A spectacular cable car ride and scenic walk on Mount Faito, only 10min by train from Pompei – and a great way to avoid the crowds!
Only a few stops on the local train from Pompeii, this short but incredibly scenic diversion is well worth taking a few hours to explore (thanks Dad for the suggestion!). Aside from the views, it’s a welcome diversion from the crowds of Rome and Pompeii. The best part of this walk is getting there via a cable car, which starts from the Castellammare Di Stabia train station on the Circumvesuviana line. Departing every 20 minutes, a ticket can be purchased from the rather nondescript train station.
There were only about 10 people making the trip up, and while I’ve read it’s a popular weekend escape from the heat for locals, on a week-day in late September it wasn’t at all busy.
There’s great views on the ten-minute journey up, looking out over the Bay of Naples to Mt Vesuvius on the other side. Even without doing a walk at the top it would be worth the round-trip (there’s a small restaurant/cafe at the top).
From the top of the cable car, there’s a path that leads down the mountain (so you could also walk up – or down – and catch the cable car one-way). Mount Faito is one of the peaks along the Lattari mountain chain, at the base of the Sorrento Peninsula. We find the path that continues up the mountain, which starts at the far end of a shaded picnic ground just above the cafe/restaurant.
It’s easy walking – the first part of the trail to the from the cable car to the Monastery of San Michele is called the “trail of the angel”, as it traces the route taken by the saints Catello and Antonino over 1000 years ago. The trail follows the edge of the mountain, and there are views over Salerno and the distant peaks Piano di Trebucchi.
As the trail gradually ascends, it crosses some sections of rocky limestone and then a section of tall trees.
After about 40min walking, we reach Porta del Faito, a small clearing on the ridge with views over the Bay of Naples toward Vesuvius.
We admire the impressive views for a while, before turning back – it’s already 1pm and we need to meet the other half of the family at Pompeii. From here. it would be another 15-20min to the Monastery of San Michele and about an hour more to Monte San Michelle, the highest peak in the area. (Also called Il Molare, as it’s shaped like a molar!)
We re-trace our steps back the cable car, enjoying the views a second time on our descent back to Castellammare Di Stabia train station. (On the way down, we see – and hear – explosions and smoke emanating from a building on a distant ridge, which seem to be fireworks exploding. We never managed to figure out what it was!)
|Location||A cable car (funicular) departs from the Castellammare Di Stabia station on the Circumvesuviana train line (there’s also a bus to the top or you can drive), in the Sorrento area. Can be combined with a day-trip to Pompeii from Rome.|
|Distance||1.8km to Porta del Faito (one-way), as walked.
Approx 4km (one way) to Monte San Michelle. Allow 2-3 hours.
|Grade||Easy. Total ascent 100m (as walked, to Porta del Faito). Approx 350m ascent to Monte San Michelle|
|Season/s||All year. (Cable car closed December-March)|
|Resources||Cable car (funicular) timetable|