Punta Campanella is the point of the Sorrentine Peninsula, and looks out over the sea and the island of Capri on the horizon. This stretch of coast has been considered sacred since the times of the ancients, where the land ends and the sea stretches to the distance. It is said that Ulysses met the Sirens here, and had a temple to the goddess Minerva erected on the coast as a sign of his gratitude for her divine protection during his long odyssey.
Getting to Punta Campanella
The walking path to Punta Campanella begins in Termini, the last hamlet on the western coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula. You can reach Termini by bus taking one of the routes that run to Sant’Agata sui Due Golfi from Sorrento (see times). From the hamlet's main square facing Capri, follow the signage directing you to the trailhead.
- Trailhead: Termini (hamlet near Massa Lubrense)
- Arrival: Termini
- Duration: 2 hours (roundtrip)
- Length: 4 km
- Difficulty: easy
The Punta Campanella Trail
The trail to the point is easy and along level ground, and runs through countryside with small gardens, olive groves, and the coast with views of the sea without any seriously steep stretches.
If you would like to try a more challenging trail, when you get to the crossroads, follow the signage to the peak of ‘’‘Monte San Costanzo’’’, where there are the remains of a historic hermitage. Otherwise, continue your walk along thte level path towards Punta Campanella where you can visit the remains of a ‘’‘Saracen tower’’’ built in the 1300s on the spot where there was once a statue of the goddess Athena.
The Path to Mount San Costanzo
If you would like to hike to the peak of the mountain, follow the signage painted on the field stones in red and white (Path 00, alta via dei Monti Lattari) to 485 meters above sea level. From the remains of the historic hermitage, the view stretches over the whole of the peninsula with the Monti Lattari mountain chain in the distance. From here, you can hike back down to Termini along the old donkey trail.
History and Legends
The cult of the Goddess Athena and, later, the goddes Minerva has left traces across this stretch of coast. According to legend, the temple was build on the far point of the penisula by Ulysses as a sign of his gratitude to the goddess for her protection during his journey, particularly in having helped his escape the Sirens (whom he met on the Li Galli islets, just off the coast of the peninsula). Along this rocky coast, an engraving in Oscan (an ancient language dating to before the Romans) was found at sea level which pointed out where ships could moor when they wanted to stop and honor the goddess.
In the 1300s, one of the Saracen towers used to guard the coast from pirates was built on this spot. Legend holds that a Saracen pirate ship lost the bell that they had stolen from the Basilica of Sant’Antonino in Sorrento in these waters off the coast, and it is said that every 14th of February on the feast day of the city's patron saint the bell can be heard ringing from the sea floor. This is also why the point is called “Punta Campanella”, or Bell Point.