When I started the up-hill climb towards speaking Italian so that I could participate with more depth in our new life, I remember doing a few online exercises. In one of these exercises, the word ‘funivia’ came up. After struggling to wrap my tongue around it, I was finally able to speak the word out loud … “foon-eee-vee-ya”. This was some months ago now and I wondered then when I would ever find the need to use this word because it means ‘cable car’.
I could barely keep my excitement contained when, during dinner in a place called Castellammare di Stabia, overlooking the bay of Naples one evening (like you do), I heard the word spoken out loud by an Italian. Don Beniamino was telling me all about the area and the word ‘funivia’ periodically fell from his mouth. I eventually began to understand what he was explaining to me.
In the city of Castellammare di Stabia, which is on the south side of the Bay of Naples (you pass under it on the way to Positano), there is a railway station from where the ‘funiva’ will take you, Don Beniamino pointed down toward the bay “from the bay,” he then stabbed his finger up towards the sky and said “then up to the top of the mountain and it only takes 8 minutes! From the top you can see the whole of the bay, the city of Naples, Vesuvio and on a clear day, even more. We will all go one day when you come back and visit us again.”
By the following morning, having stayed overnight at the Villa Angelina Resort (and we’ll tell you about that another time), I had forgotten all about the ‘funivia’ until, while on the terrace having breakfast with Enzo and Davide, my attention was drawn to something moving in the sky to our left as we all gazed at our view of Naples and beautiful Vesuvio. Would you believe it! It was a ‘funivia’!! There is was, dangling in the blue sky en route towards the mountain top. And so, it came to pass that our morning was going to be spent taking a ride on the thing, I nearly burst!
After breakfast, the three of us made our way down to the town centre of Castellammare di Stabia, where at the local train station we bought our 7 euro tickets to ride the ‘funivia’. At the so-called ‘tractor station’ there is a small assemblence of items to demonstrate its history and you can watch as the huge wheel winds the cable it hangs on up to the mountain top every 30 minutes from 7.05 am until 17.05 pm every day from April 1st through to October 31st.
The Funivia del Faito was opened to the public on the 24th August, 1952 and is named after the mountain that it carries you to, Monte Faito. It was especially built with the tourist in mind and during the height of the holiday season, expect to queue. It’s recommended that you catch the earliest rides for some of the best sunrise views and less waiting time.
With the power of two motors of around 180 kW’s you will be taken on a ride through sky, following the mountain side and eventually arrive at the ‘mountain station’ some 1,000 meters high. On the way up the funivia is supported on three stands which are positioned at strategic points in elevation difference. Traveling at a steady speed of 7.5 meters per second, there is plenty of time for capturing your experience for all time, just like we did. Thanks you our new phones, Enzo and I were able to capture the most amazing photographs I think we have ever been able to take!
There were only three of us in the ‘funivia’ but it has the capacity to carry up to 35 people. There are two of them that travel simultaneously, so be prepared to see the other one pass you at the halfway mark. It is a remarkably smooth ride and every effort is taken to ensure your safety. There are regular maintenance checks and wind speeds are constantly monitored as well as a close-circuit television in each car. Yes, there has been accidents, well only the one way back in 1960 in which two people died.
At the mountain station you’ll find a large square with cafés and bars. This is a car park. You can reach the top of Monte Faito by car which is also quite an experience. From here there are plenty of walks to enjoy so we suggest you wear comfortable walking shoes. And take a picnic! Stay a while, breath the air and enjoy the views just like we did. In fact, we enjoyed ourselves so much that we intend to take our guests there. We’ll also be taking a picnic and Daisy on our next visit.
Hope you get to experience the amazing views and share your experiences with us.