ON THE TRACKS OF THE BENEDICTINS
Torca, Crapolla, Torca
Description of the route
A path between nature and history, where Mediterranean scrub, sea and a breathtaking panorama are the spectacular scenery of evident traces of the past.
The excursion begins from the square of the hamlet of Torca, where you can visit the church dedicated to San Tommaso Apostolo, dating back to the 16th century.
In front of the church take Via Nula and then, to the left, Via Casalvecchio from which an ancient mule track branches off and leads up to the small bridge crossing the Larito stream.
Walk along the river to “La Guardia” natural viewpoint, where a stone bench invites you to stop and admire the enchanting view: in front, the three Li Galli islets, the islands of Isca and Vetara; on the left, the coast of Praiano and, on particularly clear days, the whole Gulf of Salerno; on the right, the unmistakable shape of Punta Penna.
From here, continue towards the Crapolla fjord walking down about 700 stone steps. Just before reaching the bottom of the inlet, on a small promontory, 40 meters from the sea, you will find the small chapel dedicated to San Pietro. An ancient legend tells that the Saint arrived by sea in this impervious place during his journey of Christianization to Rome.
The chapel is located on the site of a Benedictine abbey, the remains of which are still visible today. The abbey church was located here with the monastery, and had in turn been built in the place where a Roman villa once stood and before it a pagan temple probably dedicated to Apollo (the toponym Crapolla would derive from here). We find evidence of the church and the adjoining monastery in two important parchment documents attesting the flourishing era of this abbey: one from 1111, belonging to the archive of the Sisters of the SS. Trinity of Amalfi, the other of 10 May 1190, a testamentary provision.
The space in front of the chapel offers a privileged panoramic point on the island of Isca. On the left, you can admire the Monte di Torca with the Crapolla Tower, belonging to the defensive system of the watchtowers present on the entire coast and in the interior of the territory of Massa Lubrense.
Returning to the path, ancient ruins emerge between the rocks and the Mediterranean scrub up to the small beach hidden in the narrow gorge carved by the stream water in the rock. In the western part of the inlet, the remains of a Roman villa are still visible, with walls in opus reticulatum.
Before the beach, the ancient village preserves the remains of some Roman cisterns and buildings carved into the rock: they are the monazeni, structures dating back to Roman times and still used today by local fishermen to shelter their boats and fishing gear.
The small beach is all pebbly and, except for the hours when the sun is highest, for most of the day it remains in the shade. Here it is possible to bathe before starting the ascent to Torca.