Sorrento wasn’t originally on my radar when it came to our trip to Italy. I knew I wanted to go to Pompeii, Capri and Positano, but I had no idea where our “jumping off” spot would be. Yolanda suggested Sorrento and it was a PERFECT choice! We flew from Venice to Naples and it was only $99 each. It would have taken somewhere around 8 hours to drive or take the train, so flying an hour was perfect! Taking Rick Steve’s advice once again, we chose Antonio Somma to be our guide to Pompeii. His son picked us up at the airport and drove us through Naples to Pompeii. Antonio met us and gave us a wonderful, two-hour tour of Pompeii. Zack was really the one who wanted to see this ancient town and I am so glad I decided to let him make this one choice. I am so generous! Haha. Having a private guide is always a great choice, especially when it is Antonio! He knew so much and we got special privileges that we wouldn’t have had otherwise…like getting around the huge line in front of the ancient brothel. Wow, the images on the walls were shocking! We were just in awe of how well preserved everything was. We really got a feel for what it would have been like to live in this area at the time. Again, having Antonio there made all the difference because we would stop us consistently and point out details we would have walked right past and never noticed.
We walked through the main square and down the streets. I loved walking into what once were homes of ancient Italians. Some of the mosaics were still on the floors and the frescoes could still be seen on the walls. We also stopped at a bakery and could see where they had made bread.
I think my favorite part of Pompeii was the amphitheater. Just imagining that people once sat in these seats was amazing.
The small things were astounding. Painting still on the walls, a public bathroom, jewelry, etc. However, looking at the plaster molds showing the outline of people and animals was rather painful to look at. These molds were made after scientists stuck poles through the ash, noting were there were cavities. They then poured plaster into the cavities and dug them out. These are not the actual beings that were mummified. Their bodies had decomposed in the ash and had left a vacant spot that was then filled with plaster. At least that is what I remember Antonio telling me. I hope I got that right!
After our tour, we sat in a little cafe owned by Antonio and his family, had some fresh-squeezed orange juice, and took a picture in the same spot he had taken a picture with Rick Steves. I was star struck! Then, we jumped into the van with Antonio’s son and headed to Sorrento. This is not a short drive, nor a straight one. Beautiful though!
Sorrento is a small, gorgeous little town, so quaint, easy to walk through, full of amazing shops, and home to anything dealing with a LEMON! I chose to splurge a bit on the hotel room since these would be our last days in Italy. Such a great decision! We stayed at the Grand Hotel de la Ville and we got a suite with views of the ocean. One of my favorite parts of the hotel was that the roof had a pool and lounging area where you could relax with views of the coastline. Wow!
Another amazing aspect of the hotel was the dining accommodations. There was the choice to sit inside or outside and there was so much food!! I always chose fruit and pastries. They were so tasty!
As soon as we unpacked, we let the Sherard’s know we had arrived and Yolanda met us for a pizza and a beer. Now that’s a beer! I wasn’t very thrilled with Italian beer. In my opinion, the wine is much better. Naples is supposedly the birthplace of pizza, so we just had to have some. It did not disappoint! However, the Venice pizza was still my favorite.
From our balcony we could look down into a little lemon grove and we noticed that there were a little restaurant and hotel inside the grove. It was the Relais Correal and when we went down to check it out we were able to make a reservation and came back that night for dinner. The food was amazing and the service wonderful!
Sorrento is world-famous for its lemons and so is the Via San Cesareo for its shops wiled with lemon products. They definitely let you know this everywhere you go! Every restaurant serves limoncello and they even pass out samples of it in the shops. Lemon candies, lemon olive oil, lemon tiles, lemon aprons, and on and on. I loved every minute of it!
As usual, one of our favorite things to do was stroll through the town and just see what there was to see in our own time. We could have used two or three more days here, but as it was we really didn’t have an entire day to explore since one day we were in Pompeii, one day in Capri and one day on the Amalfi Coast. However, every little moment we had, we used to walk through lemon groves and eat gelato!
One area I would definitely have liked to see more of was the harbor. We really only went down here when we got on the boat for Carpi. It is worth many hours of exploration that unfortunately, we did not have. The colors of the buildings and the boats were so cheerful and worthy of many more pictures! During our stay here we took several excursions, so come back next week and join us on our trip to the island of Capri!!!