The Romans named the fertile landscape in southern Italy: Campania felix: Happy Plain. Originally this referred only to the plain around Naples and the mountainous peninsula of Sorrento. The volcanic, fertile soil allows the cultivation of tropical fruits and wine. The Cilento National Park, with its original landscape and many ancient sites, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as the historic center of Naples, the Amalfi Coast and the archaeological sites of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata. Parts of Campania are geologically restless and are shaken by recurrent earthquakes. Mount Vesuvius near Naples is an active volcano.
Where the modern world ends.
A local saying is: Cristo si è fermato a Eboli (Christ only came to Eboli). This is how the Italian author Carlo Levi named his autobiographical novel, which describes poverty in Southern Italy at the beginning of the 20th century. According to his book, the farmers of Campania live in prehistoric times and are dominated by superstition and resignation. Among other things, he writes: “The only building that meets metropolitan standards is a urinal frequented only by pigs and children, a single person often used it for the purpose to which it was built, and that was me; As I must admit, I was not driven by a need, but only by homesickness. ”
Roman place of worship and stalactite cave
One can access the 35 million year old limestone cave south of Pertosa only by boat. Once inside you travel 300 meters through the cave on the “black river” (Fiume negro) before you get off. The short tour takes an hour. A more detailed tour is also available: it takes about two hours and leads through huge cavities and tunnels to a small chapel. Before it was dedicated to Archangels Michael by the Christians, the Grotto was used as a place of worship by the Greeks and Romans
Beach along the cobalt-blue sea
This small cove at the end of the Sorrento Peninsula beckons with a beach that can only be reached by foot from Nerano. If you start in Massa Lubrense, you can admire the cobalt-blue sea on both sides of the ridge and gaze across the water at Mount Vesuvius, Ischia or Salerno. You can reach the trailhead by taking a bus or taxi from Nerano. (4 hrs, 8.2 km, elevation gain: 210 m, loss: 320 m)
Hiking trip to Europe's most dangerous volcano
The only active volcano on the European mainland is regarded as Mount Doom after destroying the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 AD. To date, the double volcano is one of the most dangerous burning mountains in the world. After long periods of rest violent eruptions can occur – a constant threat to the metropolis of Naples, which lies just a few kilometers to the northwest. For this reason seismographs are everywhere. They are so sensitive that they even respond to the body heat of visitors. A good road winds its way up to the summit. From the parking area a 45-minute walk leads to the crater. (1:30 hrs, 4.1 km, elevation change: 170 m)
Legendary Roman town on Vesuvius
In 79 AD Vesuvius buried the Roman city under a twelve-meter-thick layer of ash and pumice. At that time Pompeii was 600 years old. From the ancient Greek settlement on an old lava flow of Vesuvius, Pompeii had become a Roman town that became a refuge for the heat-afflicted rich in summer. Pompeii had a theater, an Odeon and an arena. 13 public brothels were discovered during the excavations.
After its rediscovery in the 18th century the city's second story began, namely as the most important and largest archaeological site in Europe. Today a three-kilometer trail along the city walls provides a good overview of the excavated city.
A place for lovers and romantics
Both romantics and lovers are drawn to the western tip of the Sorrento Peninsula. You can walk from Termini to Punta, where an Athenian temple once stood, by taking an old Roman road called the Via Minerva. You can take a break in Punta and gaze at Capri in the distance. (round trip: 2:30 hrs, 6.4 km, elevation change: 390 m)
Immortalized by writers, musicians and painters
For more than 2000 years sunsets, orange- and lemon-gardens have brought visitors from around the world to the peninsula on the Gulf of Naples. Legend has it that already Odysseus had been misled by the song of the sirens in ancient Surrentum. When he defied their control after all, they turned into the rock of Li Galli which emerges from the sea near Positano. Writers, musicians and painters have immortalized the place. The tip of the Sorrentine Peninsula lies just five kilometers from Capri, which can be easily reached from the port of Marina Piccola. A trip to Ischia and Procida, whose silhouettes can be made out on a clear day, takes no time at all by speedboat. The Circumvesuviana train takes visitors to Pompeii and Herculaneum or Naples.