The next installment of our trip to Italy looks at Sorrento. Sorrento’s roots date back to 600BC where it started life as a Greek Colony. Obviously over the years as the Roman Empire spread, Sorrento, or Surrentum as it was know 2500 years ago, was folded into the Roman Empire and today is a major tourist destination for those visiting the Amalfi Coast of Italy.

We spent 3 days in Sorrento and stayed at the Belair Hotel. The location was brilliant, the accomodations very nice, but the restaurant was something that can be skipped. We found far better food in the local restaurants. 3 days in Sorrento was plenty of time for us to see everything we wanted to see. In reality, we spent one of those days in Capri (click here for that report) and still had plenty of time to take in Sorrento. The main attractions including their shopping areas, historical monuments and churches are all within easy reach of each other allowing you to cover a lot of things quickly. Mrs. LufthansaFlyer and I consider ourselves to be “hit-and-run” travelers. We do not spend hours crawling through musuems and galleries but rather visit the spots we want to see, take them in for a little bit, and move on to the next place that draws our attention. For those of you familiar with National Lampoon’s “Vacation” that stars Chevy Chase, you could almost compare my travel habits to the scene where “Clark” and his family visit the Grand Canyon. His idea of seeing it is to stare at it for a few seconds, arm around his wife’s shoulder, nods in appreciation and off they go. I’m not that dissimilar. But I digress.

Sorrento is a beautiful place. Its filled with many alleys, cobblestone streets and pedestrian boulevards that are brimming with cafes, restaurants, tourist souvenir shops as well as some higher end boutiques. The crowds in my opinion were not bad at all. Perhaps it was due to the time of year that we were there (mid-October) or the fact that not many cruise ships were making port calls at the time.

Part of Sorrento From Our Hotel

View of Part of the Harbor From Main Road

Scenes from the various streets and alleys that make up a fair amount of Sorrento:

Sorrento is also known as a hub for Limoncello. A very,very good Lemon based Liqueur that is absolutely best served cold. And because of that Limoncello is for sale virtually at every shop along the way. Due to the popularity of lemons in the region, we saw lemon “everything”. Lemon soaps, toiletries, toothpaste, gum, chocolate etc. Anything you can make taste like a lemon, or look like a lemon, you can find in Sorrento. Here are a couple of examples:

These lemons are were not quite as big as bowling balls, but close

One of the funnier things that we saw was a local begging for that day’s lunch. This is a smart native:

Step 1: Stare down your Adversary:

Step 2: Do not take your eye off said Adversary:

Step 3: Be humble in Victory:

As it turns out, we would run into this same dog about 30 minutes later walking in a different part of Sorrento, and he still had the bone in his mouth. Must have been quite the trophy for him that day.

In all honesty, I do not have that many more words about Sorrento. Its beautiful. Its set on the edge of a sheer cliff that gives it a sense of Power and Majesty. The construction of its buildings are impressive as many are carved into parts of the cliff. For example, the stair case in our hotel still has exposed rock face showing where it was built into the cliff. Sorrento is set in a beautiful location and is one of the most photogenic cities I’ve ever visited (second only to Venice). We ate well at all the restaurants we tried, but I do recommend skipping the ones that advertise a “tourist pre-fixed menu”. They tend to not care too much about the quality and diversity of menu. But do try the Gelato’s at any of the Gelato Shops. Its the best Gelato I have ever had.

Sorrento is close to other beautiful parts of the Amalfi Coast. Positano is only a short bus or ferry ride away and is a must see (though we didn’t go). The Ruins at Pompeii are also just a short train ride away. So if you plan on visiting Sorrento keep in mind that there are other great places to visit that are nearby.

Sorrento is very easy to reach as well. From Rome, you can take a non-stop Bullet Train to Naples, and then a local train to Sorrento. The trip from Rome to Naples takes 1.5 hours, and from Naples to Sorrento, about 45 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on whether or not you were on the express train. Naples has an International Airport so flying is an option as well.

If you’re interested about visiting Sorrento, please contact me and I can give you additional information to help with your trip.

I’ll end the report with additional pictures: Enjoy!

UPDATE: Thanks Katherine for “reminding” me of the handmade leather sandals that are custom made while you wait. My wife had no problem picking out her favorite pairs as did the ducks that seemed to follow us everywhere: