Sorrento

May 9, 2012
On Tuesday, April 24 we left Rome for Sorrento. We took our final ride on Trenitalia from Rome to Naples, it takes about an hour and tickets are €43. Once we arrived at the Garibaldi Station we had to purchase tickets for the Circumvesuviana Commuter Train. It runs between Naples and Sorrento, there are many stops in between including those for popular sites like Mt Vesuvius and Pompeii. When traveling to Sorrento you ride it end to end and it takes over an hour and a single ride is €3.30.

It sounded easy enough, but we had no idea the adventure that lay ahead. The platforms are not clearly marked; the screens that should display incoming trains were blank. Trains would come and we’d ask if they were headed to Sorrento? “No!” was always the reply. I had notes from guide books that had train departure times but none were accurate. About an hour later, our platform filled with people to the point there was hardly room for another soul. That’s when we ran into a nice couple from Virginia. They were staying in Naples, and they familiarized themselves with the train to Sorrento the day before on their visit to Pompeii. They warned us of the journey yet to come.

We soon learned that the cluster of Rome was to prepare us for this commuter train ride. The moment the train arrived there was pushing and shoving, it was a good fight to get onboard, it was hotter than hades too. Just when you thought it could not bear a single person more, fifty more piled on. I did not let Frank separate from me and we even managed to stay together with our new found friends. We talked about our travels and the craziness we’ve encountered. It was a pleasant way to pass the time in a truly tumultuous environment.

I know the ride is only supposed to take an hour, but it felt closer to two with all the stops in between. When they left us at the stop for Mt Vesuvius the train had cleared considerably and order – of some sort – was restored.

When we arrived in Sorrento it was so nice. The crowds had dwindled we saw the sapphire blue water, the sun shined it was warm and breezy. “Ahhh! Vacation,” we thought. We purchased UNICO CAMPANIA 3T Tourist Travel Tickets for €20 each. This covers all public transit in Campania for three days. We were immediately taken with Sorrento, it moved at a slower pace than Rome and we couldn’t get over the orange and lemon trees that lined the streets.

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Again, we stayed on the outskirts so we hopped a bus to Il Roseto, our home for the next three nights. It’s a bed and breakfast with lovely gardens. We enjoyed spending dusk in the gardens with a bottle of wine and cigar. It was our happy place. The room was large, but not terribly comfortable. It wasn’t until I returned home that I realized I never took photos of the room only the view out the bedroom and bathroom windows, and a few of the gardens.

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Sorrento’s claim to fame is limoncello. A liquor made from lemon rinds, alcohol, water and sugar. It is served after meals to help digestion. I sampled many shots, but never finished one. It tasted like lemonhead infused vodka to me.

We had a few meals in Sorrento. The first was at L’Antica Trattoria, an enchanting restaurant with gracious and fun servers. We enjoyed a bottle of white wine while we shared caprese and munched on gnocchi and ravioli.



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The food was good, but nothing extraordinary. I guess I expected more considering it is the most highly rated restaurant in Sorrento, but that’s not to say we didn’t enjoy ourselves.

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That night we had dinner at Trattoria da Emilia. A casual restaurant operated by a family, it appears mom and grandma were in the kitchen and everyone else operated the front of the house. We had the house wine and it was the only time we were disappointed by it. It tasted watered down.











Frank had ravioli to start, grilled squid for an entrée and I had the catch of the day, branzino. The squid was overdone, but my fish was fantastic. It was just a chore to work around the bones. We finished with dessert, neither cake was particularly thrilling.

We grabbed a quick bite at Jhonny Pizza. At under €20 it was our cheapest meal the entire trip.







Frank had panzerotti and pizza with sausage and peppers and I had the margarita, but it seemed more like plain ole cheese. It was not bad choice for a cheap meal without any fuss.

Our last dinner was at Jolly Blue Pub in Sant'Agnello, which is the next town over. We didn’t want to deal with the chaos in Sorrento. We came here and we were the only people on the patio. Our waitress was sweet and put up with our antics. We had a liter of Tucher, lasagna and pizza with garlic. I missed garlic so! We had a delicious dessert that was like cinnamon rolls without the cinnamon, instead gooey and loaded with nutella.

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The Sorrento sights are pretty limited to city itself and the stellar views.

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It served as a great home base to visiting Capri and the Amalfi Coast. We thoroughly enjoyed Sorrento our first day, but the days that followed were hectic. I don’t know exactly what caused the influx of crowds. I suspect cruise ships or football, or some combo of the two, but it was night and day.

The first day we were able to get around by bus easily, traffic on the streets and sidewalks flowed with ease (read: managable chaos). We were able to walk right into popular restaurants and Gelateria Primaveria had no line, we walked right up and gazed over their various flavors. The next day was like they were giving the stuff away on National Gelato Day. Pure insanity. The main street Corso Italia was shut down to vehicles the next two days and havoc ensued. Extreme havoc. It was like Rome came to visit. Fortunately, we took day trips and our exposure was limited.

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