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Campania: Seeing Italy on foot

Campania region offers breathtaking views on its hiking trails

By SANDRA JONTZ | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 19, 2010

The sun starts its depressing descent behind the glassy horizon across the Tyrrhenian Sea. The already-chilly temperature seems to plummet. But despite the shivering that has taken over my body, I don’t move.

I long to stay put, if just for another moment or two. I want to breathe it all in, this splendor, and to momentarily forget that in less than an hour, we’ll be rejoining the chaos that is synonymous with Naples. Just give me a few lingering moments to appreciate what, to nature, is an everyday occurrence, but to me is extreme beauty.

And, well, I’m also procrastinating to avoid tackling the mean uphill trek we soon will face.

Trails such as the one that takes hikers out to Punto Penna (Penna Point) — with its views of the sea and the famed island of Capri in the distance — abound in the Campania region of southern Italy. They are particularly plentiful along the famed Amalfi Coast and Sorrento Peninsula, less than an hour’s drive from the metropolitan hustle of Naples.

Hiking enthusiasts and groups mark the trails, typically with painted strokes of varying colors, and maintain them so they are easy to follow from start to finish. All told, there are more than 12 miles of designated hiking paths in the area, taking hikers through mosaics of brightly painted buildings, narrow cobbled walkways, picturesque churches, and up and down steep paths along the foothills of majestic mountains that jut out from the azure waters below.

For example, one easy-to-moderate trail for hiking enthusiasts travels from the town of Marina del Cantone to Punto Penna — a spit of land with a sandy beach — meanders through the charming town of Nerano, with its pastel pink and yellow buildings, and past olive groves, with netting bunched under the trees to catch the succulent crop come harvest season.


 

On the QT

Directions

ward Salerno. Exit at Castellammare di Stabia and follow signs to Sorrento. When near Sorrento, follow the brown markers to Marina del Cantone. SITA public buses also go from Sorrento to Nerano Cantone via Sant’Agata, about a 50-minute ride. You can board at any of the bus stops along the route.

Times

Daylight hours, but carry a flashlight and proper clothing, not to mention energy-packed snacks, just in case the walk ends up longer than

Costs

There is no charge for walking the trails. Tickets for SITA buses are based on time traveled: 2 euros for 45 minutes, 3 euros for 90, 6 euros for 24 hours and 15 euros for three days.

Food

Several of Campania region hiking paths meander through towns, so there’s always a restaurant or coffee bar to hit somewhere along the trail. But bring snacks.

Information

If looking for a good trail to tackle, several travel books have detailed descriptions (I like Lonely Planet’s "Walking in Italy") and an Internet search turns up a number of hits.


A glimpse of the town of Nerano with its pastel-colored buildings is seen from the hiking trail above it. The trail went through the town and then up a hill toward Punto Penna.

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