On the final leg of our Italy trip, John and I stayed in Sorrento for 5 days with day trips to picturesque Amalfi Coast and the glamorous Isle of Capri. We arrived in Sorrento via private transfer from Rome (part of our Costco package that you can read about here) which also included a private transfer to Naples International Airport for our return flight home as well as our own private driver to explore the Amalfi Coast, at our leisure. Sorrento is a coastal town known for its stunning views, lemons and Limoncello, boutiques and its location as it faces the bay of Naples, Mount Vesuvius and the Isle of Capri. You can get to Sorrento by air, water or land making it a good base when visiting the southern coastal towns of Italy, including the city of Naples, known for its pizza and from where John’s Italian side of the family is. Sorrento is 30 miles from Naples International Airport, about a 3.5 hour drive from Rome by car and just under 3 hours from Rome by train. Due to how easily accessible it is to get to-and-fro, Sorrento is considered the gateway to the Amalfi Coast.
Where we stayed:
We stayed at the Grand Hotel De La Ville, a 4 star luxury hotel, located in the center of Sorrento and just a short walking distance from the town square and the marina. Our hotel had a rooftop pool so we spent one day lounging poolside and being lazy which was well deserved and needed after 2 weeks of non-stop touristy stuff. Sorrento is a small town with a laid-back vibe and slower-paced. It was almost a little too slow and quiet for us after being so go, go, go in the beginning of our trip. If we could do it all over again, we would’ve spent less time in Sorrento and extended our stay in Rome and/or Tuscany. We walked into town every night, sat outside local cafés to people watch and then had dinner each night at one of the restaurants in the square. Many restaurants in Sorrento typically serve lunch between 12:30-3:00pm and dinner between 7:30pm-11:00pm because business owners close shop to go home for lunch and spend time with their families during off hours. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could incorporate a 4 hour break during the day here in the states?! One of the restaurants we dined at was a ma and pa pizza shop called Pizzeria da Franco that was popular with the locals and open late night with a crowd out the door every time we walked past. If you’re looking for a quick bite and really tasty pizza, this is the place to go. **When a house wine is named after you.** 🙂
On our second day in Sorrento, our private driver picked us up in the early morning for a day of sightseeing and exploring the Amalfi Coast. The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline off the Mediterranean, south of Naples, which includes three of the most beautiful and scenic towns on the coast: Positano, Ravello and Amalfi. Positano, the most popular resort village and highly sought out summer travel destination was our first stop. This famous hill town is aligned with pastel-colored houses sitting perched atop of cliffs with its own beach town, shopping and of course breathtaking views that are the subject of postcards and Google images anytime you search southern Italy. The views really are breathtaking and the drive along the coast is drool worthy in itself. Ravello, the second town we explored, is a charming and quaint town overlooking the sea, also known for its stunning views, but on the quieter side than the neighboring towns of Positano and Amalfi which are overcrowded with tourists. Costco Travel reserved a table for us for lunch at one of the hotel restaurants with outdoor seating allowing us some time to just really soak in the peace and quiet for a couple of hours with some killer views. Amalfi, the larger of the three towns sits just below the steep cliffs allowing you to stay and enjoy the beautiful scenic coast without the VIP prices. Although exploring the town of Amalfi was included in our excursion, we decided to forgo the crowd that day and visit Pompeii instead. I would’ve preferred to just stay in Positano, lounge beachside and sip on Limoncello Spritzers all day.**Note** As I’m sure most of you know, Pompeii was once an ancient Roman city that was destroyed and buried under ash after Mount Vesuvius erupted on August 24, 79 AD. It’s now an archaeological site that visitors can explore freely, but it hasn’t been preserved well and a lot of the excavations have been removed so I just felt like we were walking around aimlessly through debris. However, we were told that much of the excavations in Herculaneum remain and is supposedly more interesting to see. There are also several wineries that offer tours and wine tastings near Pompeii as well.On one of our last days in Sorrento we took a ferry to the Isle of Capri which took about 25 minutes. Ferrys run almost everyday and every couple of hours so just make sure to check the schedule. We absolutely loved Capri. When you arrive, there are several restaurants, shops and vendors in the marina who can take you on their boats to tour the Blue and Green Grottos. There are taxis that drive you uphill to Capri’s Town Center and to Anacapri for mountain views from Monte Salero (we were on a tight ferry schedule so we didn’t make it all the way up). The taxi stand had a long line so we decided to walk up to Capri’s Town Center not realizing how high up and how long it would take us to get up there (maybe 30 min., but we made sure to take a cab back down). There are a ton of exclusive designer shops, pretty hotels and restaurants on Capri that sort of reminds me of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.If we ever have the chance to visit the Amalfi Coast in the future, I would split my time between Positano and Capri. Until next time.