From the lofty township of Furore, 944 steps (count 'em!) lead down to Marina di Furore, Italy's only fjord. Set on the coast, this enchanting hamlet—perhaps 10 houses?—beckons to most travelers as their SITA buses pass over it on a towering viaduct that in July is the site of the Mediterranean Cup High-Diving Championship. The locale's name derives from the "furor" of stormy water that once rushed down the Torrente Schiato here, now a mere trickle. Adorning the gorge is a tchotchke of a fishermen's village (once a favored hideout of bandits and smugglers, with some houses renovated by Ingrid Bergman and Anna Magnani during the filming of Roberto Rossellini's L'Amore in 1948); these monazzeni ("places to live in solitude") and the adjoining paper mill were abandoned when the tiny harbor closed. Today, the hamlet has been restored and the paper mill transformed into an "ecomuseum," with short botanical trails on which it's possible to see rare peregrine falcons as well as ancient
species of plants found nowhere else in the region. From the beach, the sentiero della Volpe Pescatrice ("the fox-fish's path") and the sentiero dei Pipistrelli Impazziti ("the mad bats' path") climb up some 3,000 steps and were built to portage goods from the harbor to the town of Furore. The hard walk up takes a couple of hours, as you climb from sea to sky. To see any of this by car, you have to pay to park in the layby some 450 yards away on the Amalfi side of the gorge, just before the gas station. Unless you're in pretty good shape, it's better to boat to the beach and just rubberneck.
Furore, Campania, Italy