An easy-going itinerary that links the two coastal towns and pays homage to the cultivation of Sfusato Amalfitano
April 17th, 2023, by Anna Volpicelli
The wind blows lightly and, in its slow movement, also carries the scent of saltiness that mingles with that of lemons. Each step takes you a little higher and higher until you reach the point where your gaze is lost in the immensity of its landscape: a parade of lemon gardens draw the path that leads to the sea. We are on the lemon path, the historic route that connects Maiori to Minori.
In the past, the only way
Even before the construction of the Amalfitana, this was the only walkable route connecting the two towns. “For centuries, peasants walked on this path with lemon bags on their backs, which were then embarked to reach Spain and other countries,” says Michele Ruocco, member of the Proloco of Minori and promoter of the path.
The area with the highest concentration of lemon gardens is where the famous Sfusato Amalfitano is grown. “When the SS 163 was built, this road had been left oblivion. The farmers, however, preserved the plantations, and it is thanks to them and their work it is still one of the most picturesque paths on the Amalfi Coast today.”
The spirit of sharing
There are about 400 large ones that characterize the 3-kilometer route that starts from the collegiate church of Santa Maria a Mare in Maiori, the church represented by its majolica dome. From here, one follows Via Vena and, step after step, passes through lemon groves and flower gardens.
“Twenty years ago,” says Ruocco, “the lemons that covered the street were public property, and anyone could pick them. The doors to the gardens, which are closed today, were constantly open, and a small table was set up at the entrance with fruit, wine, and lemonades that anyone could take. It is no longer possible today given the huge influx of tourists, although some occasionally leave the gate open.“
The exploitation of the land
Walking on, one reaches the Torre village, where the small square of St. Michael is home to the Church of St. Michael the Archangel, dating back to 936. Continuing along this street, one arrives at the belvedere of the “mortella” a panoramic terrace that overlooks the sea and opens onto the Gulf of Salerno. From this point, the descent to Minori begins.
The path has been enhanced over the years thanks not only to the farmers but also to the members of the Proloco of Minori, who understood the historical and cultural value of this heritage and implemented practices to protect and safeguard the entire ecosystem.
“In 1991, we began a real campaign in a more structured way to promote and enhance the trail. This stretch is part of the history of all of us, not only of those who live in Minori and Maiori but of all the inhabitants of the Amalfi Coast,” says Ruocco.
The detour to Ravello
A few meters from the village of Torre, one can decide to continue to Minori or take the detour to the right that leads to Ravello. If you choose the second option, you go up toward the Convent of San Nicola, from which, on sunny days, you can catch a glimpse of Capo d’Orso, and see the long Cilento Coast in the distance. You pause for a moment to savor the enchantment this stretch offers with your body and then continue to the village, home to the famous Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone.
A cinematic setting
The evocative scenery of the Lemon Trail is not just a haven for residents and tourists alike. In the past, it also captured the interest of Italian film personalities. Some of the trail’s natural settings captivated director Roberto Rossellini, who chose these frames for his films, including Il Miracolo, L’Amore, Paisà, and Viaggio in Italia. An easy path that, step by step, tells a piece of Amalfi Coast life. A story that opens to those who know how to listen.