Sport & Nature

The path of lemons, the trail that connects Maiori to Minori

An easy itinerary that joins the two coastal resorts and pays homage to the cultivation of Sfusato Amalfitano

By Anna Volpicelli

The wind blows lightly and, in its slow movement, also carries the scent of saltiness that blends with lemons. Each step leads a little higher until it reaches the point where the gaze loses itself in the immensity of its landscape: a parade of lemon gardens draws the way to the sea. We are on the path of the lemons, the historical path that connects Maiori to Minori. 

In the past, the only way

Even before the construction of the Amalfitana, this was the only walkable route that connected the two towns. “For centuries, peasants walked on this path with lemon bags on their backs the shipped to reach Spain and other countries,” says Michele Ruocco, member of the Proloco of Minori and promoter of the path. This area has the highest concentration of terraces where the famous Sfusato Amalfitano is cultivated.  “When the SS 163 was built, this road was left in oblivion. The farmers, however, preserved the plantations, and it is thanks to them and their work that today it is still one of the most evocative paths of the Amalfi Coast.”

The street signs on the path of lemons

The spirit of sharing

There are about 400 big 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, the trail follows via Vena, and step after step, it 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 of the gardens, which today are closed, we’re constantly open, and on the entrance was placed a small table with fruit, wine, and lemonades that anyone could take. Today, this is no longer possible because of the huge number of tourists, even though there are those who still sometimes leave the gate open”.

The work of valorization

The path, then, leads to the village Torre, wherein the small square of San Michele, there is the church of San Michele Arcangelo, dating back to 936. Continuing on this street, we arrive at the belvedere of the “mortella,” a panoramic terrace overlooking the sea and the Gulf of Salerno. From this point begins the descent towards Minori. Over the years, farmers and the members of the Proloco of Minori have worked to enhance the lemon path. They understood the historical and cultural value of this heritage and have put practices to protect and safeguard the entire ecosystem. “In 1991, we began in a more structured way a real campaign to promote and enhance the path. This stretch is part of the history of all of us. Not only of people who live in Minori and Maiori but of all the inhabitants of the Amalfi Coast,” says Ruocco. 

Lemon garden on the lemon path, courtesy of Proloco of Minori

The detour to Ravello

A few meters from the village of Torre, you 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 towards the Convent of San Nicola, from which, on sunny days, you can glimpse Capo d’Orso, and you can see the long Cilento Coast in the distance. We stop for a moment of pause, to savor with the body the enchantment that this stretch offers, and then continue to the village, home of the famous Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone. 

A cinematographic frame

The suggestive scenery of the path of lemons is not only a refuge for residents and tourists. It also captured the interest of characters from Italian cinema in the past. Some natural sceneries of the path have conquered the director Roberto Rossellini who chose these frames for some of his films, including Il Miracolo, L’Amore, Paisà, and Viaggio in Italia. An easy path that, step by step, tells a piece of the life of the Amalfi Coast. A story that opens up to those who know how to listen. 

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