My favourite time of year for walking this route is springtime with the flowers in full bloom and days that are neither too hot nor too cold.
However even in winter, on a clear, sunny day, or even on a cloudy grey day, it is something special, more than special. In fact, I would go so far as to say that a dry winter’s day is preferable to many other brighter ones in spring, summer or autumn, when hikers flock to the path and overcrowd it, creating people jams along the trickier, more narrow stretches where it is impossible to walk in other than single file.
It is not the simple, flat, shady path that some Cruise ship companies, keen to sell the excursion, make it out to be. It has some fairly ferocious uneven and steep stretches, both up and down, whichever way you decide to walk it. It is definitely not for anyone suffering from vertigo or having gammy knees or hips.
It is also not for people in flip-flops or flimsy sandals (yes, they can sometimes be seen limping sadly along), since the surface is often rough, stony and slippery. It can be blisteringly hot in summer and there are long stretches without any shade at all, but suitably clad and shod, and with a good supply of water, if you are unable to come at any other time, do not be put off.
My friends and I generally start from Nocelle and turn the walk into a semi loop by taking the upper trail from the intersection at waymark 7 (Cisternuolo), gaining height and enjoying the grassy terraces with their splendid views of the lower path and the sea below us.
From Colle Serra where the upper and lower paths meet, we continue to Bomerano for a coffee and, why not, a cake at Peppe’s bar, before re-tracing our steps to Colle Serra. Here we will now follow the lower trail, going steeply downhill (or rather down rough steps) before winding round the foot of the cliffs and up a short rocky section, before returning to the intersection and back to Nocelle.
It is a unique experience and one not to be missed.