Halfway between Rome and the tip of the Italy’s boot lies beautiful, sunny Sorrento. Dripping with lemon trees, olive vines, sunshine and salty smells, this coastal city captures the hearts of all who stroll its narrow, stone-paved lanes.
We took the Frecciarossa express train from Rome to Naples and switched to the Circumvesuviana train that took us further along the coast to Sorrento. The Circumvesuviana train station was quite seedy, and it was a mental circus to look after our bags, find the appropriate ticket line and side step the roaming pickpockets. Luckily, the police presence seemed to be increased in the station, and though there were some shady characters lurking on our platform, we boarded the rickety coastal train with no problems and soon arrived amid Sorrento’s cradle of soothing breezes.
Once again, AirBnB came through for us in Sorrento. Although we had five steep flights of stairs to climb, it was cute, comfortable and smack it the town’s center. We were on the top story of a family apartment and our rooftop patio boasted incredible views of the Bay of Naples. After long days exploring Pompeii, Naples and Mt. Vesuvius, this patio offered the perfect respite for relaxing, watching sunsets and listening to church bells toll around town.
Exploring Sorrento: Perched on a ledge over the azure Bay of Naples, Sorrento is the perfect spot to enjoy the region’s highlights including Naples, the dazzling Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. Though the city doesn’t offer much in the way of must-see tourist sights (we were very spoiled after seeing the splendors of Rome), I appreciated that there was little to do except roam the cobblestones, savor marine vistas and smell its luscious orange and lemon perfume.
It was also fun to pick up souvenirs along Limonoro, Sorrento’s main pedestrian street. Shops along this narrow alley offered limoncello, a lemon aperitif, scented honeys, Italian deserts and lemon-scented soaps. We returned more than once to take advantage of the free sweets, shots of limoncello and chocolates!
Sorrento’s fishing scene is especially alluring. The charming, small-boat harbors of Marina Grande and Marina Piccola flaunt family-owned cafes and restaurants with wooden stools and fat, sleepy cats. Buildings are painted in fading ice-cream colors and tiny fishing boats bob to gentle, SIren songs.
One evening, we stumbled upon an adorable cafe long the docks of Marina Grande. Though we originally set out to find dinner along the docks, we were enticed by the Euro 5 carafes of wine and complimentary peanuts. We spend several hours watching the fishing boats return with their day’s catch while neighborhood cats snaked through our ankles.
Gentle guitar strums echoed across the harbor and couples strolled arm-in-arm. It was an enticing, near magical atmosphere. I believe dinner was forgotten in favor of satisfying our souls instead of our bellies that evening.
After three nights in Sorrento, immersed in its intoxicating glitz, I can certainly understand why Sorrento is so popular with the expat community and tourists. How could one not love looking at panoramas like this everyday?