What it is and where it is
Ieranto Bay faces the Gulf of Salerno just south of Punta della Campanella, which concludes the Sorrento Peninsula. It is a wonderful stretch of coastline, which for a development of 40 kilometers enjoys the status of a marine reserve. Of particular protection enjoys the hinterland of the bay, which for an area of about 50 hectares is owned by the Italian Environmental Fund. Accessible from Nerano, the bay is hemmed in at the bottom by a beach from which the view extends to the island of Capri.
Why it's special
The Sorrento Peninsula is the appendage of an Apennine ridge that has chosen to sink into the Tyrrhenian Sea and Sant'Agata dei due Golfi; it is the watershed location that demonstrates the spectacular outcome: on one side Vesuvius, Naples and on the way to the island of Ischia; on the other Salerno, the Sele plain with the distant temples of Paestum and the mountains of Cilento; opposite, the tip of Campanella, with the tower that sounded the first alarm when pirates arrived, and the island of Capri, silhouetted in the sunset.
Not to be missed
The path leading to the Bay of Ieranto starts from the hamlet of Nerano and for about three and a half kilometers descends a gentle slope between farms designed by dry-stone walls, offering beautiful views toward Punta Campanella and the island of Capri on the horizon, then with a detour you can also climb to the Tower of Montalto, overlooking the Gulf of Salerno. Alternatively, one can reach Ieranto Bay by sea with kayaks that are rented at Recommone beach, also accessible from Nerano.
A bit of history
Because of its geographical exceptionality, Punta della Campanella has been frequented since time immemorial. The Greeks built a temple there dedicated to Athena, which the Romans rebuilt in the name of Minerva. What stands out, however, is the watchtower as a reminder of how long this sea was infested with pirates. In the bay of Ieranto there also remains evidence of amining activity in existence until the mid-20th century, but it was from its cessation that the protection of the place was eventually achieved.
According to Pliny the Elder these are the sites of the Homeric Sirens, who from these very cliffs allegedly tried to entice Ulysses with their song. No matter that it is a legend, the charm of the place, especially when the sun sets setting fire to the sea, induces one to give credence to the Odyssey. Worth the words of the English writer Norman Douglas, who in the early twentieth century precisely in front of this landscape found inspiration for his book "The Land of the Sirens."
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