Sentiero degli Dei
Key information: Sentiero degli Dei
- High but (once you are there) relatively gentle path that hugs the cliffy wilderness of the World Heritage Site Amalfi coast and commands astonishing views of both Mediterranean and mountains.
- Eerie, silent mule track scattered with isolated farms and ruined crows-nest buildings is as impressive for its evidence of human ingenuity as it is for its natural beauty.
- Though the walking itself is moderate (with a total rise of 460ft), the path can be narrow and hang dizzily over perpendicular drops: not for those prone to vertigo.
- This is the Amalfi Coast's most famous walk.
- Walkopedia rating89.5
- Natural interest14.5
- Human interest14
- Negative points3
- Total rating89.5
- Note: Negs: popularity, some modernity
- Length: 4 hrs
- Level of Difficulty: Moderate
The Amalfi Coast has long been inhabited, but only became accessible by road when the famous Nastro Azzuro was begun in 1815. Until then, even the wealthy city of Amalfi was only reachable by sea, and the towns, farms and villages strung along this shockingly beautiful coastline of limestone cliffs were only joined by a series of interminable rock-hewn staircases leading to mule tracks across the upper reaches of the mountains. The Sentiero degli Dei was one of these, and its name (which translates as Path of the Gods) is really not hyperbolic. In an area that would certainly have heard, and quickly received news of, the destructive power of Vesuvius, and in an area isolated from the hardest reach of Rome, it would be easy to believe that the upper reaches of the local mountain ranges, and their breathtaking views, would be the province of a bunch of not-necessarily-benign deities.
The Sentiero degli Dei is the most celebrated footpath of an area riddled with footpaths, and justly so: its huge, plunging views of the Mediterranean, and the settlements huddled along its almost-vertical shoreline as far as the island of Capri are almost beyond compare. Now that buses run to the villages at either end and the knee-straining flog up and down the staircases to reach it is no longer necessary, this can be a reasonably easy trek (with a 460ft rise along its four-hour length), and rewarding pretty much every step of the way.
As rewarding as the natural features of this outstanding landscape is one's simple astonishment at human ingenuity and perseverance, not only in carving this path, often from bare cliff-faces, but in creating the farmhouses, hermitages and terraces that cling like eagles' nests to the dizzy heights.
NOTE: while well-maintained, sections of this path are both narrow and little more than ledges carved into cliffs. Anyone of a nervous disposition would be well-advised to go as far as they feel comfortable with, and no further.
See also our Amalfi Coast page for further information.
Other accounts: share your experiences
Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.
Books and Maps
Books on this walk
Sorrento, Amalfi Coast and Capri – Julian Tippett/Sunflower Landscapes: excellent walking guide with a useful map and suggestions for car tours thrown in. Also includes bus timetables.
Walking on the Amalfi Coast – Gillian Price/Cicerone: always-reliable guide lists 30 routes
Naples, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast – Christian Bonnetto/Lonely Planet – has a section on this walk
The Rough Guide to Naples and the Amalfi Coast – Martin Dunford/Rough Guides – has dedicated walks sections
Naples and Pompeii: Vesuvius, Herculaneum and the Amalfi Coast - Ezio Rendo/Bonechi Edizioni: Italian guidebook translated
Italy Baedeker Guide – MairDumont/Baedeker
My Amalfi Coast – Amanda Tabberer/Michael Joseph – former journalist and fashion designer’s memoir of the eighteen years she lived in Positano
Poems of Places, Volume 1, Italy – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow/BiblioBazaar– anthology collected by the poet, who had an intense enthusiasm for the country, includes his own poem, Amalfi.
[Note: we want as many general books on the country as possible]
One to look at online: http://www.lerkaminerka.com/mappe/carta_dei.jpg
Kompass Italy hiking map Sorrento Peninsula-Amalfi coast
Touring club Italiano Campania road map
Stanfords: www.stanfords.co.uk. An excellent (and user-friendly) online specialist source of worldwide maps (it is also good for guidebooks).
Best times to walk/weather
Best times to walk
Very hot in high Summer.
See our Amalfi Coast [link] page for long-distance connections.
By car: a tiny cul-de-sac road runs up into the mountains and will take you to just above the Colle la Sera pass, the “official” start of the Sentiero. Coming from the coast on the spectacular, hairpin-bend-filled Amalfi-Naples road, turn left shortly after the Pianillo monastery (if you reach the road tunnel you’ve overshot), then, shortly, right. Road then goes NW before turning back coastwards. Two viewpoints where the road swings west above the pass should provide parking.
Public transport (bus timetables can be found in the Sunflower guide): Take the Amalfi-Agerola bus (roughly 10 a day; fewer on Sundays; fist 07.10, last 20.50) to Bomerola. At Nocelle/Monte Pertuso, take the bus (roughly every two hours, 08.20-19.40) or walk down (1h; lots of steps) to Positano, then take the frequent Sorrento-Amalfi bus (first 07.05 last 20.55).
No permits are needed to do this walk.
(Note: with links where available)
The actual Sentiero degli Dei (locals loosely refer to all the high paths by the pluralised name) runs from Colle la Sera to Nocelle; if parked up at Colle la Sera viewpoints, your only option is to follow it and then retrace your steps. If using public transport: from Bomerano church square, take the narrow road out, Via Pennino (has a sign). After 1km and a few steps, it passes the spectacular Grotta Biscotta and becomes a track. Another kilometre takes you to the Colle le Sera, which is an obvious junction of mountain tracks beside a garden with a cross. Turn right at the garden, descending 100m of steps, then right again, signposted Nocelle/San Domenico. (A little further on, there’s a steep left-hand detour to the San Domenico monastery). After that, just keep going; Nocelle is 3-4km further on, though the views are likely to make you dawdle. Nocelle is a tiny, flower-filled hamlet (with a restaurant) hanging, with wonderful views, off the edge of a chasm. Its sister-village, Monte Pertuso, hangs off the other side, a 30m walk along an easy concrete path that follows the chasm’s edge. Buses run down to Positano from both.
[Note: insert here any suitable route map that has been found. Can do link if appropriate.]
Possible problems, health, other warnings
PLEASE CHECK THAT BULLET POINTS COME ACROSS OK WHEN PUTTING INTO DATABASE. SEE OPERATING MANUAL.
· Heat and strong sun. Carry enough water and protect yourself.
· Heights: can be dangerous; not for those who have difficulties with heights.
· Harmful animals snakes, stinging/biting insects. Take all appropriate precautions.
See also the websites in our useful links page for more detailed, and up-to-date, information.
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk. Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Make sure you have appropriate insurance.
Guided or independent?
You can do this walk independently
Can be done as part of an organised walking holiday. Organisers include:
PLEASE CREATE BULLET POINTS WHEN PUTTING INTO DATABASE. SEE OPERATING MANUAL.
• Headwater do two expeditions that include walks around Ravello and the Sorrento Peninsula, as well as the Sentiero itself.
This is a hugely popular holiday destination and suppurates with (generally not the cheapest) accommodation. Steer clear of Positano, though, which is a giant cash till. Search “Amalfi/ Amalfi Coast accommodation” or try:
Other information and tips
This is a beautiful piece of country, but, being almost entirely dependent on tourism, is close to Venetian in its pricing. Be prepared to take some deep breaths.
Suitable footwear, with good ankle support and a good tread is a must. Steps and stone paving can become slippery with the first hint of rain.
Though a car can be a nice liberty, parking is hard to find and shockingly expensive. Local buses, however, are frequent and go to pretty much everywhere.
Useful websites and information
There are many websites with relevant information. Here are some that we think are useful or have been recommended to us.
PLEASE CREATE BULLET POINTS WHEN PUTTING INTO DATABASE. SEE OPERATING MANUAL.
• http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amalfi_Coast As usual, a good starting place.
• Try www.flickr.com for pictures of this walk.
Other things to do in the area
Endless. See our Amalfi Coast page.
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
share your experiences
Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
Responsible travel matters, a lot. How you travel will make a real difference - for better or worse. PLEASE consider this when making plans. Read more