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Why do I like Sorrento so much? Let me tell you... - Italy Travel Story

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Title: Why do I like Sorrento so much? Let me tell you...
I suppose the fact that I’ve been there so many times makes it a familar experience for me, and I like that – although I’v e spoken to lot’s of people who tell me that they never go to the same place twice. The problem with never going to the same place twice is that you never get to see the ‘real’ place itself. Instead you eat on the main streets and roads, to take the same trips as everyone else, and you’ve never really had time to learn anything about the place that you can’t find in a brochure. On the other hand, taken a week or two at a time, I’ve spent about three months in Sorrento. I’ve done the main trips, Amalfi, Pompeii, Herculaneum, Vesuvius, Capri and Ischia. I’ve seen the Tarantella danced, and because my wife loves shopping I believe I know every shop owner and waiter in Sorrento – and here’s why I really like Sorrento so much. My idea of a holiday is to relax; I’m not into beach holidays and I’m too old to be an action man. I want to be able to find a quiet spot that is slightly shaded, but still warm, where I can read a book without having a horde of children bouncing a ball out of the pool and onto my lounger. I also want to be able to have a conversation with other people of a similar age group (for us that means anywhere for forty onwards), who have similar interests and also want a little r+r. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not into lazing by a pool for a week or two – I also want a bit of mental stimulation. I’m fascinated by history, and awestruck by some of the fantastic atristic creastions that have been left for us over the centuries, so I want to have a wander around and visit archeological sites and ancient palaces, but I prefer living places to museums. The churches in and around Sorrento are spectacularly beautiful, some of them make me feel good inside, other make me sad. I remeber walking into one church in the centre of the town and seeing the stinning frescoes on the walls and cielings looking as if the whole place had been riddled with bullet holes, when I asked what had happened I was told that the building was suffering from subsidence, and the best way to prevent the cracks from spreading was to drill a hole at either end of the crack – because the fault then came to a circle, there was no way for it to spread. My first though was how good it was that these people were trying to preserve this amazing, living work of art, but how sad it was that they were struggling for money – forty or fifty thousand pounds was all that they needed, but they had to rely on the good will of the locals and tourists alike to help out. A few days later, walking around St Peter’s Basilica in Rome I was completely blown away at the priceless painting and statues surrounding me glorifying God and the Catholic Church. I was also struck by the size and numbers of the chests littered around the place collecting donations – and people weren’t putting pennies in those chests. What really hit me though, was how easy it would be for the Catholic church to send fifty thousand pounds to that little church in Sorrento – I’m sure that’s less than one days’ donations in St. Peters’, but it would means so much to their parisioners a few hundred kilometers away. Enough of politics and religion though, the point of this story is to tell you that Sorrento and it’s surroundings has so much to make you think, and that’s why I like it. A walk around Pompeii makes you realise that this was a sophisticated trading city when we English were living in mud huts and painting our faces with woad to frighten people. I also like to try as much as possible to find out about the people of the area, and how they live. Because we visit Italy so often (at least twice a year now), I can speak a little Italian, with the help of a friendly local I can hold a conversation without have to revert to English too much, and for me that’s also a pleasure, but it’s by no means necessary – almost everyone in the area speaks English or has someone who does within earshot. The locals are incredibly friendly, and if you can manage just a few words of Italian they respond unbelievably well to you. This year the head waiter in the hotel that we were staying in asked me “why do you speak Italian?”. But after that, my few words of Italian got my wife and I great service from all of the staff, along with friendly tips - all in Italian. I have to add here, that my Italian doesn’t go much past food and wine - these compliments are more to do with someone trying to make me feel good than a real comment on my linguistic skills, but for a ‘feel good’ factor, they really do know how to deliver! There are so many other reasons why I like Sorrento, and if you care to look around these pages, I’ll try to show you some more reasons, but if you want a quick explaination of the city, then try this as a guide; The bad news - • If you want lively resort with lot’s of childrens entertainments, it’s probably not for you. The Sorrentinas’ love children, but the town doesn’t really cater for them. • If you want sand and watersports, it’s not going to be for you. What little beach Sorrento has is either owned by hotels, or the small shingle and black sand beach at Marina Grande. There is a larger beach (called bikini beach, where the locals claim the first bikini’s were worn) on the way back towards Naples, but even that doesn’t look great. • If you want McDonalds, KFC or Pizza Hut, you’re going to be disappointed, there are some English style pubs, but even those serve caprese salads (motzarella and tomotoes) and wine – although if you like pizza, this is one place you will be happy The good news – • If you want a peaceful break but still enjoy lively evenings, then you’ll enjoy Sorrento. There is plenty of varied things to do, with lots of lively tavernas that have live entertainment, as well as quiter places where yiu can relax with a drink and talk to new friends. • If you’re a fan of history and culture, then you wouldn’t have enough time to see everything if you stayed for the rest of your life. This area has been 4,000 years in the making – you can choose your favourite parts of it today. • If you want a sightseeing vacation, you won’t believe the choices you have; even Rome is reachable for a day trip (although it’s a long day). You can see volcanoes, mountains and islands all from the same central location. Visit the places that todays movie stars and pop idols all come to hide, and see the sights that inspired Byron, Dickens, Goethe, Wagner and Sophia Loren – to name but a few (as they say). • If you’re just into people watching, you’ll be in fine company. Sitting outside a bar or taverna, watching people go by and crazy italian drivers when there’s traffic, whilst enjoying a glass of vino or a small birre whilst soaking up the sun, is a favourite Sorrentine pastime, and you see locals and tourists alike all taking part. So that’s why I like Sorrento so much, I hope that you’ll like it too. If you want to learn a bit more, after this year's trip my wife and I decided to create a website about it, complete with pictures at www.bella-sorrento.com, have a look!

Reviews (2)

Really nice article. Sorrento is also one of my favorite place . There are many Sorrento sightseeing which worth seeing. Its museums Museo Correale di Terranova showing displays of artifacts. You get to see some amazing views of Sorrento port, another is Chiesa di San Francesco you can't miss it and off course Limoncello which is produced from lemon rinds, water and sugar you will get this at cafe's.http://www.europevoyage.net/sorrento-italy-tourism.html
All of the reasons you mentioned (and 1000 more...) are the reasons I too love Sorrento. I recently visited this past summer, as part of a month long backpacking trip around Italy, France and Spain. Sorrento (and the surrounding areas) stand out to me more than any of the other cities we visited. The city itself is gorgeous, the people are lovely and friendly and the food is amazing. I enjoyed walking around the streets of Sorrento, shopping in the early morning markets and looking out at the Mediterranian. It truely is a magical city, and I hope I can visit again sometime.