Benvenuti a Sorrento

Arrivederci, Roma. We promise to return very soon. In fact, so soon that we’ll be back before the month is over.

But we have much more to see, so today we headed south to Sorrento, via train.

We had been warned (grazie, Eleanora!) that Italian trains might be a bit…unreliable, relative to their schedules. Surprise! Both our train to Naples (luxury) and the train to Sorrento (a bone-rattler and camera-shaker) were right on time. It was an Italian miracle.

This is a lovely spring Sunday, and while the air conditioning has yet to be turned on anywhere, we are managing to make it through the nights. Eventually, the sound of Vespas coursing – and cursing – through the streets will lull us to sleep, rather than have us jumping toward the ceiling.

After we settled into our immaculate B&B, we strolled the streets, and quickly saw some important characteristics of this lovely city. First of all, lemons. They are dripping from the trees and incorporated in hundreds of retails items, not the least of which is limoncello.

And then there is inlaid wood. A museum celebrates it. Many walls showcase the art. It fills the cathedral, which is also graced with a wonderful diorama of the nativity, assuming that it took place in Sorrento or Naples. In the same tradition of the Metropolitan Museum’s Christmas tree, it has amazing little vignettes throughout.

As we went down to get a glimpse of the Bay of Naples, we saw the most lovely hotel and restaurant, The Bellevue Syrene. According to Homer, the sirens lived on an island near here, and Ulysses conquered them by lashing himself to his ship and putting wax in his oarsmen’s ears so that they could not hear the siren’s song, and he would not succumb to their magic. Sitting on the veranda, under gorgeous wisteria, and sipping a limoncello concoction along with a Campari Orange (known as a Garibaldi) was its own form of magic. I think we are going to like this city.

Don’s Food Corner

We’ve tasted the thin-crust pizza of Rome.  Now we’ve moved onto the thicker-crusted pizza  region of southern Italy.  While we haven’t had pizza in Naples itself (that’s next week) we were assured of authentic Neapolitan-style today at the main square in Sorrento.  The restaurant was rather elegant.  The waiter cut the pizza for us at the cloth-draped table (with accompanying Italian damask napkins).  But this was no effete pizza.  Nice chewy crust with peppered salami and mozzarella on top of a truly bright tomato sauce.  The sauce tasted extraordinarily fresh, although I’m sure it was made from some type of canned tomatoes.  More taste comparisons are in order.


4 thoughts on “Benvenuti a Sorrento

  1. You braved the Circumvesuvania Railway… and survived! (That’ll prepare you for Sicily). But Sorrento is the reward. Seductive little town isn’t it? I love the fact that Ibsen came from cold, dark Norway to sit in the sun, surrounded by lemon trees and write some of his big plays. There’s a plaque on one of the hotels ,somewhere, that says Ibsen woz here.
    Everyone needs to sit in the sun surrounded by lemon trees!!!

    1. What a fun fact! It seems we passed the hotel, which all the big boy writers of that era called home – the Tramontano. Personally, I think Ibsen could have used a few more weeks under the trees, but evidently money was short. Thank god we don’t have to leave here and go home to Norway. That would really curdle your limoncello!

  2. “Sitting on the veranda, under gorgeous wisteria, and sipping a limoncello concoction along with a Campari Orange (known as a Garibaldi) was its own form of magi….” Having just had a raving snow storm in New England, this is hard to take….

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