The wild landscape of Italy has been conquered by humankind for centuries. Many species of both plants and animals have long since been driven away or hunted to extinction. While the Italian peninsula was once home to bears, lynxes, and wolves, they are now entirely gone or pushed deep into the remaining untouched areas.
One place that has gone untouched is not on land but rather under the surface of the glistening coastal waters. Many of the animals that inhabit this area cannot be seen unless you take the plunge into its underwater world. The massive sea storm that hit the coast of Amalfi in the 1300s pulled much of the city into the ocean, creating a sunken metropolis for the marine life to make their own. Giant tuna and amberjack are commonly found travelling in groups among the ruins. Additionally, this area is rich in plankton, which provides support for an abundant underwater ecosystem. A large variety of small fish can be found darting in and out of the gorgonians, a type of coral, and huge lobsters can be seen shuffling along the seafloor. It is easy to spot seagulls soaring above the coastal waters as they look for their next meal. If you are lucky, you may also spot cormorants diving into the water to hunt for fish.
The animals that remain on land are much smaller in size but are still very important to the local ecosystem. The smallest of animals include butterflies like the marbled white butterfly, swallowtail butterfly, clouded yellow butterfly, peacock butterfly, and more. Dragonflies, soldier beetles, bees, and other small insects can frequently be found perching on top of the wildflowers that line the coast.
The Amalfi coast of today is mainly home to gardens, farmland, and orchards. One famous product of the region is the Amalfi lemon. This lemon is sweet and can be eaten plain as dessert, without needing any sugar. Due to that, it has become a popular ingredient in the local cuisine and the famous “limoncello” liqueur.
Gorgeous gardens dot the coastal towns, bringing in flower lovers from around the world. As you walk through these charming towns, vibrant pink bougainvillea can be seen draping the walls, trellises, and homes from late summer into early autumn. While carefully manicured flower gardens are certainly beautiful, there’s something special about spotting them in the wild. During your walking holiday, you can see wildflowers alongside the path and perched precariously on the seaside cliffs. You will be able to see the fresh white of the cuckoo flower, the bright pink of the hollyhock, and the sweet yellow of the four o’clock flower, also known as the Mirabilis jalapa. As you walk through the Valle delle Ferriere, you can see plants of old including the rare Woodwardia radicans and the carnivorous plant, Pinguicula hirtiflora. The Amalfi Coast is also home to a variety of wild orchids. Look carefully and you will be able to see lady orchids, bumblebee orchids, tongue orchids, pyramidal orchids, and even the stunning tooth orchid.