While we were on the other side of the world, we decided to hop across to Italy to have a look at Pompeii, one of my childhood dreams. An afterthought, almost. But a fabulous afterthought, as it turned out.
Luckily for us, the travel agent suggested we stay in Sorrento rather than Naples. Naples is of course the major city and airport, but is renowned for crime. The air pollution is pretty unbelievable as well, for someone coming from the comparatively clear blue skies of Australia.
Sorrento, technically a town about an hour’s drive from Naples, is much safer to wander around day and night, as well as being set up for the tourist market. I say technically a town, because the drive from Naples airport to Sorrento was unceasingly houses – there appears to be no break between any of the towns. They just run on one to another. Quite how you know which town you are in, when one ends and another begins, I don’t know. Anyway, I digress.
Sorrento is gorgeous. Its narrow laneways and historic buildings sit atop cliffs that drop sharply into the Bay of Naples. Deep chasms cut their way through the town, affording views out to the Bay from unexpected places. Opposite our hotel was the end of a chasm entirely covered in greenery, with an old abandoned mill at the bottom.
The main square is lined with restaurants. Nearby the laneways form a permanent marketplace where fine jewellery shops abut tourist souvenirs shops. Exquisite marquetry is available in anything from a jewellery box through to a dining room table. Volcanic rock carved into statues (glitter optional). High class clothes and shoe shops, next to touristy t-shirt shops. Murano glass artwork, hand-painted views of the Amalfi Coast. Limoncello is 12 Euros for a litre – if only I could have convinced Australian customs to let me bring it into the country. The Limoncello here is much more lemony than anything I have tried back home.
The children loved our quick stop-over in Sorrento. The people were very friendly, seemed to love children and loved talking to them – and spoke English. This is the benefit of hanging around a tourist area! The boys were quite over struggling to understand another language by this stage.
The best restaurant we tried was a new one called Refood. It is owned by the same people who owned the hotel we were staying in – they talked us into trying their restaurant. We were very glad we did! Great atmosphere, some amazing Murano glass light fittings. Really fresh top quality food, and a wide variety. My only criticism of Sorrento restaurants is that generally they tended to serve a fairly standard “Italian” fare – lasagne, pasta, pizza etc. A little bit “same”. Re-food was different – a wide variety of really unique modern cuisine. The entree Trilogy was spectacular – swordfish and salmon, stacked in a salad with a lovely creamy dressing.
My only regret – somehow I didn’t realise how close to Capri we were. We could see it from the coast, even see the town on the island. Had I realised, we would have had a day-trip there as well. Never mind, we’ll just have to go back!
If you liked this post you might also like some more travel posts…..
Arrival in Paris
Caves of Lascaux
Standing Stones of Carnac
Les Grottos en France
Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)
Streets of Paris
Arc de Triomphe