-end, but there is a covered alleyway under the building, After 100 metres, with a bridge on your left, BEAR RIGHT up the steep steps to join the road, then TURN LEFT to walk along the road.

5.40km – Just after passing a gap in the wall on your left, TURN RIGHT to cross the road and head up a short set of steps, following signs to Ravello. At the top, CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON to cross over the road, and begin climbing another set of steps on the far side.

5.60km – At the top of the long set of steps, TURN LEFT to walk along the road, again following signs to Ravello. After 200 metres, TURN RIGHT at the zebra (black-and-white) crossing and then continue up the steps.

6.00km – At the junction, TURN RIGHT sharply, following the sign to Ravello Via Sigilgaida. These steps will wind their way for 100 metres to join the road. TURN RIGHT to walk along the road, following signs for Centro and Piazza Duomo. You will pass the church on your left.

6.20km – BEAR LEFT as the road forks to head through the stone archway, and then after 200 metres finish in Piazza Duomo. Why not stop for a bite of lunch?


all notes on protected areas


40.633579, 14.602784
40°38'00.9"N 14°36'10.0"E
33T 466409 4498158
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


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.

Basic Equipment for Hiking

  • Sturdy, comfortable and waterproof hiking boots or approach shoes
  • Layered, moisture wicking clothing
  • Hiking socks  
  • Rucksack (with rain cover)
  • Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket and suitable legwear)
  • Sunglasses
  • Hiking poles
  • Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
  • First aid kit
  • Blister kit
  • Bivy / survival bag  
  • Survival blanket
  • Headlamp
  • Pocket knife
  • Whistle
  • Cell phone
  • Cash
  • Navigation equipment / map and compass
  • Emergency contact details
  • ID
  • The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
  • For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
  • Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.

Questions and answers

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Elizabeth Hansen
October 29, 2021 · Community
Beautiful varied views! Loved walking through both forests and getting to explore Ravello.
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Jayne Evans
October 05, 2019 · Community
Loads to explore in the forests and magnificent views out to sea.
Show more
Tuesday 1 October 2019
Photo: Jayne Evans, Community
Ross Macdonald
October 01, 2019 · Community
When did you do this route? October 01, 2019

Photos from others

Tuesday 1 October 2019

6.3 km
3:30 h
473 m
117 m
Scenic Linear route Cultural/historical interest


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