Much of the walk between Scala and Amalfi passes through Ferriere Nature Reserve. Ferriere translates as ironworks, so as you brush through waist-high ferns, skip over streams on stepping stones and admire views to Amalfi, consider the old iron-workers whose footprints you walk in.
Today’s walk proves Amalfi isn’t only about the coast; soon after leaving Minuta, a small village 1 kilometre after Scala, you will enter the Ferriere Nature Reserve. The Italian word ‘Ferriere’ translates to ‘ironworks’, which was once a burgeoning industry here, utilising the many streams to power their factories, and the port in Amalfi to transport their produce. This industry collapsed during the 18th century, and has now been reclaimed by nature and returned to its original state, though if you look carefully you might see overgrown stone bridges and houses dating to this period.
The same streams that once powered the ironworks now impress those who wander through this primitive woodland. From the path you will skip across several streams on stepping stones and admire waterfalls as the stream plummets over the rock, but to see the most impressive waterfall requires a short (200 metre) detour after 4.9 kilometres.
Along the way, you might experience a 'traffic jam', caught in the chaos of goats being herded - it is likely these goats produce the delightful cheese (formaggio) found in this region. Alternatively, you might pass mules and donkeys, which remain the easiest and quickest, if somewhat archaic, way to navigate these paths. At the foot of the limestone cliffs, crane your neck skywards for the chance to see daredevil climbers clinging to the crag, and edging their way to the top.
In Pogerola the first restaurant you will come to, passing its unassuming door after 8.2 kilometres is Sorelle Rispoli. Run by 3 elderly women, it prides itself on serving honest ‘Mama’s Food’. Eating there is an intimate experience as it feels like you are eating in their own house. The food isn’t fancy, but it is traditional, with decent portion-sizes for the hungry hiker and decent prices.
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.
You must cross several streams today. Take the time to choose the best route across, and then walk carefully, bearing in mind rocks may be slippery when wet.
Points of Interest
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: https://www.livesalerno.com/amalfi-cathedral
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: https://www.museodellacarta.it/
Food and Drink
There are few opportunities throughout this walk to buy food or drink, so be sure to bring enough provisions with you.
There are restaurants in Scala where you begin the hike, and Minuta after 1 kilometre. After Minuta, there is nowhere to buy food until you arrive in Pogerola after 8 kilometres.
There are opportunities to refill you water bottle at fountains/taps after 1.8 and 8.1 kilometres.
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.