Saturday, 4 December 2010

Amalfi, Italy Running Route

Click here for routemap
Length: 5.5 km (3.4 miles), terrain hilly

Article and photos by John Griffith, co-founder of the great UK running site, the Running Bug

John has a love of exotic routes. See John's Havana waterside run here: Running The Malecon; Havana, Cuba

View from town
Somebody once said to me "No wonder God was an Italian".  The implication is that the best things come from Italy: good wine, good food, good looks, good architecture and so on so given the choice that’s where you’d become flesh.   And if ever you are in pursuit of some of these fineries from Italy you could do worse than start your search on The Amalfi Coast.  When I went there I stayed in the luxurious Santa Caterina Hotel; pricey but one of the best in the area (the other being The Sirenuse in nearby Positano).  It was a short break for my partner and I with the intention of some relaxation but as she hit the Spa I put on my running shoes.

The Amalfi coast is pretty much vertical.  What I mean is the coastline doesn’t have a shore – it’s more of an escarpment.  For reasons best known to those that live there, everything is perched on an almost sheer drop.  Houses are etched into the hillsides and roads snake from promontory to promontory with the occasional gasp of a bridge or gloom of a tunnel.  Finding a route for a run that didn’t take in some stiff hills was just going to be impossible.  The scenery however is breathtaking from almost anywhere you stop.    

Taking a local footpaths map from the Hotel I headed out of the lobby onto the main road turning right down into Amalfi town centre on the inappropriately named Via Quasimodo.  There’s enough of a footpath to remain safe but keep your elbows in.  Enjoy the downhill because pretty soon you’re going up and I mean UP!!!
When we say up, we mean UP!
As you head into town, watch for the central road on your left that takes you up towards the Duomo.  This is Via del Duomo - a street or a street market depending on the time of day and it was full of wandering tourists the day I jogged through.  Watch for the absurd breast-fountain in the market square and take a drink if you’re thirsty.
Head on up the road about 1/2-km and watch on your left for Via Casamare – I think there was a police station there too – it’s a cul de sac, but head on up round the bends and at the end you will see the start of the 1,700 steps up to Pogerola.  I don’t think there is a sign but press on up the steps which snake back and forth up the mountainside past inquisitive goats and wild horses.

You arrive in the little hamlet of Pogerola with burning calves twenty minutes later, take a left on Via Papa Leone X and bless the downhill that lies ahead.  Stick on this road and you can get back down to the coast road again where a left will take you back towards the Hotel and Amalfi town.  For the brave, take one of the footpaths that weave through the netted lemon groves, heavy with the scent of citrus and steaming in the midday sun.
The sculptor had a sense of humour with this fountain
Amalfi is a small town with not much to offer except the architecture and some fine seafood, but while you’re there visit Ravello, Positano and spend a day on the Island of Capri.

1 comment:

  1. Did this run...it was amaaaaazing but serious work!!
    It's not a 20 minute 'run', its more like an 1 hr HIKE to Pontone...but beautiful! After 20 minutes you enter the true wilderness, no homes, just the amalfi aquadotto and its very desolate. Eventually you get near Pontone where you find beautiful lemon fields and then the route down to the main street leads you in Ravello.

    Great hike/run!! But its a lot of work!

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