The Path to Italy’s Hidden Paradise: The Bay of Ieranto

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It is not known by many. Many others would not attempt this journey. It is difficult to find paradise in Italy’s Bay of Ieranto (Baia di Ieranto), as there is not much written about it.

The trail’s entrance is almost impossible to find in this pristine inlet. Cell reception is not possible.

Bay of Ieranto, Italy

To reach the turquoise waters at the Tyrrhenian Sea, Ieranto is located on Italy’s west coast. It takes a 40-minute drive from Sorrento.

As the path descends the back side, you will find a small sandy beach and a brightly colored bay. The 18-foot platform that rises above the water invites you to take a leap into the sparkling waters.

While on vacation in Sorrent, my friend and I stumbled upon the Bay of Ieranto.

The Hidden Part

We didn’t know it existed until we talked to Lidia, a hotel worker about Bagni della Regina Giovanna.

Lidia spoke in a wistful Italian accent, “Regina Giovanna.” “That’s heaven!” She smiled, as if it were something she had practiced. “But the Bay of Ieranto is even more beautiful. Even more beautiful than heaven.

It was located near Nerano, which is a small town about 40 minutes south of Sorrento. We were also told by her that Ieranto could only be reached via a 40-minute hike.

She didn’t tell me that it was impossible to find the trail’s entrance. We jumped into the journey in our ignorance

Visiting Nerano

We drove to Nerano the next day using a GPS. It was a simple drive. It wasn’t so much getting to Nerano that was difficult as getting out of Sorrento.

We were guided by our GPS to narrow streets that felt more like corridors. Our side-view mirrors were bent in, and one got scratched.

We discovered on the return trip from Nerano that these “streets”, were totally unnecessary. I also learned that not relying solely on a GPS doesn’t mean you should be listening to it all the time.

After we had escaped Sorrento, our idyllic drive began, winding through lush countryside and plodding through the heart of small villages.

We soon realized that we were visiting parts of Italy that tourists rarely visit. Although driving to Nerano was simple, finding the trail entrance was the most difficult part of our journey to Ieranto.

We drove up and along Via Amerigo Vespucci (the only road through Nerano). Marco, an elderly Italian man wearing a straw hat and driving up and down Via Amerigo Vespucci, suggested that we drive a half-mile past Nerano.

It turned out that the trail entrance wasn’t very close to the Italian city center.

Casale Villareal

We parked our car in a lot directly across from Casale Villarena. In the parking lot, we were fortunate to meet four Neapolitans on their way towards Ieranto.

They beckoned us with their hands, “Follow me,” they said. “We’ll show the way.”

Although it was difficult to find the trail entrance without our Neapolitan guides the trail itself was easy to follow.

We began the trail on the mountain’s front. After a few minutes, we noticed a multitude of boats in the Marina del Cantone. This harbor is where Via Amerigo Vespucci ends.

After we had climbed the mountain and began our descent down its backside, we came across a sign that indicated two directions.

The sign to the left indicated that the easiest, but slower, way down was the one. The sign to the right indicated the more difficult, but faster way down.

Our Neapolitan guides led us down the latter and we were only a few minutes away from Ieranto.

Each step brought us closer and closer to its waters. The moment I reached the tiny beach’s fine sands, my backpack was set down and I ventured to the platform at 18 feet high. I could not resist jumping into the turquoise waters.

When I leaped, I knew my four Neapolitan guides were there, watching and appreciating the sight. It was a moment that will be remembered forever.

Go to The Bay of Ieranto and get

Casale Villarena is your destination. There is a lot directly across the street that you can park in. Parking may be charged at the hotel.

Follow the main road north (Via Amerigo Vespucci). You will be walking uphill, and then you’ll reach the entrance of the trail to Ieranto.

It takes less than a quarter-mile to walk from the parking lot.

Below is a photo of the trail entrance. It is so difficult to find. We were fortunate to have been able to find a group of four people from Naples, who led us the way.