I got to know the Path of the Gods from a lovely couple I met when I was staying in Sorrento. Hailing from Germany, they had been touring the Amalfi Coast on foot, making their way from Salerno to Sorrento. I saw them the first time at a restaurant I frequented for dinner, when I was waiting in line behind them. The next morning, I saw them again, this time in line for a ferry to Naples. The third time, I ran into them again right at the steps in front of Duomo di Napoli.
“Excuse me, were you in Sorrento last night?” the lady asked.
“Yes, I think I was standing in line behind you?” I said, not too sure.
Soon, we chatted about our trips, and I listened in awe as she explained how they’d hiked along the coast for 6 days.
“What’s your favorite place so far?” I asked, curious.
Without missing a beat, she answered, “The Path of the Gods.”
Il Sentiero degli Dei, the Path of the Gods.
The name was intriguing, and I was surprised I hadn’t heard of it before. I did a quick googling and immediately sent a message to H, who was en route to Italy. ‘We need to do the Path of the Gods!!!’
Imagine this: a narrow footpath, with pale rock faces on your right and the sheer drop-offs on your left. From the path, you can see the infinite sky, the sea, and the rugged mountains, and the coastal towns perched on the cliff. I was excited to see these spectacular views with my own eyes, and I couldn’t wait.
The walk was tough. We started from Praiano where we stayed, climbed more than 1000 stone steps until we reached the church of Santa Maria di Constantinopoli. Along these steps, I noticed there were big crosses planted on the side every now and again, numbered from I to XIV – perhaps made to represent Jesus’s way up the Golgota?
Once we reached the church, things got even harder. The stairways turned into a dirt path and the hike was steeper, but we had no complaints as the view got more and more stunning as we got higher. The rocky, rugged cliffs against the sea and sky took my breath away, again and again.
Alas, that morning, fog had blanketed the upper part of the trail. It got denser at the top, where I could only see as far as 3 meters ahead. All those pictures I’d seen of the view from this path? I didn’t experience it. I was so, so disappointed.
It wasn’t until we descended that I started to see through the fog again. The coastline, Positano, and the villages that perched on top of the cliff; all set against the gray sky. It wasn’t what I expected at all, and I felt robbed of the sunny day view that I’d seen on the internet.
But looking back, I can say without a doubt the Path of the Gods was the best part of our trip, even with the fog, the gloomy sky, and limited visibility. The Amalfi Coast was way more crowded, touristy, and stressful than I’d anticipated, and this place like a slice of heaven when everything was a lot calmer, quieter, and prettier.
I remember a friend, an avid mountaineer who has climbed mountains in the Himalayas a few times, said, “A lot of people let their ego get the best of them and force their way to the top, even if everything is against them. The mountain is not going anywhere, it will still be there when you come again another time.”
The Path of the Gods was no Everest, but his words filled my head as we reached Nocelle, the village that marks the end of the route. I still want to see it on a sunny day, and I pledged to come back again, maybe in 5, 10, or 20 years. I went there when things were less than stellar and it was still one of the best vistas I’ve seen, and I want to experience it once again, in all its glory.