- Nautically Neapolitan
- Bay of Naples cove
- Italian eye candy
- In view of Vesuvius
- Quirky nautical
- Neapolitan cliffhanger
- Majolica-filled manor
- Sant'Agnello seaside
- Pastel-painted Amalfi
- Coast life
- Sailors and sirens
The Ancients believed that mariners were lured to the islands and towering cliffs of the Amalfi Coast by the songs of the Sirens, mythical temptresses who gave their name to the seductive town of Sorrento.
The orange and lemon groves, ancient vineyards and perfect climate prove no less irresistible today. Even the sumptuous villas that clamber up the vertiginous mountainsides in pastel ranks of peach, pink and primrose seem to be jostling to get the perfect view of the Bay of Naples and the brooding volcano of Vesuvius. With an elegant palazzo or piazza at every turn, the town bewitches all comers, and the tiny beaches and family-run restaurants are deservedly bustling in summer.
Massa Lubrense, at the tip of the Sorrentine peninsula, is an area of hamlets, lemon groves and unrivalled sea views. The groves are criss-crossed by mule paths and marked footpaths – fantastic in spring when the lemon and orange blossom is in bloom.
- Expensive, but most sights in Sorrento are walkable. If you can’t do without a driver, call 081 878 2204.
- Tipping culture
- Although restaurant bills include a service charge, an additional ten per cent tip is customary.
- Siesta and fiesta
- Increasingly, there is a trend towards more flexible opening hours. Roughly: Monday to Saturday 09h–13h and 17h–22h, with many shops closing on Saturday afternoons and Monday mornings.
- Packing tips
- Some comfortable shoes for Pompeii and the climb up and down the steep steps to the beach.
- Recommended reads
- The Last Days of Pompeii by Edgar Bulwer-Lytton; The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith.
- Fish and crustaceans are the Sorrentine starlets. Specialities include lobster cooked with tomatoes, octopus casserole and sautéed shrimp. Main ingredients include sweet extra-virgin olive oil, tomatoes, fior di latte mozzarella (which, in Sorrento, is plaited), and herbs.
- Dialling codes
- Country code for Italy: 39. Sorrento: 081.
- Do go/don't go
- Massa Lubrense, at the tip of the Sorrentine peninsula, is an area of hamlets, lemon groves and unrivalled sea views. The groves are criss-crossed by mule paths and marked footpaths – fantastic in spring when the lemon and orange blossom are in bloom.