From Ravello, we start going down through ancient stairs and paths amid lemon trees; on the way down, we’ll visit a XIII century Church, followed by the ruins of a Roman Basilica. We leave the village and get on the trail where you’ll have beautiful views of the Amalfi Coast and the Bay of Salerno, whilst in the middle of the mountains.
In about 2 hours, you’ll reach the Valley of the Mills – a pristine woody area full of springs and waterfalls amid high cliffs. Within the deep valley, you can see several examples of industry from as early as the 10th century, such as the remains of an old aqueduct and ironworks. There are also ruins of several paper factories that remain one of the few links to the history of wealth and power of the medieval Republic of Amalfi. Amalfi’s famous paper was produced by hand with cotton, shipped from Egypt, making Amalfi one of the earliest locations where paper was produced in Western Europe.
The vegetation of the Valley of the Mills has been studied since 1859 starting with the famous German naturalist Karl Haekel. In this subtropical microclimate, one can find Cyclamen, Wild Orchids, Pterris vittata, Pinguicola hirtiflora (a carnivorous plant), Woodwardia Radicans, and Erica terminalis (a rare species of the giant fern which has its origins in the tertiary period). In the valley, you can also spot Peregrine Falcons, Otters, and the Spotted Salamander “with glasses”.
Once we reach the town of Amalfi, we’ll have a guided tour at the Paper Museum, where you’ll have the chance to create a piece of paper, using the same methods as they were doing here in the Middle Ages.
Free time to explore Amalfi before heading back home.