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Torre dello Ziro

sunny 70 °F

After lunch in Pontone, we continue or hike on the spur that leads to the ruins of the ancient watchtower of Torre dello Ziro, perched on a promontory high above Amalfi and Atrani.

Ruins on the hillside

Ruins on the hillside

Heading up to Torre dello Ziro

Heading up to Torre dello Ziro

Plenty of stairs

Plenty of stairs

The ruins are built on several terraces on the promontory of Monte Aureo. We start by climbing up the the highest level at the summit of the mountain. We're treated to expansive views of Ravello, on the other side of the valley.

Ravello

Ravello

View from the top of Monte Aureo

View from the top of Monte Aureo

Villa Cimbrone at Ravello, on the high escarpment

Villa Cimbrone at Ravello, on the high escarpment

Below us to the south is the town of Atrani.

Atrani far below

Atrani far below

Ruins of the old fortification

Ruins of the old fortification

Atrani

Atrani

The tower itself is supposedly haunted and avoided by locals, with a story about a madwoman ("La Pazza") who was once imprisoned here. That doesn't seem to deter the young lovers we find stretched out on blankets behind a grassy hill.

Torre dello Ziro

Torre dello Ziro

At this point, we realize we missed one of the terraces...the one that gives the best view of the tower. We decide to backtrack back up Monte Aureo.

We need to climb to that column to get the best view

We need to climb to that column to get the best view

Looking toward the town of Scala

Looking toward the town of Scala

The climb back up is worth it...once we reach the column, we have a spectacular view of the ruins below us, with the town of Atrani to the left and Amalfi to the right.

View from the column above Torre dello Ziro

View from the column above Torre dello Ziro

Atrani on the left, Amalfi on the right

Atrani on the left, Amalfi on the right

From here, we hike back to Pontone, and the stairs down to Amalfi.

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Posted by Zukini 16:52 Archived in Italy Tagged torre_dello_ziro Comments (0)

Spending a day in Amalfi

overcast 68 °F

Monday, it's a little chilly and overcast. The weather forecast is for rain, so, while we would like to head up to the Sentiero degli Dei, we decide to wait a day for better weather, and stick around Amalfi. We spend most of our day just strolling around, and decide to walk along the seafront from the north side of Amalfi down to Atrani.

The day is mostly overcast and drizzly, so we're glad we didn't make the hike to the Path of the Gods today.

North Side of Amalfi

North Side of Amalfi

North side of Amalfi

North side of Amalfi

Carrying lemons down from the groves.

Carrying lemons down from the groves.

View of Amalfi from the Marina

View of Amalfi from the Marina

Our apartment is in the building on the right.

Our apartment is in the building on the right.

Torre dello Ziro

Torre dello Ziro

A couple steals a few moments by the sea

A couple steals a few moments by the sea

Heading toward Atrani

Heading toward Atrani

Fishing from the jetty near Atrani

Fishing from the jetty near Atrani

Waiting for the fish to bite.

Waiting for the fish to bite.

A couple enjoys the beach, despite the chilly weather.

A couple enjoys the beach, despite the chilly weather.

The beach at Atrani

The beach at Atrani

The beach at Atrani

The beach at Atrani

The beach at Atrani

The beach at Atrani

Evening on the Piazza

Evening on the Piazza

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Posted by Zukini 20:15 Archived in Italy Tagged amalfi Comments (0)

Sentiero degli Dei - The Path of the Gods

sunny 74 °F

This morning, we're catching bus to Bomerano in Agerola, the trailhead for the Path of the Gods, an old path that threads the ridge between Bomerano and Nocelle.

First order of business is the to catch the bus. Amalfi is the central bus hub for the area, with a large bus plaza. There's a secret code here that we've yet to break. We know what time our bus is supposed to leave, but non of the many buses waiting here have their destination displayed. We ask the various folks in uniform to tell us which is the bus to Bomerano, but can't get a straight answer. Finally, at the last possible moment before closing its doors, one of the buses puts "Ageroloa" up on the destination board, but by that time the bus is packed with people who have been initiated in the secret lore of deciphering buses. We barely squeeze on, and the bus starts heading up through the switchbacks to Bomerano.

Alighting at Bomerano, it's easy to find the trail head. Just follow the people with backpacks and walking sticks. We stop at a small store and the proprietor is happy to fix us up with a picnic lunch and a few bottles of water.

The town of Bomerano

The town of Bomerano

The entrance to the trail is pretty well marked, and the views are simply staggeringly beautiful.

Start of the Sentiero degli Dei trail

Start of the Sentiero degli Dei trail

Literally, a goat trail along the mountain ridge

Literally, a goat trail along the mountain ridge

View from the trail

View from the trail

The official start of the trail

The official start of the trail

View of Sentiero degli Dei

View of Sentiero degli Dei

A local mule keeps an eye on us

A local mule keeps an eye on us

View of the Amalfi coast from high above

View of the Amalfi coast from high above

The trail is well maintained and pretty manageable. There are rough cut steps in some spots, and some uneven footing and loose stone in others, but it's not a difficult ascent. It is pretty exposed though, so we're glad we held out for clear weather.

Sentiero degli Dei

Sentiero degli Dei

The trail gets rough in spots

The trail gets rough in spots

High above Vettica Maggiore

High above Vettica Maggiore

We reach the saddle of Colle della Serra, which is where you make a choice of taking the "upper" or "lower" path. We decide on the upper path, and are immediately rewarded by meeting a goat herd bringing his flock down, under the eye of his watchful shepherd dog.

The pass of Colle della Serra

The pass of Colle della Serra

Capri in the far distance

Capri in the far distance

Ruins of farmhouses

Ruins of farmhouses

Positano Overlook

Positano Overlook

See those tourists in the above photo? They're a German man and two women who are hiking the trail together. I confess, we become a little annoyed, as they're monopolizing a prime spot for viewing Positano from the trail, and give no indication of moving anytime soon. They'll figure back into this story very shortly.

View of Positano

View of Positano

Positano far below

Positano far below

Cliffs full of eagle nests

Cliffs full of eagle nests

The trail along the ridge

The trail along the ridge

While we'd like to linger, the trio is still hogging up the overlook, so we decide to trek a little further down path to a shady spot to tuck into the delicious paninis we purchased in Bomerano. As we sit in the shade, munching our lunch, we suddenly see the German man from the overlook come running down the trail. He doesn't say a word as he blazes past us. We don't see either of his companions. A short time later, a young hiker comes down the trail in the same direction. He speaks English, and we tell him about the runner, and ask if something had happened back up the trail. He tells us that one of the women in the trio has dislocated her knee, and that her husband is running to Nocelle to get help.

We had the foresight to purchase an Italian SIM card for our cell phone before the trip, so I dial for help. Although I know Italian pretty well, it's difficult to communicate the exact circumstances to the emergency personnel, since I haven't studied the Italian for "dislocated", or "knee", or "trail marker", but I eventually make myself understood. I'm told that an emergency team will be dispatched from Nocelle, but it may take some time to get there.

We backtrack up the trail to find the injured party, and we do find her and her companion not far from the Positano overlook. Her leg and knee is horribly swollen, and she is lying in the full sun, but she simply can't be moved. They speak a little English, and I let them know that emergency services are on the way, and offer them water and provisions. the assure me they are alright, and that we should continue on our way. Reluctantly, we head back down the trail, but this incident has taken the enjoyment out of our walk, as all we can think about is that poor woman in agony.

As we descend toward Nocelle, we meet the exhausted husband, making his way back up. We let him know that help is on the way..he lets us know that he met a trail guide who had promised to send help from Nocelle.

A bit further along, we run into the emergency crew, carrying a stretcher. They are proceeding at a pretty leisurely pace. We stop and explain to them where the injured party can be found, and inquire as to how they will get her down the trail on a stretcher. They laugh, and explain that they will need to have a helicopter fly in to extract her from the trail, and that this is the second injury they've needed to do that for this week.

As we finally arrive in Nocelle, we spot the Kiosk of the Path of the Gods, which is a place to get refreshments...

End of the line!

End of the line!

...and the helicopter, on its way to extract the injured woman from the trail. All told, I believe she must have been lying there for at least 90 minutes.

Helicopter coming in for the rescue

Helicopter coming in for the rescue

Now that we've reached Nocelle, we stop at a small bar for a quick snack and some fresh water. The proprietor offers to sell us tickets for the bus to Positano. The time spent assisting the injured woman has put us in a time crunch to catch the evening ferry from Positano, so although we had planned on walking the stairs down to Positano, we decide it would be more expeditious to take the bus.

Prettiest view from a bus stop, ever.

Prettiest view from a bus stop, ever.

We make it to the dock in Positano just as they are letting the last passengers aboard.

Just made it to the boat back to Amalfi!

Just made it to the boat back to Amalfi!

Passing the ridge we hiked along

Passing the ridge we hiked along

Return to Amalfi

Return to Amalfi

If there's anything we've learned today, it's that we should never travel without a good travel insurance package!

Tonight is Taverna di Masaniello's weekly day off, so we eat at Ristorante Al Teatro instead. We're very unimpressed, especially after the wonderful way Andrea and Pietro have been treating us.

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Posted by Zukini 20:29 Archived in Italy Tagged sentiero_degli_dei path_of_the_gods bomerano nocelle agerola Comments (0)

Wrapping up with a day in Rome

Alas, our sojourn in Amalfi has come to an end. We take the ferry from Amalfi down to Salerno, where we'll catch our train to Rome.

Today, the 67 passenger luxury yacht "Le Ponant" is in port. From what I read of its history, it has a claim to fame, having been seized by Somali pirates in 2008.

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The trip to Rome is relatively short, and we check in to our hotel, the Boutique Hotel Nazionale. We have a small dispute with management...the toilet is leaking on the floor in the room we are given, and the only other available room is normally reserved for emergencies. We can see why...it's large, but has no windows and is not in pristine condition. We take it anyway.

We've been to Rome several times before, so our intent for this short stay is to just catch up on a few sites we haven't yet had the opportunity to see.

We start off with the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, built on the ruins of the Baths of Diocletian. The church is quite remarkable, and has an amazing feature...built into the floor is a long brass rail that marks off days of the year. Up in a high corner is a tiny peephole. Each day, the sunlight passes through the peephole, and casts it's light onto the rail, marking the day of the year.

Santa Maria Degli Angeli - Baths of Diocletian

Santa Maria Degli Angeli - Baths of Diocletian

Skylight

Skylight

Solar Calendar

Solar Calendar

Solar Calendar

Solar Calendar

The Lens

The Lens

Ruins of the baths

Ruins of the baths

From there, we visit the crypt of the Capuchin Monks on Via Veneto. Unlike some other tourists, we respect the "no photography" rule, but photos are readily available via a quick web search. The tour has been modernized, and now begins with a walk through of the museum dedicated to the history of the Franciscan Friars before descending into the crypt. There are no guides anymore, which is a pity, because now there's nothing to stop loud tourists from laughing and making jokes while posing with the bones.

We spend our time wandering around Rome, looking for interesting things that haven't caught our eyes before. We happily enjoy a sandwich, carved fresh off the roasted pig at Er Buchetto....

Porchetta carved right off the pig

Porchetta carved right off the pig

...and stop in to the Basilca of Santa Maria Maggiore.

Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore

Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore

Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore

Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore

Crypt of the Nativity

Crypt of the Nativity

Reliquary containing wood from the Manger of Christ

Reliquary containing wood from the Manger of Christ

We also swing by San Pietro in Vincoli. A baptism of a dignitary is in process, so much of the church is off-limits, but we're able to get a photo of Michelangelo's Moses from a distance.

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..and with that, our short trip to Rome is complete. Tomorrow, we'll take the Leonardo Express to the airport, and head home..but not before our annual photo of Spiderman. This time, we catch him hanging out on the Ponte Sisto.

Spiderman!

Spiderman!

Until next time, Ciao!

Posted by Zukini 12:22 Archived in Italy Tagged rome Comments (0)

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