The Coast and the sea, navigating between Maiori and Erchie.


If you have had enough of land life, the only thing to do is slip the moorings and set sail to discover the charm of the stretch of coast between Maiori and Erchie. Having completed the preparations for the trip, set the bow eastward in the direction of the Norman Tower. Let the waves and the marine breeze gently cradle you along, let the warm mediterranean sun envelope you. The imposing fortress, once called The Tower of Formicole, watches over the eastern side of the town of Maiori. The construction dates back to the XVI century, when the Viceroy decided to build a series of defensive towers along the coast. The coastal towers stretch from Reggio Calabria in the south to the town of Gaeta to the north, were a monumental defense system against pirate raids.

A few metres on, you will see, in a small inlet, the Cave of Sulphur Water grotta “dell’acqua sulfurea”. Inside the cave there is a fresh, volcanic water spring. The water has a strong sulphuric odour and locals believe it has beneficial properties. A little further on, you come to a small beach called Salicerchie, the name derives from “Plaiaquerqua” (The Beach of the Oaks) where you can have a refreshing dip in the sea, far away the crowed beach of Maiori. The beach can also be reached on foot, taking the steps from the main road.

At this point, keep heading east, through the emerald green sea. After every promontory you will discover new sights. A little way along and you will see an opening in the rockface, inviting you in to take a look. The is the Grotta Pandora or Pannona, with its stalagtites and the interplay of light and shade on the water. Up above, a short distance away are the Towers of Cesare and dell’Acquarulo.

Coming out of the cave, again head east, and you will come to one of the most sublime beaches on the coast the Baia del Cavallo Morto ( Bay of the Dead Horse) with its imposing, tall cliffs. At present the beach is only accessible by boat, and in the summer many are moored in the bay to enjoy the beauty and peacefulness of the place.

A few oar-strokes away is the area known as Badia ( The Abbey). Looking high up the cliff face, you will see the Abbey of Santa Maria de Olearia, a jewel set into a cave and the Torre di S. Spirito ( Tower of the Holy Spirit), another important tower of the viceroy period.

Proceeding on, we note a change in the panorama. We will come to the Capo D’ Orso ( Bear Cape), where we leave behind the slopes of the Amalfi area, to admire the Gulf of Salerno in all its beauty. Here, beauty is wild and virtually untouched by man. There are a few man-made things to see, The Capo d’Orso Lighthouse and the Torre del Tumulo. According to traditional lore, the bodies of the victims of the naval battle of Capo d’Orso between Spanish and French forces in 1528, are buried here. Imagine the roar of the cannons and the crack of boats crashing into each other, the blast of the blunderbuss, the sounds of clashing swords. The French, commanded by Filippino Doria attacked the Spanish ships led by Viceroy Ugo de Moncada, who lost his life in the battle.

You have almost reached our destination, Erchie. The village is the last outpost of the territory of Maiori. The settlement once had a temple dedicated to Hercules. The small bay has an abandoned iron mine on its west side and the Cerniola Tower on the east side. This site was chosen by the Benedictine Order for the construction of a monastery in the X century, of which we can still see the church of S. Maria de Irchi and a much praised tuna processing station dating back to the XVI century. The welcoming beach and crystal waters of Erchie offer a moment of relax from the stresses of daily life.