Green

In the name of mother nature

Three ways to experience ecotourism in the divine Coast

By Priscilla Santos Da Silva

According to The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), ecotourism can be defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that preserve the environment, support the well-being of the local population and involve interpretation and education.” Ecotourism and sustainable tourism are directly linked, one is the relationship of leisure in contact with nature, and the other emphasizes the way to face and experience the journey.

Furore zipline, courtesy of the company

The sky is the limit, and to feel in heaven, look down

There are different ways to planning your holiday on the Amalfi Coast in line with the ecotourism principles. For example, to get an idea, take the path that connects Furore to Conca Dei Marini by flying. ZipLine is a private association born from the mountain. It offers a way of experiencing the Coast beyond the beaches. It goes away from the hustle and bustle of the famous cities such as Positano and Amalfi. The Zipline is a new attraction. It is a steel cable that connects Furore to Conca Dei Marini and allows the guest to explore and enjoy the landscape by flying. Thanks to a special harness that protects the body, you abandon yourself to the force of gravity supported by the steel cable that runs along the gorge of the Fiordo di Furore, giving moments of pure emotion and breathtaking views.

A new  route

The founder of this project is the engineer Massimo Boccia, now furorese by adoption. His encounter with this territory has distant roots. Ever since, as a teenager, he began to visit the Amalfi Coast, falling in love with Furore and Conca Dei Marini. And it is in this context that his project was born. It could rightly be defined as an act of silent, stubborn rebellion in wanting to reverse the concept of tourism in a territory that has permanently been excluded from the interest of visitors, who have privileged the most popular locations on the Amalfi Coast instead.

A night flight

The structure was designed to meet specific standards to make it a unique construction, distinguishing it from all the others present nationally. Zipline is the only organization, in fact, that offers a journey from the mountain to the sea, giving the user the feeling of flying towards the blue waves of the Gulf of Salerno. Flying outdoors can also be done at night, a unique experience full of romance, which gives the thrill of flying following the trail of the stars. It flutters “while seated” and, while the person admires the landscape all around, often, almost always, the peregrine falcon, the undisputed lord of this stretch of sky, keeps him company.

The journey as a means

The Amalfi Coast is known for its beautiful beaches. The colorful landscape between houses, lemons, and mountains, the view from the “low” places is incredible, but it is something surprising and something relatively “new” from the high ones. Thus, was born the engineer’s idea to bring people to know the mountains and see the Amalfi Coast from a different angle. “A very ambitious project, it took years to obtain the permit. It started with great caution,” says Boccio. The company also brings innovation: “It is the only cableway that has both tubes, forming a parallel itinerary. Its structure was assembled with a mechanism that goes from the mountain to the sea”. The zipline flight lasts one and a half minutes. The departure station is in the locality of Schiato (Municipality of Furore) and the arrival in Punta Tavola.

The mountain is the new beach

Ecotourism does not only involve nature; it goes further, embracing local populations. It makes the economy flow and leads the people to rediscover often forgotten places. And this is Cartotrekking‘s proposal. Valentina Sannino, excursion guide and member of Cartotrekking, reports that the idea of sustainable and adventurous tourism has gradually emerged. It all started 12 years ago with a blog focused on coastal paths, which gave tourists directions on how to get to know the region better. The cartographer and today hiker and founder of the initiative is Michele Inserra. “A few years ago, the French and Germans were walking through these sentiments alone – says Valentina – Michele saw that the requests were gradually increasing, and he combined his direct experience with his words, starting to propose trekking routes. From the Amalfi Coast, the routes extended to the islands, up to the Sorrentine peninsula”.

Beyond nature

The routes are precisely designed, and the offer goes from the classic itineraries to educational, ecological, and cultural tours. People learn about the Amalfi lifestyle and the local reality by visiting a vineyard on top of the mountain with a view or tasting a fior di latte directly in Agerola. Valentina also stresses that setting an example is essential during walks. “As we lead the group sometimes we collect some objects thrown or abandoned on the path trying to set a good example.”

A trekking tour with Cartotrekking, courtesy of the company

Experiences for everyone

Cartotrekking offers different types of tours. For the more experienced and sporty ones, to those for beginners. The Grotta dello Smeraldo, for instance, combines the mountains and the sea in a single tour. “The Italians prefer this one,” emphasizes Valentina. Among the most popular routes, Path of the Gods, the Valley of the Mills, and the most diverse such as Punta Campanella and Monte Faito. “Cartotrekking aims to cultivate the authentic Amalfi Coast,” says Valentina. The collaborators are all certified hiking guides, and each of them has a different background. The team also includes architects, cartographers, agronomists, athletes.

A dip in the fauna and flora of the Amalfi Coast

Another way to experience ecotourism on the Amalfi Coast is through the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. In Praiano, Gaetano Milano, diving instructor of the most different levels is the founder of the Centro Sub Costiera Amalfitana company. Milano, who has already trained sailors, military, and athletes, is proud to say that the center was born in the 1980s to teach to residents, tourists, and anyone else interested. Today the company also offers activities for children. “The sea caves are the place where there is the greatest concentration of fish, octopuses, and Mediterranean flora,” explains Milan. Among the most popular marine routes there are Conca Dei Marini, Marina di Praia, the Grotta dello Smeraldo. The Costa d’ Amalfi is a growing destination, offering travel styles increasingly based on the safeguarding and enhancement of its territory.

Useful information:

Zipline, tel. +39.089.22.6068 – 089.2027209, ziplineitalia.it

Cartotrekking, tel. +39.371.175.8097, email: info@cartotrekking.com, cartotrekking.com

Centro Sub Costiera Amalfitana, tel. +39.333.99.32.210 – 329.68.74.980, email: info@centrosud.it, centrosud.it

(Translation by Michela Pandolfi)

 

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