“Put a compass to paper and trace a circle. Then tell me which other country has such a concentration of places like Amalfi, Naples, Ischia, Procida, Sorrento, Positano, and Pompeii, and Capri” – Diego Della Valle
One thing that this quarentine has definitely made us do is reminisce and reflect on what used to be. From being able to frequently meet with friends and family, to going to our favorite haunts for a meal, drink, or coffee, to traveling freely, and so much more. There is so much that we cannot do, or must do differently for now. A few days ago, I was looking through my photos from my Florentine summer, and came upon the weekend I spent in Sorrento. It suddenly struck me that I had never made a blog post about those few days! I couldn’t believe it (still can’t), and still don’t know why I didn’t write an article until now.
Before I left for Florence, I had a list of things I wanted to see and places to go, and a weekend in Rome (read parts one, two, and three) and a weekend at the Amalfi Coast were right at the top. Fortunately, I was able to cross both off. The stimulus to go the weekend that I did, was that my godmother was going to be in Sorrento visiting one of her best friends that lives there, along with a few other of her pals. It was a truly serendipitous trip, and getting to add another city I have been to with her was so exciting. So far we have Florence, New York, Paris, Sorrento, San Diego, and Las Vegas on the list!
On the morning of August 23rd, I woke up bright and early around 5:30 to board the Frecciarossa train from Santa Maria Novella Station at 6:15 for my three hour journey south to Napoli Centrale, Naples main train station. After arriving, I took a quick taxi ride from the station to the port and got on the ferry that goes from Naples to destinations along the Amalfi Coast. On a 30 minute ride, I arrived in Sorrento just before noon to meet my godmother and her friend for a cappuccino, before enjoying a seafood lunch and running some errands in town. I was instantly struck by all of the gorgeous colors of the town, shops, visitors, and local culture. We went up to the house where we were staying for a rest and a change of clothes before returning to town for drinks, aperitivo, then dinner al fresco with our group of five.
It was another early morning, as I met our friends for our day trip. Day two was a haul, but I got to see one of the most legendary destinations in all of Italy: the excavations of Pompeii! From Sorrento, getting to Pomepii is very easy from the tram that runs from Napoli Centrale to Sorrento with stops along the way, one of them being the scavi. As a visitor to the ancient city, you can book a tour with a guide ahead of time, or go on your own with an audio guide. We chose the audio guide which was fantastic, but if I go back I would most definitely take a guided tour. The city is so much bigger than I had expected it to be. It is so worth visiting, but I would recommend you be in good physical condition and can handle spending a long time on your feet, especially in the hot Italian summer. Remember your sunscreen and a wide brimmed hat. We spent many hours exploring the ruins and learning about the history of this ancient civilization and way of life. It is unfathomable how intelligent and advanced they were!
When we got back to Sorrento that afternoon we just wanted to relax, and what better way to do that than by the sea?! Sorrento doesn’t have a naturally descending coast that turns to beaches, their coastline are cliffs that drop 50 meters straight down. Docks have been built out into the sea that hold chaises and umbrellas for lounging, and the area between the cliffs and the docks are for swimming. Jumping into that water after such a hot, sweaty, and tiring morning was utterly euphoric. Our mid-afternoon lunch of prosciutto e melone and insalata caprese was one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had. We strolled through town to enjoy the sunset before changing and going for dinner. I checked into a hotel that night which would home for the next two nights, as my godmother and her friends were continuing further south the next morning.
I woke up in my little hotel room that overlooked the sea to another perfect day. This was definitely the day I was looking forward to the most during my weekend, because it was the day I took a boat tour around the island of Capri! I booked the tour through Airbnb Experiences, and it was a fantastic time. There were about a dozen of us on the boat that was led by a father and son team. The ride to the island, while stopping in a few grottos, making a stop for some swimming and snorkeling, and going through the Fragolini, took about three hours to get to the Marina Piccola where we docked for lunch and a few hours of exploring (btw I got seasick twice before we even docked due to my extreme sensitivity to motion, and that was with taking Dramamine that morning! What the heck!!). We ate all together before breaking off into smaller groups that wanted to do various activities. My group did some walking and and a bit of shopping, then went into that incredible turquoise water for some swimming, and of course, picture taking.
We got back onto the boat with the whole group, and sailed around the rest of the island. On the way back I got sick again for a grand total of three times that day, a new record 😂. When I got back to my hotel late that afternoon, my body was so tired from the sun, saltwater, and from being sick so many times. I had a rest, changed and went up to the rooftop for a much needed glass of wine and to watch the sunset, which was the most incredible sunset I had ever, ever seen. I had an impromptu photoshoot with my tripod and bluetooth button, then went down for dinner on the terrace – which of course was outstanding.
Alas, the weekend had to come to and end! On my last day, I originally had plans to take the ferry to the famed town of Positano for the day, but being so sick the day before I was not keen to get back onto a boat, so I changed my plans which was disappointing but Positano will always be there! I packed up my bags and headed into town for some shopping. The Amalfi Coast is famous for their sandals, and I would most definitely be leaving with a pair to commemorate my weekend! I found an adorable shop just off of the main square, where I made friends and spoke Italian with the husband and wife owners. They hand make each pair according to your shoe size and the embellishment you want on the front. I ended up with two pairs, as they generously gave me a discount and I paid cash.
I pit-stopped for a quick lunch as I continued down the street filled with gorgeous shops, and continued to shop, stroll, and soak in my surroundings for the last few hours. Once I felt complete with my day, I headed back onto the tram that takes me to Napoli Centrale to catch my 3:30 train back to Florence. I arrived back to my special city late that evening and picked up a pizza to-go from one of my favorite pizzeria’s on my way home. I am so lucky and grateful to have had the opportunity to go to such a special place, but being there with my godmother will always be an incredible memory. She has been going to the Amalfi Coast for decades with her friends (my mom has been on a few trips with her over the years!) and I was happy to have gotten a little experience of that. Looking through all of my photos, I am more appreciative than ever to have had my Florentine summer, and the incredible experiences that I did!