As mentioned in the previous article “Welcome to Amalfi “, today I will talk about that part of Amalfi that too often remains in the background. The Amalfi Coast is certainly a place rich in bays and coves, where the crystalline water is mistress. Along with this, however, there are also imposing mountains, in particular I am talking of the Lattari mountains, the Italian mountain range that forms the backbone of the Sorrento peninsula. Within this mountain range there is the “Natural Reserve of ironworks”. There are many paths through the Lattari Mountains with whom you can go to explore the reserve. I have embarked on the path called “red trail”, a journey that starts from the center of Amalfi and leading up to Pontone, within fern forests, accompanied by the sound of the stream “Canneto” passing through the remains of mills and ironworks. Precisely for this reason we speak of the valley of ironworks and mill valley. The ironworks were used to work the mineral that the ships of Amalfi came to load up to Tuscany, Apulia and Calabria, and the mills were used for the production of the famous Amalfi paper. The entrance of the valley is located at the top of Amalfi, in fact, the end of the “wrinkle mercatorum nova”, once past the gallery “wrinkle nova”, continuing on the main road you will arrive at the “Museum of Paper”(institute in 1969 in a paper mill dating back to the half of the thirteenth century. On the ground floor you can admire the old production tools of handmade paper, while upstairs there is a library with various texts on the history and the paper industry).
From here , turn right on “way to heaven”, leading to the entrance of the Valley of the ironworks. The route is now uphill, but do not worry, it is a struggle that will be amply rewarded. Going up, looking to your left you will enjoy the beautiful view made from lemon terraces that slope down to the valley floor. A show of unparalleled uniqueness and brainchild of centuries of hard work of the farmers and architects who modeled the impervious territory to their needs of farmers.
Moving up the look on the other side of the path you will see the picturesque village of Pogerola. On that day there wasn’t the classic clear June sky, but a sky flooded with low clouds, falling to the terraces of lemons, helping to create a more evocative atmosphere. If you look at a stranger a picture of that scene on that day, I doubt you can think of it as a shot of Amalfi.
While I was busy admiring the view, an old local man, he approached asking me and my traveling companions where we were going. I replied that we had as a destination the nature reserve of the ironworks, the man looked at us and sarcastically made us notice the difficulty of the course: an uphill walk of two and a half hours. Maybe we don’t transmitted confidence, because the man, smiling, told us to give up and turn back, since we could not succeed in our intent. Aware of humor man, we told him according to feel comfortable and carefree, because we were prepared and we could do our path, so we greeted the old man and walked, with still leading the nice man intimidation.
Continuing up the valley you can see on the left the remains of the imposing paper mill “Lucibello” and past a small staircase you come to the municipal reservoir.
From here begins the real mountain trail, and going through it, you come to the remains of the paper mill “Nolli”, completely wrapped in the grip of nature, which over time is reclaiming its own territorio. Walking along the path you realize how a once this place was to be an important resource for local people, who had done a small industrial center. after a few meters indeed, it exceeds the paper mill “Martino” and a former power station.
All along the trail there is the torrent Canneto, to cross with improvised wooden bridges in some points of the path and if you are fans like me of waterfalls you will see some nice jump and water plays.
Continuing up you will reach the old ironworks from which the name to the entire district.
The factory gave work to the entire district with a kind of specialization that saw the inhabitants of Scala involved in the production of charcoal, the precious fuel for the forges and, on the opposite side of the valley, the people of Pogerola to furnish labor in the forge, or busy in their tiny shops to fabbricar “Centrelle” (the characteristic nails of Pogerola). The activity went on until the beginning of the last century, when, now out of business, the ironworks was abandoned, marking the beginning of the slow and inexorable abandonment of the Valley and the return of undisputed domination of nature. The unspoiled scenery was much loved and admired by great romantic travelers as Shinkel, Hare, Richter, Goethe to name a few.
Inside the old ironworks I then found this nice wall that reminded me immediately a smile.
In this point the path splits, go up on the right to come up to Pontone, while continuing on the left you can go up to the top of ancient ironwork.
Continuing you will arrive at our final destination: the natural pool.
A magical and amazing place, where the water falls down from the walls of the gorge by creating a endless rain. Take some time to admire the spectacle of nature, at least you can take a bit of breath and prepare to return to Amalfi.
You can do the trail without problems, even with simple sneakers and a effort which is definitely worth to do. I would have liked to find on my return the old man met at the beginning and show him the photos of the natural pool to refute unfounded intimidation made. I hope you get the magic of the place.
Good light to everyone.