However much I try...
Italy - Non posso vivere senza voi!
Every time I visit here, I'm always amazed
I'm feel I've had a love affair with Italy. for the majority of my adult life. Ever since I was a teenager and having my first opportunity to visit to Rome, my fascination for this beautiful country has simply grew and grew.
Italy is such a wonderful country, with great food, scenery, iconic fashion and beautiful people. Over the years and beyond those teenage travelling years, I have been really lucky to visit many times and to various parts of this land. Each time I visit and sadly leave again, I know that someday I will be back for more. For me its appeal is simply too great.
Within this travel article I will focus my attention one of my favourite locations, that being the area of Naples and the south. In the hope of highlighting just one or two tips or key places to visit. These are places I've visited and I hope to therefore give a fairly comprehensive view of those locations, from my own personal point of view.
A favourite spot, here in the south is undoubtedly the Amalfi Coast and the beautiful surrounding areas and islands, that lie just off the mainland. On this particular visit I was lucky enough to visit Sorrento and use it as a base. Then venture out and discover more of the historiacal and picturesque surroundings.
Sorrento is a popular destination and a beautiful town perched high on the cliff sides, overlooking the stunning bay of Naples. It is a vibrant town, as you would expect, filled with Italian passion and a mecca for any tourist, travelling the similar route. With many hotels, both luxurious and affordable, elegant shops and a diverse range of restaurants. It is a popular location for any visitor interested in seeing this wonderful coastline.
It is positioned within close proximity to the city of Naples, with good transport links from the airport, surrounding village by bus and also ferries that link to Naples and also the island that surround.
Things to do and visit in Sorrento
Cathedral of Sorrento (Duomo)
With its beautiful clock tower, the Cathedral of Sorrento is easily recognisable and is centrally located on the Corso Italia, the main thoroughfare in the heart of Sorrento. The interior of the Duomo, as it is known, is in sharp contrast to the simple exterior of the church, but it is well worth a look.
Old Sorrento is a wonderful place to wander through and get lost in its narrow streets and alleyways. Here you’ll discover a wide range of colourful shops and quaint trattorias, that help capture the true essence of Sorrento. After spending a few hours simply wandering this area of town you’ll begin to understand why Sorrento is such a popular destination. The old town centre is pretty and home to numerous historical buildings including the Basilica of Sant’Antonino and the complex of San Francesco, which includes the church, cloister, and a convent.
Shopping in Sorrento can be a fun and enjoyable way to spend any afternoon. All visitors here will find a wide variety of small shops offering everything from leather goods and ceramic pieces to jewellery, locally grown fruits and vegetables found the extensive market stalls and anything lemon. After the popular drink Lemoncello.
During this particular visit I took a taxi, from the airport, that was conveniently priced, quick and went door to door. There is also a train link that travels around the bay, hugging the coastline, with some wondrous views. It also links the ancient towns of Ercolano and Pompeii is also excellent, here you simply get off and walk to these amazing ancient sites with ease.
I visited both on separate days and I thought they were just amazing. History is 'always' just amazing, but these two locations are just... wow!.
I personally thought visiting Pomepii was one of those moments in life you simply just cherish. I thought it was an amazing place, steeped in history and so much of it visible, to see, touch and walk amongst.
On the down side it can get busy there, especially during the high season, but there is a reason why. It is not every day you get to visit such an awe inspiring place and probably one of the worlds finest. My tip would be to make the visit here early to try to avoid the crowds and sometimes the heat.
Day Trip to Capri
One of the highlights of my trip was a day trip out to the Isle of Capri. I caught the ferry from Marina Grande and sailed from there, out across the bay and towards the island, that dominates the landscape off the coast of Sorrento. It was a speedy crossing, very cost effective and well worth it.
Once on the island I did find the port area rather busy, so to escape the tourists try something a little different and book a private boat tour of the island. I did this right upon arriving in Capri and got to see all of the magical grotto's that most visitors will miss out on. Generally, I know everyone wants to see the famous Blue Grotto, but I feel it is expensive, time consuming and actually not that good. Instead I opted for a private boat tour of the island and got to enjoy the grotto's and even having the chance to swim into some of them. This was definitely a great highlight and an unforgettable experience.
It is wise to plan your day in advance and with that you can take a boat tour in the morning and then spend most of the afternoon strolling through the small local communities of Anacapri and Capri. Or take the chair lift to the top of Monte Solaro for a stunning 360 degree view of the island. This is great and I thoroughly recommend you do this, in order to capture the true essence of this magic place.
The surrounding area
This attractive landscape does not just have many historical locations set within it, which no doubt draw thousands of visitors year on year. It also has so much to see and do.
My visit was just for a week and in that time I saw a huge amount, but would have loved to just have seen that little bit more. Exploring the area by car or by by boat.
Many other attractions are scattered around and area easily accessible. I chose to travel by bus and I could experience all of those wonderful locations in an easy and cost effective way.
In close proximity to my base were some great highlights which included places like the Amalfi Coast, the Island of Capri, and the towering volcano of Mount Vesuius that dominates the landscape for mile upon mile.
If time allows and further afield you can also visit the picturesque towns of Amalfi and Cinque Terra that lie along the dramatic coastline.
How to get there
For this visit I flew from the UK via Easyjet to Naples. It was a fairly low cost fair and relatively straightforward route from most UK airports, with several flights a day.
On arrival at the airport I conveniently caught the train and from there it was very easy to get to other locations, which are all located a short distance away.
The train runs round the bay and connects many interesting places, but eventually finishes at the town of Sorrento.
In Sorrento I took the connecting links to the Island of Capri, by boat and I also took the bus that eventually helped me to link up with the small coastal villages along the Amalfi Coast.
This is a must thing to do as the drive along the coast is pretty exhilarating to say the least. The bus clings to the coast and the views that surround are pretty amazing.
Thanks for reading
I hope to have a few more travel articles written soon, but I hope this gives a fairly comprehensive and personal viewpoint of a places I thoroughly enjoyed and would love to obviously come back to one day soon.