Sea or mountain? With warmer weather and long sunny days it is often difficult to choose. However, the two things can be combined: in the Gulf of Salerno, for example, the Lattari Mounts offer scenic hikes for all kind of difficulty levels that often end... with a dive in the sea.
One of the most interesting path, not only from a natural point of view but also for history and trekking, leads to the Crapolla Bay, a natural fjord within the Marine Protected Area of Punta Campanella. It can be reached only on foot through a path marked with the blue color, or by boat, as some fisherman used to do - and some still do - using the bay as a boats shelter.
The trek starts from the small town of Torca (via Nula) and winds through lonely streets plunging into the undergrowth between the scents of the Mediterranean vegetation, along the Rivo Larito. After about half an hour you take the old path, a trail that runs through the mountains offering a spectacular view of the Gulf of Salerno. It is worth stopping to admire the stunning view of the small islands of ‘Li Galli’, the island of Isca and Vetara, surrounded by boats as many white dots on the horizon, above a deep blue sea.
The path, so far easy and without difficulties, continues with a descent of 700 limestone steps (very challenging to climb on the way back in the hot sun…) that leads to the lonely Chapel of St. Peter, built on the foundations of an eleventh century Abbey, once rich and prosperous religious center, with marble columns and mosaic floors. Legend has it that the building was built on the ruins of a Roman temple, later abandoned during the Christian period. This place is particularly important for the local people: tradition has it that St. Peter landed here while traveling to Rome and, every 29 June, a pilgrimage is held from Torca to this chapel, where Mass is celebrated followed by a fest. Nothing remains of the Ancient Abbey but around the chapel are visible remains of marble and bases of columns. It is still a fascinating place where you can admire an exceptional view of the island of Isca and the Tower of Crapolla, ancient defensive fortress against the Saracens assaults.
At the end of the staircase you finally reach the Crapolla fjord, a cobblestone bay surrounded by cliffs that stretches along the coast for about 150 meters. A sheltered environment of rare beauty, especially because shrouded in silence and away from the busy areas of the Gulf. The waters of the bay are very inviting with their transparent color that becomes emerald, then a deep blue as you move away from the shore. Here time truly seems to stand still.
In the small fishing village are visible some Roman cisterns and some buildings carved into the rock called "monazeni", that fishermen still use to store their tools or shelter their boat.
A piece of advice? Bring water supply with you because there are no fountains along the way and most of the path is in the sun. Go up the stairway late in the afternoon because with the heat is really tiring!