It’s always been my dream to travel around Italy.
So you can imagine how excited I was to get my tickets booked for gorgeous Sorrento.
For those that don’t know, Sorrento is a coastal town in southwestern Italy which faces the Bay of Naples. A one hour coach ride from Napoli Airport, the cliff top views instantly take your breath away as you cast your sights out to azure waters and the faint trace of nearby islands. With every turn we made up those winding roads, the views just became even more stunning.
As we entered the town of Sorrento the first things I noticed were the cheerfully colourful buildings and the sheer amount of scooters! Roads in Sorrento are quite narrow and winding, which made our journey something of a miracle. Once we disembarked we got a taster of the town as we wheeled our luggage to our hotel, the Carlton International. Sorrento is quite a small town and so our hotel being placed quite near the main square meant that everything was pretty much within walking distance; the supermarket, cafes, souvenier shops and of course important sights that hold important history for the locals.
A good way to determine what you want to see is to board the City Train tour from Piazza Tasso, which spends 35 minutes taking you to key sights around Sorrento. An inexpensive way to get a quick feel for the history and the cultural offerings, it also provides excellent photo opportunities for those keen Insta-travellers. By foot, take the time to wander through those small cobbled roads where you’ll pass local artisan shops and landmarks that are key to this charming city.
I loved exploring Sorrento by foot, peeking in at passionate shop owners, all keen to sell you a piece of this coastal paradise. It was exciting taking a spontaneous left turn and discovering hidden treasures along the way.
Whenever you’re in Italy, you know you can’t go wrong with the food. The main square boasts a range of restaurants and bars all of which offer that pasta and pizza that Italy is known for.
Though I was unable to consume the meat there, I have to say that the vegetarian options on offer more than satisfied me. If I had to pin down my favourite meal, it would be Aurora’s vegetarian lasagna. Trust me. Vegetables never tasted so good!
Don’t forget to sample the gelato there as well. Creamy, smooth and full of flavour, my travel buddy and I savoured our caramel and hazelnut pots until the very end.
As Sorrento is quite small you’ll only need about three days to fully explore the town. I loved the Sedile Dominova, a meeting place where nobles use to gather to discuss issues pertaining to the town. It’s now used by older men as a place to socialise, play cards and pass time. Although constructed in the 16th century, there are breathtaking frescoes from the 18th century of trompe l’oeil columns and the family coat of arms. Considering its use all those years ago, the Sedile Dominova is well preserved, and according to other blogs, if you ask nicely enough, the locals will be more than happy for you to sit and take in the atmosphere and sights.
We pushed the boat out and indulged in spa treatments at the Excelsior Vittoria, which is perched on a high cliff top overlooking the Gulf of Naples. Walking through lush gardens scented with lavender, the Excelsior Vittoria was founded by the Fiorentino family and is run by the fifth generation of the very same family. You immediately know you’re in the hands of five star quality and treatment as you take a right turn three quarters of the way in and find yourself in the boutique spa, La Serra. Prices are a bit steep for treatments, but for 60 minutes, you’re transported to true peace and calm, forgetting completely about the hustle and bustle of Italian life.
A 20 minute ride by ferry from Marina Grande, lies the picturesque island of Capri. As you disembark you can’t help but stop and marvel at how beautiful the coast line is. White, yellow and pink buildings pop against the green backdrop and deep blue waters.
Capri offers sights to explore both on land and by water. The Blue Grotto is a hugely popular feature where visitors can venture inside this sea cave where it is illuminated a magnificent blue thanks to sunlight entering an underwater cavity and shining through the seawater.
The entrance to this cave is determined by the sea. It’s important that the tide is low and the sea is calm as the mouth of the cave is only two metres wide and one metre high. Sadly on the day we were visiting the sea prevented us from entering which was disappointing.
At the same time though, it was good to see that safety was paramount to tour guides and operators. While a lot of visitors wander Capri and take in the parade of shops and architecture this side of the island boasts, some forget to explore Anacapri.
Located approximately 150 metres above Capri, you can get a full view of the island by taking a quick ride on the chairlift to Monte Solaro. I admittedly chickened out of going – the thought of sitting in what looks like a standard chair attached to this revolving machine scared me senseless. However I have it on good authority from my friend who did go that it’s worth it.
Do I regret not going?
Looking back on these pictures, I’m beginning to, but Anacapri will always be there. Given how much I loved this glimmer of Italy, you can be sure I’ll be back.