Itineraries on the coast

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One of the elements that distinguishes most the centre of Vico Equense is the ex cathedral or church of the Annunziata. From the opposite square stands a limestone terrace with an overlapping layer of tuff rock extending towards the sea: this is Punta Paradiso, but to the people of Vico it is known as “la Villetta”, surrounded by a crown of holm-oak trees planted in the 1930s. Beyond this is Marina di Equa reachable from via Pezzolo, a pedestrian street with large steps that goes down to the sea in the midst of terraces planted with olive trees and gardens. Behind the ancient fishing village is the impressive cliff of Punta Scutolo, showing the ancient watchtower. On the beach known as “Pezzolo” are the ruins of an ancient Roman villa from the 1st century BC, partly covered by the volcanic deposits from the eruption of the Vesuvius in 79 AC. Marina di Equa can also be reached from Seiano, along the charming road of Via Santa Maria Vecchia, passing beside the church by the same name filled with “ex-voto” of sailors and fishermen from the Sorrento peninsula. Along this road it is possible to observe the lower course of the Rivo d’Arco, a torrent of now irregular extent but which in the past gradually carried sediements forming the largest beach of Vico Equense. From Marina di Equa it is possible to go on boat trips along the coast and up to the Banco di Santa Croce: a rocky seabed just beyond Punta Orlando – the northern border of Vico Equense. This area is particularly rich with creatures of the sea including soft corals and the rare black coral which is under biological protection. Seen from the sea, the coast reveals an important page of the history of Vico Equense, which rose on a rocky terrace overlooking the sea, in between the beaches of Marina di Equa on the South-West and the smaller beach of Marina di Vico on the North-East. In Marina di Vico, the opus reticulatum ruins of a building confirm the presence in Roman times of several villas along the Sorrento peninsula. Continuing navigation it is possible to notice many small caves on the water, but the attention is mostly taken up by the coast, initially with the slope transforming into terraced olive trees, then becoming drier and furrowed by landslides.

It is what geologists in Italian call “versante a franopoggio”: the rocky layers inclined towards the sea are naturally subject to rockslides and have probably always influenced the land communication systems along this stretch of the coast. A solution to the problem was sought out only in recent years, with the construction of a series of galleries to take the place of the current path of the highway 145 known as the “Sorrentina”. But the sea of Vico Equense is not just the famous one of the gulf of Naples; part of the Vico territory also faces the gulf of Salerno, in the town of Chiosse, which can be reached through the highway 163 known as the “Amalfitana”. At the 9th km, just by Punta Germano, begins a rather steep pathway that leads to the beach, surrounded by olive groves and trees of the Mediterranean bush. This stretch of sea is also protected: it belongs to the Natural Sea Reserve of Punta Campanella which extends along the final section of the Sorrento peninsula coast. In the past the sea was the element that most favoured communication along the Sorrento peninsula, but the land network must not be forgotten; like the famous via Minerva, for example, which connected Piana di Stabia to Punta Campanella already in pre-Roman era, and was the seat of the temple dedicated to the goddess of wisdom whom it was named after. Traces of the landscape of this road in the Vico territory are found still today, though were much modified in the course of the centuries. A fraction in particular can be travelled well: from the station of Vico Equense to the town of Sperlonga, passing through Santa Maria del Toro close to the convent of San Francesco. This stretch was initially called via Mulini because of the presence of remains of old mills that took energy from the channelled water deriving from the spring of Sperlonga (“mulini” being the Italian word for “mills”). Surrounded by olive groves and trees fragrant of the Mediterranean bush, the road leads to Crosiello di Montaro, a particularly suggestive site because of the broad view over the entire gulf of Naples. The first part of the trail from San Francesco to Sperlonga is well paved and can be travelled with strollers or wheelchairs.


Comune di Vico Equense - Ufficio Turismo e Cultura

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