Tuesday, 24 July 2018


Giovanni Visetti's updated hiking map of the tip of the Sorrento Peninsula, (the territories of Massa Lubrense and Sorrento), is now also available online, as always for free. You can download it in HD (5300x5000 pixels) in both .jpg and .gif format (the latter is lighter and better quality, but not all smartphones handle it well).
As already mentioned in my previous post this map has various innovations,  not only compared to the 2013 edition (until a few weeks ago still in distribution  and probably still available here and there) but also compared to the 2016 version you can see on the boards in the villages and along the roads.
The main updates are as follows:
Giro di Santa Croce (map on the right) - the nearby Selve and Vuallariello (already present on the 2016 boards, but not on the 2013 map) have been included  and together with the previous Termini to San Costanzo route form the aforementioned circuit. This is one of the suggested itineraries although signage is still lacking. The original route was Via del Monte - Belvedere Mitigliano - Vetavole - CAI300, with the ascent and descent via San Costanzo. Now the route goes to Cercito - Selve - Vuallariello and, once you get to Vetavole,  back via Belvedere Mitigliano, thus forming a loop and avoiding having to go there and back. Obviously, you can  still go to San Costanzo via the CAI
300 trail (directly towards the pinewood) or via the CAI 00, going up the ridge and then down past the VOR fence (mistakenly called "radar").
Casa Perella - Olivella - Acquacarbone - Lamia replaces Li Schisani. In effect the itinerary between Sant'Agata and Sorrento varies only between Pagliaio di Santolo (the upper entrance of the Hotel Iaccarino where the new and hopefully provisional sign  has been placed), and via Crocevia, (crossing Li Schisani, a few tens of meters from the church of Santa Maria del Toro); the remaining parts remain the same.
Spina - this dangerous and very rough stretch of the CAI 300 - Alta Via dei Monti Lattari trail between the pinewood of Monte di Monticchio and Recommone has been marked  on the map with a series of red "xxx"s, meaning "path in poor condition" - " trail in very poor condition ". The alternative proposed (and created by the CAI) is the vic. Monti, which connects the  pine grove to  Via Spina. The path represents the initial part of the new CAI 355 route - Variante Spina, and is therefore highlighted as a CAI path.
The main ones are evidenced with a red diagonal grid.
Among these we have:
Li Schisani (itinerary S. Agata - Sorrento) - consider that there is little hope that this will ever be repaired and that  the Acquarbone path has now been cleared.
Fontanella (itinerary Massa Lubrense - Sorrento) - the biggest and one that  despite multiple promises of a quick resolution, is unlikely to be sorted in the near future.  However, take note that in practice you can actually pass over the landslide quite safely, at least when the terrain is dry.
Sant'Anna - a couple of years ago the project was planned and approved, but then, finding  the situation more complicated than expected, further geological investigations were considered necessary and so here too it is going to take a long time.This is an extremely interesting route, running parallel to the only perennial water course of Massa Lubrense, and thanks also to  the presence of an ancient mill (theoretically open to visitors).
The map does not include  the landslide at via Fontana di Nerano (which you can get round with a slight deviation) nor the one at via Pantano. It seems that work on  the latter will be imminent because, being  small  and close to the main road, it is easily accessible.
There are many more historical paths  that have been abandoned and that have fallen into oblivion although still technically classified as municipal thoroughfares. These deserve more attention and better care, representing as they do a potential added value to  rural tourism and hiking in this area.
The above is a loose translation of Giovanni Visetti's recent blog

Thursday, 19 July 2018


Good news! A new edition of Giovanni Visetti's map of hiking trails in the Sorrento Peninsula has just been published and distributed, not only updated by him to include the two more recent "new entries", Acquacarbone (S.Agata to Sorrento via Olivella and Acquacarbone instead of Li Schisani)  and Giro di Santa Croce (instead of Termini - San Costanzo via Belvedere Mitigiliano), but also highlighting pre-existing paths that are no longer viable (most of
them which have been closed for years and are unlikely to be re-opened any time in the near future). They are available in the local tourist offices and they are free.
This map is definitely a must for anyone intending to hike in this area. It is by far the most accurate and, whilst unfortunately the state of the trails does not necessarily match the quality of the map, you will at least stand a good chance of not getting lost and be able to enjoy our spectacular countryside.
Which brings me onto another point, and a sore one at that: the woeful condition of many of our paths. Just the other week  the Deputy Mayor of Massa Lubrense was talking enthusiastically about how they were spending the money from the Tourist Tax: on a better bus service for the summer months, on the paths, on new playgrounds (including one with a swing for the disabled), on road maintenance and special summer events, and all this without asking for a cent from the local residents!
Whilst not wanting to discuss the state of our roads or enter into the merits (and cost) of the numerous concerts, book presentations, culinary events and festivals which are hopefully  delighting visitors and locals alike, maybe it would have been better had she kept the paths out of it.  If it wasn't for groups of volunteers and a few local associations, most of the more popular itineraries would be completely off limits, overgrown by vegetation and thick with brambles or blocked by fallen trees, and this notwithstanding the fact that there is a position within the local government specifically dedicated to the local trails and their maintenance. 
Take the Santa Croce loop... the sign at the start of Via Cercito has slipped right down the pole and is virtually out of sight, the ceramic tile marking the start of the track has completely disappeared, and until a couple of weeks ago when volunteers stepped in, it was getting increasingly difficult to pass at all. 
Let us also talk about signage. New routes require new signs. Where are they? Take Acquacarbone.. the local Proloco tourist office took matters into its own hands the other day and put up a rudimentary sign indicating the way. Not professional looking admittedly, but highly effective and better than nothing.
What the powers that be don't seem to realise is that although this area is richly endowed with splendid scenery and a myriad of trails, it all needs maintaining. You cannot just rest on your laurels, confident that people will keep on coming just because it is beautiful, has good food and is on the TV weekend after weekend. Word will get around that the traffic to get here is appalling, parking tricky and expensive, public bathrooms generally nowhere to be found, trail maintenance  non-existent or minimal, signage poor or out of date, and so I could go on. There are numerous areas elsewhere, both in Italy (go to the Dolomites and you will see what I mean) and abroad, that are much better organised and equipped and which make the effort to keep it that way, probably realising that this kind of investment is more valid  and durable than a thousand one night stands. Probably cheaper too.
That said, please do not be put off from coming here to hike. It is a truly wonderful place, and  we will do our best to keep it that way. It is just that so much more could  and should be done by the local authorities. As Giovanni says in his latest blog, " there is a lot of talk and very little action" and that is what needs to change.