If you want to unplug and dive into the nature, Nerano is the ideal place. Do you know this hamlet on the Sorrento peninsula?
Nerano, the seafaring village
About 70 km from Naples, between the Amalfi Coast and the Sorrento Coast, lies the village of Nerano, perched on a rocky cliff. Thanks to its position, this small hamlet in the municipality of Massa Lubrense boasts breathtaking views of the sea and of the archipelago called "Li Galli" - belonging to the municipality of Positano, in the province of Salerno - as well as romantic sunsets reflected on a wonderful stretch of water.
This picturesque seaside hamlet, known to be a small and characteristic fishing village, offers non-mass tourism, therefore quieter and relaxing and in contact with nature still uncontaminated and wild, but not without wonders. Nerano, as mentioned above, is not part of the typical tourist itineraries but offers us hidden landscapes that give access to the treasures of the Amalfi Coast.
In fact, due to its geographical position, it is located in the most isolated and ventilated point of the whole Sorrento Coast and its uncontaminated landscape is characterized by cliffs overhanging the sea and secular olive groves of particular beauty. Nerano rises a few steps away from the famous Punta della Campanella, a promontory and marine protected area since 1997, which represents the final end that divides the Amalfi Coast from the Sorrento Coast.
The small village, nestled in the mountain, overlooks and dominates the pretty little harbor below. Presumably, it seems that the name Nerano itself is associated with Roman Emperor Nero, probably because of a villa he had built here for his leisure and vacation. Since Roman times, in fact, it has been a holiday destination not only for the inhabitants of the surrounding areas, but it has also been a place of attraction for tourists from all over the world thanks to its limpid sea, its coves, the rich Mediterranean vegetation lining the sea, the sheer cliffs, the seabed and the underwater caves of considerable natural and scenic interest.
Sea and Beaches
Nerano is a sort of ideal place from which we can begin an interesting exploratory visit to the beaches of the nearby Sorrentine and Amalfi coasts. The well-equipped resort offers a wide range of services to its visitors, who can take advantage of scenic boat trips, fishing tourism, diving and trekking.
Since Roman times, noble patrician families used to spend their holidays on this magnificent stretch of coastline. Nowadays, Nerano is still a favourite spot for locals, who come here from early spring until the end of October. It has free beaches and areas equipped with bathing establishments offering numerous services and restaurants that stand like pile dwellings built directly on the sea.
One of the places to visit is undoubtedly Marina del Cantone, a seaside village, reached by a steep road from Nerano and known for its pebble beaches and clear sparkling blue waters, which almost make you want to dive in for a swim. In addition, its rocky seabed and crystal-clear waters make it an ideal destination for those who love diving. Accessible either by car or by public transport, the beach has been awarded the blue flag and is one of the largest and most comfortable in the entire Sorrento peninsula.
The town has all the appearance of a quiet fishing village with boats that hark back to the traditions of the past. Even the seafront promenade retains an old-world charm, despite the presence of recent and more modern buildings. A panoramic path leads in about 10-15 minutes on foot to the more hidden and unique Baia di Recommone, a little piece of paradise with its pebbly beach of about 60 metres, ideal for those looking for a quiet place. This is a very special and evocative corner, sheltered from the wind, and characterised by the presence of two caves: the Grotta di Recommone and the Grotta dei Pescatori. The cool temperature of these two caves makes them a real refuge from the heat of summer days.
Also not to be missed is the fiord of Crapolla, a characteristic natural inlet situated between Recommone and Punta Taschiero, accessible by sea from Nerano or on foot from a path that starts at S. Agata sui due Golfi. An uncontaminated and limpid sea blends harmoniously with the historical heritage of the ancient civilisations present in this area.
The spectacular beach of Baia di Ieranto is located at the end of a long path that leads from Nerano to the extreme point of the Amalfi Coast, where it joins the Sorrento peninsula. It can only be reached on foot at the end of a 6 km long path, which must be well equipped with shoes, possibly trekking shoes, and the water necessary during the walk. The effort will be repaid by the beauty you will find yourself admiring once you reach your destination. The Baia di Ieranto is part of the Punta Campanella protected marine area managed by the FAI, with a large and rich variety of marine and terrestrial fauna. It retains all the original beauty of its unspoilt places and along the way, you will walk through small cultivated gardens, olive and citrus groves and you will also have the chance to admire the villa where the English writer Norman Douglas stayed.
Walking through the Baia di Ieranto you will be immersed in an experience that is, to say the least, unique in myth, in a naturalistic and botanical itinerary of Mediterranean maquis characterised by myrtle and juniper plants, from whose fragrant berries a traditional liqueur called rosolio is made. Although rather small in size, it boasts the peculiarity of offering the privilege of a bath in contemplation of the famous Faraglioni of Capri. Approximately in this area, important archaeological finds have been unearthed testifying to a very ancient past that tells us of the temple of the Sirens erected by the Greeks and later dedicated to the cult of Minerva by the Romans.
The promontory of Punta della Campanella
The rocky promontory of Punta della Campanella overlooks Capri and marks the boundary between the Sorrento and Amalfi coasts. It is considered one of the most suggestive and interesting protected areas in the Mediterranean. Completely overlooking the sea, this stretch of coastline takes us back to the ancient world thanks to the evidence and quotations of both Greek and Latin writers. The Greek historian, geographer, and philosopher Strabo tells us of a Temple of Athena, of which few remains survive. However, thanks to the comparison of numerous texts, ceramic and epigraphic findings, and the study of place names, it has been possible to state with consensus and probable certainty that the temple was located on this promontory. It is no coincidence that the temple, located in the immediate vicinity of the canal between the promontory and Capri, was linked to the cult of the goddess Athena, and later Minerva for the Romans, the protector of sailors.
Around the end of the 5th century B.C., the Samnites moved towards the coast of southern Italy and occupied the Sorrento Peninsula. Following the Samnite wars, this part of the territory became part of the imperial domains and in particular the property of Emperor Tiberius, who could reach his residence on the island of Capri from Punta Campanella. Today, the remains of a Roman villa on five levels of terracing are visible, on one of which Roberto D'Angiò ordered the construction of a watchtower in 1335 to protect against possible attacks from the sea. This is the Minerva Tower, still very well preserved, from which a bell was rung in case of enemy incursions. It is assumed that the name "Campanella" (in Italian "little bell") derives from this.
Today, the promontory of Punta della Campanella can be reached by a path connected to the Bay of Ieranto or, alternatively, above Marina del Cantone where another path starts.
Gastronomic tour of the excellence of Nerano
However, the real temptation for those arriving at Nerano is that of the palate. Almost all the restaurants dotted along the beach have enchanting terraces overlooking the sea. The fish dishes are excellent, but you should definitely try the typical Spaghetti alla Nerano. A traditional speciality generally prepared with courgettes and parmesan cheese all over the coast, in Nerano this recipe takes on a richer, creamier connotation thanks to the caciocavallo cheese or provolone del Monaco D.O.P. cheese strictly from the Sorrento peninsula. This delicious recipe was a favourite dish of the great Neapolitan actors Totò and Eduardo de Filippo, among the others.
Provolone del Monaco is a semi-hard aged cheese typical of the area. It is made exclusively from raw cow's milk (at least 20% from the Agerolese breed) and the rest from other breeds (Frisona, Brunalpina, Pezzata Rossa, Jersey, Podolica). Provolone cheese is characterised by a peculiar shape that reminds us of an elongated melon, divided into 6 faces. Its paste is very elastic, compact and uniform; the rind is thin and almost smooth and yellowish in colour. Buttery and sweet with a slightly spicy aftertaste, its flavour becomes more intense as it matures. A real treat for the palate, together with other local specialities.
Nature and unspoilt landscapes
Nerano is not only beaches and sea, but it also offers numerous opportunities to immerse oneself in the unspoilt nature of the surrounding mountains, through olive groves dating back to the time of the ancient Greeks who lived in the area. The path offers numerous panoramic views of the sea and the Faraglioni of Capri, and a leisurely walk is recommended so as not to miss even the smallest detail of the breathtaking panorama. The walk takes about an hour, but it is advisable to allow for a longer time so as to be able to admire the panorama and dive into the crystal-clear waters of the Bay of Ieranto. Scuba diving enthusiasts cannot fail to take advantage of the crystal-clear waters and beautiful seabed. The coast of Nerano should be enjoyed in its entirety, from the mountains to the sea, and from the sea itself, for exclusive dream tours.
MISAL – Sorrento Boat Charter
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