Vettica di Praiano – Convent of San Domenico – Colle La Serra – Praiano
Durata: 3,7 km
Travel time: 3h 30 ‘
Route – Of medium duration with an altitude difference of approximately 350 meters. Bottom in beaten alternating with steps in stone or live rock. Easy to travel.
Approach – Departure and arrival near the church of Santa Maria di Costantinopoli between Praiano and its hamlet Vettica Maggiore. Good parking availability. Reachable by bus both from Salerno or Amalfi and from Sorrento or Positano.
Logistics – Arrival and departure from Praiano, reachable both from Salerno / Amalfi and from Naples / Sorrento / Positano, by car or by public transport.
Refreshment points – Only a fountain along the steps that connects the path to the Path of the Gods (going up, on the right). Restaurants, bars and food shops Praiano and Vettica.
From the parking area facing the church of the Madonna di Costantinopoli, a staircase leads to the underlying bend of the road. Following this, after a few meters you reach a fork where you turn right, almost in the opposite direction to that of origin. After a while the road becomes a pedestrian one that enters the built-up area.
Proceed to the last houses, where the street turns right at right angles. After a short flat stretch you arrive at the beginning of a flight of steps near a fountain.
Here begins the climb towards the San Domenico Convent (see description) which can be reached in less than an hour, overcoming a difference in height of about 200 meters.
Leaving the convent on the right, the path continues with a rather steep course, exploiting, at times, the ledges formed by the rock. Along the way you also pass a small natural arch, a real window in the rock.
Small stops, not just to catch your breath, allow the view of the panorama made even more suggestive by the steepness of the path that gives the feeling of being in mid-air. After several hairpin bends the route becomes easier and through various stepped sections you reach the lower variant of the Path of the Gods (550 m). Here you turn right and proceed up to a staircase that climbs to the left. In the immediate vicinity there is a drinking fountain. Follow the mule track past the steps, and proceed downwards, on a gentle slope towards Praiano. You cross a stretch characterized by the typical terraces of the coast, here mainly cultivated with olive trees, until you reach a water reservoir.
A little further on, the path turns left, bypassing the ridge; after another two hundred meters take the stairs that lead down to the right, passing under a building. Once on the road, continue to the right, downhill. After the curve we find the small church of the Madonna di Costantinopoli.
Santa Maria a Castro – The church, with the adjoining San Domenico convent, is located at an altitude of 364 m, halfway between the town and the above Path of the Gods. The first news dates back to 1599. In the church a fresco depicting the Madonna delle Grazie is the object of veneration by the local population. Note the suggestive Luminaria di San Domenico which is held in the first four days of August. At dusk, the ancient tradition of lighting the entire ridge with torches continues, right down to the church of San Gennaro. The show, very suggestive, originates from a dream from the mother of San Domenico, still pregnant with her: a dog who, a torch held between his teeth, set the whole world on fire; the dog represented Domenico, the future founder of the homonymous order, and the torch was a symbol of the divine word.