All posts by Richard Edwards

San Carlo Opera House in Naples

san-carlo

(All year)

Opera lovers visiting Sorrento should take the opportunity to visit the magnificent San Carlo Opera House in the heart of Naples.

2019 offers a wonderful programme of ballet, classical concerts as well as operas including Madama Butterfly in May and Traviata in Sept.

You can view the full programme at the official website.

Watch this video to get a flavour of what you could enjoy during your visit.

Villa Fiorentino

Villa Fiorentino Events 2019

(All year)

View the the official programme of events taking place at the Villa Fiorentino throughout the year. This includes an exhibition of more than 90 works of art by Henri Matisse.

Here is a more detailed review courtesy of Villa Fiorentino website, translated by Google.

The first exhibition will be the third edition of “SORRENTO IN ARTE” by the Associazione Pittori Sorrentini, presided over by Raffaele Iaccarino.
The collective will remain open to the public from 2 to 27 February, free admission.

On the 2nd, 3rd and 4th March there will be the XVI edition of the EXHIBITION OF CAMELIA, curated as always by the Garden Club Penisola Sorrentina. Camellias from the gardens of the Sorrento Peninsula will be exhibited as potted camellias. The last day will be dedicated to school children. Free admission.

From 9 March to 6 April it is the turn of the anthological painting by Nico Taminto entitled “IN THE SIGN OF MAN – A RULE OF ART”. The works realized in 50 years of activity will be exhibited. Free admission.

From April 10 to May 1 on display the excellence of the artisan Sorrentine Peninsula in the event “MANU FACTUM”. The members of PenisulArt will each bring their own piece to represent all the sections: crib art, violin making, jewelery, fashion, ceramics, ceramics, inlay, cabinet making, metals, poor art, artistic glass, photographers, sewing, painting, modeling and sandals. Free admission.

From May 3 to May 6 a three days dedicated to “THE ART OF TEXTILE AND EMBROIDERY”, review curated by the Cooperative “La Sirena arl” chaired by Mrs. Carmela Scala, in collaboration with the Association “Il Punto Sorrento”. Free admission.

From 11 May to 9 June the third edition of SyART FESTIVAL – SORRENTO LOVES ART will take place, an event dedicated to artists from all over the world that has an annual cadence and that has seen in the last edition 32 artists representing 5 nations.

The flagship event of the cultural vintage of the Sorrento Foundation is represented by the exhibition “HENRI MATISSE – IL MAESTRO IN SCENA”, which will be exhibited in the rooms of the villa, over 90 works that retrace the 35 years of career of the French painter With particular attention to the imprint that the artist gave to the theater and to the creations to effect From 15 June to 17 October, admission fee.

And as usual the last part of the year will be dedicated to the most magical party of the year with “CHRISTMAS IN VILLA FIORENTINO”, with rich news. From December 1st to January 6th 2020.

A rich year to live under the banner of culture and tradition for guests who will visit Sorrento, but also opportunities for the citizens themselves who want to enjoy Villa Fiorentino as a place of art and leisure for leisure.

Ravello Concerts

Ravello Concerts 2019

(April to November)

Visitors have a choice of concerts featuring works from classical selections to enjoyable jazz performances.

The concert start time from 1 April to 3 May and 9 Sept to 1 Nov will be 6.30 pm, to take advantage of the public bus service at the concert end, which is reduced in Winter and Spring.

The concerts from 6 May to 5 Aug will be performed at 8.30 pm (8.00 pm from 2 to 7 Sept) for concert goers to have time to appreciate thoroughly Ravello and to enjoy music in the cool of the evening

2019 Programme

The Art of Wood Inlay in Sorrento

Inlaid Box Sorrento

Visitors to Sorrento will not fail to see examples of the traditional art of wood inlay (intarsia) in all kinds of products, from small souvenir items to intricate pieces of furniture. Examples on a grander scale can be seen on the main entrance and side doors of the Cathedral. These include work done in the 1990’s by local artisans, Guiseppe Rocco and Vincenzo Stinga.

This traditional craftsmanship has passed the test of time and produces stunningly beautiful works of art for modern as well as traditional home interiors. Beyond the souvenir items you will find furniture and decorative accessories that will inspire anyone with a flair for interior design looking for a ‘statement’ piece.

Inlaid tables from Sorento

The Gargiulo & Jannuzzi Store on Sorrento’s main square, Piazza Tasso, offers superb examples of inlaid products to satisfy the creative imagination of any interior designer. These include exquisite decorative boxes and larger statement pieces, all blending traditional workmanship with contemporary tastes.

The Jannuzzi Store has a huge selection of products on display and offers customised design and delivery services. An introduction to the techniques used by the craftsmen is also provided. You get an idea of the range available from their website.

Inlaid boxes from Sorrento

There are a number of other workshops to be discovered in Sorrento where local artisans manufacture a wide selection of traditional and contemporary designs, see below.

To see the development and application of wood inlay since the 19th century, visit the Wood Inlay Museum and Craft Shop (Museo Bottega della Tarsia Lignea) in the beautifully restored Palazzo Pomarici Santomasi on Via S. Nicola, which is a 10 minute walk from the centre. Exhibits include furniture and objects with incredibly intricate wood inlay by past masters of the craft together with pieces from contemporary designers.

Inlaid objects from Wood Inlay Museum in Sorrento

View this video to see a small selection of wood inlay items together with other historical artefacts on display at the Museum. More information can be found on the official website of the founder Alessandro Fiorentino.

Other workshops
Stinga Tarsia. View their excellent video showing the making of a classic inlaid box. www
Cuomo’s Lucky Store. www
Augusto & Luca. www
Calemma. www
Gargiulo Inlaid. www
Biagio Barile. www

Classic Cars Tour of Sorrento and Amalfi

Classic Car Club Napoli in Sorrento

(1 to 4 Nov)

Magnificent machines from the Napoli Classic Car Club touring the beautiful Amalfi Coast and beyond. An opportunity to see a unique collection of classic cars as they tour the Sorrento Peninsula with visits to Sorrento, Positano and Capri. They will be based at the Exclesior Vittoria Hotel in the centre of Sorrento so there should be opportunities to see them arrive and depart on a number of occasions.

For details view the official programme.

Cocktails at Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria

Signature cocktail menu at the Excelsior Vittoria in Sorrento
Selection from the 20 Signature Cocktails

The menu at Bar Vittoria takes a leisurely trip around the world, from Portugal to Germany to Cuba and Japan and eventually back to Italy, with each country inspiring a cocktail. The Madame Bovary from France, the Bollywood from India, the Tartan from Scotland and so forth. The clifftop terrace has stood since 1834 – when the hotel became a favourite stop on the Grand Tour route – and since then the bar has served whiskies to Jack Lemmon, champagne to Marilyn, and pretty much anything a monarch, opera singer or film star might fancy.

On our visit we tried the Flauto di Pan, a take on the Peruvian classic Pisco Sour, delicately flavoured with pineapple and pomegranate. A refreshing aperitif with enough complexity to keep you interested. Then from Italy the Stradivari, a kind of Aperol Spritz/Negroni cross, adding limoncello and moscato wine. And from the US, maybe our favourite, the Marilyn: a boozy after-dinner sipping drink made with bourbon, Ancho Reyes (a chili liqueur which gives a little kick) and Amaro 18 – Italian bitters made with aromatic herbs. There’s also a little waiter theatre to enjoy…our Stradivari was poured and topped with prosecco in front of us from a silver trolley, and the ladies at the neighbouring table enjoyed a live martini-mixing.

The Flauto di Pan
The Flauto di Pan (“panflute”) with Vesuvius in the background

The signature cocktails were created by head barman Gerardo Oliva, whose CV includes the Capri Palace in Anacapri, and the Castello del Nero Hotel & Spa in Tuscany. And there are lots of little menu details that nod to history or culture or local mythology. The Liquore delle Sirene pops up in a few drinks, an Italian liqueur of 23 botanicals including Mediterranean fruit and flowers, Asian sweet spices and bitter roots from the Americas. It’s used in their Parthenope cocktail, named after a Siren in Greek mythology. (The Sirenusas are an archipelago of islands between Capri and Positano – the name a reference to the sirens said to have lived there and lured sailors to their doom.)

The prices here aren’t for the faint-hearted: the cocktails are 18 euros each. But, remind yourself, this is a once-in-a-lifetime drinks experience. And to soften the blow, they don’t skimp on the nibbles. At the very least you can expect a generous trio of crisps, toasted almonds and big sweet green olives (according to a quick internet search, Castelvetrano olives from Siciliy). We were also brought a plate of tasty amuse-bouches – cream cheese and chorizo in shortcrust-pastry boxes, miniature pizzas, and bitesized basil and mozzarella sandwiches.

Cocktails and canapes at the Hotel Excelsior Vittoria in Sorrento
Champagne cocktail, the Stradivari and snacks aplenty

It goes without saying that you can order off-menu – the barman will make any classic cocktail on request. We had a great gin martini the night after too. For me, the only things missing from the menu were a few good craft beers. Granted it might not be their priority (and maybe Campania hasn’t been hit by the craft-beer craze like the UK) but it couldn’t hurt to add to the omnipresent bottle-of-Peroni.

The bar hosts live music every Friday night, including international jazz artists. On our visit, a quieter Wednesday, there was a pianist on the terrace playing the traditional Italian songbook – Torna a Surriento etc.  I personally find this kind of music a little sentimental, and preferred the modern tracks they had in the background later into the night. (Hearing a contemporary sound in a historical setting can be strangely magical.) That said, some might consider a traditional soundtrack part of the Excelsior experience.

View from the bar terrace at sunset
View from the bar terrace at sunset

And then of course there’s the view. Honestly it’s a fight to not spend the whole time reaching for your phone – and I did find myself wishing that people were a little less phone centric – because the sunset is breathtaking. If you’re visiting Sorrento but not staying at the Excelsior, you’d do very well to head down to Bar Vittoria (check beforehand what time the sun sets) and see for yourself why it’s such a firm favourite.

by Sam Edwards
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