The Lemon Path

Original title: Il sentiero delle formichelle

Publication Date:

May 2024



Original language and publisher

Italian | Edizioni Piemme

Territories Handled

France, Netherlands, Scandinavia, World English


Commercial Fiction, Historical Fiction

The Lemon Path

Original title: Il sentiero delle formichelle


In her first novel she tells the story of the “ants” of the Amalfi coast , women who for centuries walked the lemon path , still today a place of great charm and mystery. Between present and past, a work that traces “an ancient history but still strongly rooted in the territory, and reminds us of the importance of ties, whether of blood or land”. —Antonio Prudenzano, Il Libraio

It is an enthralling and exciting novel that strikes you from the very first pages, the true story of the women and girls of the Amalfi Coast who for centuries walked the lemon path carrying heavy baskets on their backs.

Family ties trap and protect, broken loves and buried guilt resurface, a mystery links present and past.

Amalfi Coast, 1940s.

Rachele and Nannina cross the mountain daily, carrying thoughtful bags of lemons as far as the coast of Maiori, where the sea stretches out far and wide.

It is the destiny of all the women of Tramonti. Rachele believes the world has hard and invariable rules and is proud of the traditions of her village, while Nannina has dreamt since childhood of lands far from the steep path they will have to walk for a lifetime until they break their backs and knees. Different in every way, however, they cannot think of being apart. Since they came into the world, a handful of minutes apart, they have not spent a day away from each other.

It is in their footsteps that eighty years later, two sisters, Ninfa and Alelì, arrive in the village, convinced that this story is just the fruit of the imagination of their grandmother, a writer, who recently passed away. Instead, they discover that Rachele and Nannina exist for real and that the lemon path guards a secret that their family has forgotten for decades.

Some voids swallow you up and some embrace you. In the former you rush, in the latter, you swirl.

Alessia Castellini, with a unique grace of writing, plunges into an ancient and evocative world, peopled by tireless women, and tells a profound and moving story of sisterhood that teaches how ties, of blood and land, are indissoluble even when they seem like cut flowers, with no more strength or roots.


Marketing Information

  • English sample available