• Sorrento – Top Destination for Roman Remains and Relaxation

    by  • December 31, 2013 • Architecture, City Breaks, Culture Breaks

    With its mild climate and privileged position above the Gulf of Naples on the scenic Amalfi peninsula, Sorrento enjoys one of the Mediterranean’s longest tourist seasons. Spring is maybe the best time to take a short break or even enjoy a longer, more leisurely stay.  Temperatures are generally warm rather than hot, and you can enjoy the profusion of Mediterranean flora and perfumes – wisteria, mimosa, jasmine and vivid agapanthas – and gaze in awe at trees heavy with lemons.

    Most visitors to Sorrento arrive by plane at Naples airport, about 50 km to the north of Sorrento.  From Naples airport it may be possible to book seats on a shuttle bus to  Sorrento or, for a cheaper option, take the Circumvesuviana train from Naples Garibaldi Station to Sorrento.  This scenic railway journey (although the trains themselves are generally rather run-down and graffiti-covered) takes about an hour and costs about €3.

    Sorrento makes a superb base for visiting the Roman ruins at Pompeii and Herculanium.  The Circumvesuviana suburban railway makes travel from Sorrento to the archaeological sites extremely simple. It’s just under half an hour to Pompeii and another 17 minutes on from there to Herculaneum. It is fascinating to visit both and to compare the two towns which were buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.

    The city of Sorrento itself is also well worth exploring.  For a little culture, visit the Museo Correale di Terranova which is stuffed with precious artefacts amassed by the counts of Terranova (brothers Alfredo Pompeo Correale). Spread over four floors, the museum showcases inlaid artefacts, paintings and furnishings and the views to Naples and Vesuvius from the upper floors are superb.

    A visit to the 15th century Duomo is also recommended.  Inside are examples of Sorrento’s famed intarsio (wood mosaic) work as well as paintings by artists from Sorrento’s NeapolitanSchool of the 1700s.

    For tourists who enjoy wandering around the city on foot there are endless possibilities for spending a relaxing hour or two. Via San Cesareo is the main street of the old town and is the place to go for the lively evening “passegiata”.  The Villa Comunale Park is one of Sorrento’s main attractions.  A small and charming park that almost resembles a town square, the Villa Comunale has much to offer including exotic plants, vibrant seasonal flowers and large trees which provide shade from the strong Italian sun.  It also affords beautiful panoramic views of the coastal scenery around the Bay of Naples. Apart from the many yachts sailing by, other sights to look for include the Marina San Francesco, which is located almost directly below the Villa Comunale, the Marina Piccola, the Marina Grande and even Mount Vesuvius itself.

    Sorrento has many returning visitors and it’s easy to understand why.  Here you can find the perfect mix of relaxation and activity – history, archaeology, walking, water sports and just enjoying all things Italian.