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Monday, 15 June 2015

Massa Lubrense to Sorrento - an update on the state of Via Fontanelle plus an idea for a circular hike.


Following the landslide on 4th March 2014 which took away a substantial stretch of Via Fontanelle together with a couple of houses, one of the paths from Massa Lubrense to Capo di Sorrento, part of red route 1 of the Progetto Tolomeo (Giovanni Visetti's map), was for a while inaccessible, since as you came out onto the road from the footpath, straight ahead of you was a glaring gap where the road had once been.  

To be honest, it didn't take long for an alternative itinerary to be devised, (more of that later), and having heard that work had at last begun on repairing the damage, I decided it was time to go and take a look.So on Sunday we set off from the centre of  Massa Lubrense, taking first a picturesque detour via the fishing harbour of Marina Lobra before strolling along the seafront to San Montano, walking up to the main road and  joining the official red route at the rough steps going steeply up to the right just after the bend .
From the path at the top there are some great views of Capri peeping out from behind the headland before you come out onto   a fairly narrow lane. Passing olive trees and lemon groves,  you will eventually come to another flight of steps, this time going down. In damp or wet weather these can be  lethal , but for once they were beautifully dry and the next stretch of path was surprisingly well maintained and clear of vegetation.
Once back on the paved road, we quickly emerged at the scene of the landslide. This was not a pretty sight, but it was evident that work had begun and was progressing, with a newly created dirt track  for the trucks and diggers to move the debris downhill for loading onto the bigger lorries waiting on the main road. Being Sunday all was quiet. 
There was absolutely no way that you would want to attempt to cross the landslide, even were it allowed, so we turned up the road following the indications for blue route 1, past the station of the cross and through the wide gap in the orange netting used to discourage (but evidently not prevent) access. 
I had heard that you could cut through a private olive grove to shorten the other significantly  longer detour via Li Simoni, so once round the bend, as soon as we spied a rough dirt track leading steeply up to the left between a gap in the kerbstones, we took it. This led us very quickly into a clearing with a few olive trees and a large house to our right. We ventured a few metres further on and there down to our left was the other side of the original road. It took literally a couple of minutes.
Back onto the pre-landslide route, rather than continuing on to Sorrento, we walked down to Capo,  back for a couple of hundred metres along the main road, direction Massa Lubrense, before heading down to Puolo and the beach.
We had been hoping for a refreshing swim there, but it was like hell on earth - rows and rows of sunbeds and garish sun umbrellas, people everywhere. It was chaos. So we pressed on and walked back to Massa with just ourselves, the olive trees and the views for company.





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