To reach the beginning of the Pathway of the Lemons take the Scala Santa (Holy Steps) or Via Pedamentina as far as the Santa Maria a Mare Collegiate Church, whose name comes from the stature found on the beach in Maiori in 1200. From the top we can admire the Mezzacapo Building, which houses the Town Hall and the Tourist Office today, and 18th century Gardens designed in the shape of the Maltese cross at the wishes of Filippo Mezzacapo.Take Via Vena in the heart of one of the oldest areas of Maiori. This was the fishermen's district. They were known as "scabicari" (trawl nets) from the name of the big fishing nets that were put out to sea by boats and then hauled back to the beach by hand. We go along this old street to the first point, the beginning of the Pathway.
1. we are at the overlook dedicated to Fr. Angelo Riccio, a native of Maiori born in 1670.
From here we have a window over the town, the dome of the Cathedral and the sea. Maiori, with its numerous artistic and natural monuments and sights, was almost completely destroyed by a landslide in 1954. The "modern" rebuilding of the town started in the sixties with the erection of hotels and buildings.The dome of Santa Maria a Mare Church is distinctive with its green and yellow glazed tiles, typical architecture of the Amalfitan Coast. On the underlying cliff spontaneous vegetation has colonized the rocks with Mediterranean scrub and green bushes of eurphobia, a plant with poisonous latex used by the local fishermen to catch cuttlefish. The coastline is steep and indented, with rocks, cliffs, gullies and deep sea. It is a succession of colours, sounds and scents.
The Pathway of the Lemons is a "magic" itinerary to be taken with the heart and the mind, almost religiously. It is an ancient route fused into the landscape and the history.This is the kingdom of the "sfusato amalfitano", a type of lemon that is famous all over the world for its shape, fragrance, taste and high vitamin C content. It has been grown here on terraced pergolas from the time of ancient traditions and cultures. All around this unique landscape in framed by Mediterranean nature. We "tiptoe" along the path out of respect for the environment with our eyes trained to catch even the smallest glimpse of nature in these surroundings that are rich in history and culture.
2. to the right of the path there is an old carob tree, with a younger one alongside it.The carob tree has been known since ancient times for its fruit, carobs, locally called "suscelle". They are edible; when fresh, the can have a laxative effect, and when dried they act as an astringent. The seeds inside the fruit are very hard. The ancient Mediterranean populations used them as unit of weight for gold and precious stones. And so the seeds of the "Keration" gave its name to "carat", the measurement of weight of precious stones and metal. We are now getting closer to the "gardens", as the lemon groves are called. The unmistakable fragrance of this citrus fruit, particularly strong when the trees are in flower, accompany us together with the fragrance of the Mediterranean scrub.
3. from this terrace we have a view, to the left, over the Lazzaro district, once populated by the poor. Overhead we see the Lattari Mountains with jagged mountain tops, wonderful valleys, rich vegetation with Neapolitan alder and beech groves; a precious biodiversity. We are now moving away from the inhabited area and its noises to go into a more natural and quiet environment.
4. we leave our path for a moment and go up to right. We come across some rosemary, a typical plant of the Mediterranean scrub. Go closer to smell its fragrance. In fact, rosemary is rich essential oils. It was used in ancient times for ceremonies, the Romans used it to make crowns together with laurel and myrtle. It also has medicinal properties. Choose a step and sit down without crossing your legs or arms. With your eyes closed listen to the silence, the wind blowing through the trees, the sound of sea and the sounds of nature. Breath slowly and deeply. Let's go back to the Pathway of the Lemons.
5. the route gets wider. Sit down with your back to the wall on the right and observe the sky with a bit of luck, in the cooler part of day, it is possible to see the numerous birds that inhabit the coast; blackbirds, robins, jackdaws, ravens, alpine swifts, kestrels, buzzards and Sardinian warblers. The Sardinian warbler is a small bird that can be recognized in flight by its tail and wings, which are very long compared to its body. It has a white throat and red rings around its eyes. It is the most acrobatic of the birds of prey and is able to catch its prey, such as small birds, with dives of up to 300 kph. It is recognisable in flight by its wings and barred white underside. Among the nocturnal birds of prey is the barn owl, locally known as "facciommo" because of its resemblance to a human face. We return to our path to stop a little further on.
6. the view is more inland. In front of us and all around we can see the characteristic terraces of the "sfusato amalfitano" lemon. The lemons of the coast were well-known even Roman times, as ancient mosaics and frescoes show. According to the historian Camera, lemon-growing on the Amalfitan Coast dates back to the 11th century. The lemons were transported in "sporte", rectangular baskets made of strips of wood. Originally it was almost exclusively the women who carried these baskets. Special boats took the baskets to the ships leaving for destinations near and far in the Mediterranean and even to America. The lemons are grown on characteristic terraced pergolas with the plants arranged on a framework of chestnut wood to protect them from the weather. The foliage is covered during the winter. In ancient times straw matting was used and then later fine netting.
7. from this point on lemons, sea, silence...
The deep, richly-coloured sea was almost certainly inhabited by the fabled monk seal, known locally as the "marine ox". Some say that this marine mammal still inhabits this corner of the Mediterranean. It valued presence, if only historical, enriches the culture of the area. There are many types of fish and an abounding marine avifauna. Let yourself be lulled by the sea. A few meters ahead we come across the church dedicated to the Archangel Michael dating back to the 13th century AD and, in the middle of the small square, a plane-tree.
8. we have arrived at the "Mortella" overlook.
The name is from the dialect for myrtle, an romantic Mediterranean plant which was sacred to Venus of the Romans. From here the view opens up towards Ravello, a well-known location on the coast, and over Minori. Minori has one of the richest histories and traditions of the coast. Worth mentioning is the archeological site of the Roman Villa Marittima which dates back to the 1st century AD. This ancient residence, once the resting place of wealthy Romans, preserver lavish rooms with mosaics, frescoes and stuccoes. Santa Trofimene's Church in remarkable for its 17th century marble pulpit and its bell tower, an example of Arab-Norman architecture. The Maritime Republic of Amalfi had an important shipyard in Minori and galleys were built there until 1039. Here, on the edge of Minori, the Pathway of the Lemons ends.
From here we can go down into the town for a cultural visit to discover the artistic sights and the traditional handicrafts connected to the cultivation to the cultivation of the "sfusato amalfitano" lemon. Furthermore, after visiting Minori, it is possible to continue the itinerary on foot and go up to Ravello. To go back to Maiori, take the Pathway of the Lemons again or the coast road. Take time for a dessert or an ice-cream at the well known "Pasticceria De Riso" and return along the coast road.
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