All posts by Richard Edwards

Books on Sorrento, Amalfi and Naples

Friends of Sorrento Book List

These are the latest editions to the Friends of Sorrento book list which includes fiction, non fiction and guides for lovers of the Neapolitan Riviera and all things Italian.

My Amalfi Coast Love Affair

“As you turn the pages, you’ll feel as if you are traveling beside me on Italy’s southern coast. Sharing personal experiences, in no particular order, I relate real stories about my travels to this alluring location. You’ll read about charming villages, adventurous hikes, traditional cuisine, transportation options, shopping opportunities, and unforgettable local people. This newest book reveals a more personal side of me, and the final chapter relates what happens in my most recent trip to the Amalfi Coast, a trip I share for the first time, with the love of my life. Romance is in the air.”
Margie Miklas – Author
Order today


Naples is a fascinating and beautiful city and just as we were beginning to discover some of the many attractions we found Secret Naples, a guide full of even more hidden gems.

A mummified lizard, Borromini’s only work in Naples, vestiges of a former brothel, a hole in the wall that relieves headaches, an art gallery in a bunker, a rare customised Vespa from the Second World War, remarkable undiscovered private collections, a score in Aramaic script on a church facade, extraordinary ancient libraries unknown to Neapolitans. Far from the crowds and the usual cliches, these are just some of the well-hidden treasures only revealed to those who venture off the beaten track, residents and visitors alike. An indispensable guide for those who thought they knew Naples well, or who would like to discover the hidden face of the city.
Order today


Our Book List



Made in Italy

Sunset Concerts in Sorrento

Concerts at sunset in Sorrento

(May to Aug)

A wonderful opportunity to watch the sunset with live music in the beautiful romantic setting of the Piazza della Vittoria, just behind the Tramontano Hotel.

Concerti al Tramonto (Concerts at Sunset) start at 8.00 pm and you could enjoy the experience before a romantic dinner in the picturesque fishing harbour of Marina Grande. Make a note of the dates and listen to the performers.

Tuesday 29 May. Music by Respiro. Youtube
Tuesday 26 June. Music by Lamori Vostri. Youtube
Tuesday 31 July. Music by Gatos Do Mar. Youtube
Tuesday 28 August. Suonno d’ajere. Youtube

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Francis Bacon Transformations – Exhibition

Francis Bacon Transformations - Exhibition - Sorrento

(20 May to 21 Oct)

The Municipality of Sorrento and the Sorrento Foundation present the exhibition:
Francis Bacon. Transformations
(The Barry Joule Collection of Francis Bacon artworks from 7 Reece Mews, London, UK).

The works on display, donated by the artist to Barry Joule, a friend and associate of Francis Bacon, whom he defined as “not only a close friend, but also a teacher of art history and a wonderful teacher; an eclectic philosopher of life “, will consist of rectoverso drawings, a group of paintings from the Surrealist period (thirties) as well as several documents collected over time by the collector.

The collection of the works, donated by Bacon shortly before his last trip to Madrid, in 2004 was partly donated to the Tate Gallery in London, for which some of the works will be in the catalog, and to the Picasso museum in Paris as well as the National Gallery in Ottawa, Canada, a native of Joule.

May 20 to October 21

Monday to Friday
10 am – 1 pm and 4 pm – 8 pm
Saturday and Sunday
10 am – 1 pm and 4 pm to 9 pm

Full ticket € 10.00 – reduced € 7.00 (under 16 – over 65 and groups)

Full details and booking information can be found on the official website

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Canta Napoli Sorrento

Canta Napoli in Sorrento

(Until 31 Oct)

Opera, Pulcinella e Neapolitan Songs
The fusion of Neapolitan tradition and the great Italian Opera takes place in the heart of Sorrento, in the splendid Villa Fiorentino, a neoclassical pearl that stands out in the main street.

Soprano and Tenor will perform the masterpieces that have made Italy famous all over the world, in this unique occasion accompanied by an hilarious living Pulcinella that moves on the notes of tradition: mandolin, violin, cello and piano!

In this unique concert, in the elegant frame of the Neoclassical Villa, artists of unquestioned quality will leave you breathless. Pulcinella will accompany you to discover the most famous Opera arias from La Traviata, Rigoletto and Tosca, and the Neapolitan tradition, with the beautiful O Solo Mio, Funiculì Funiculà and Torna a Surriento.

This unforgettable concert will leave a wonderful memory of your journey to Sorrento!

Every Tuesday and Saturday evening at 9 pm until 31 October

Tickets cost 35.00 euros for front seats and 25.00 for back seats.

Full details and booking information can be found on the official website

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Relais Correale

Relais Correale in Sorrento

If your ideal holiday in Sorrento would be a traditional farmhouse with all the modern amenities, surrounded by orange and lemon groves and within walking distance to the sea and the historical centre, then read on…

The Relais Correale offers such a location just ten minutes walk from Sorrento’s main square. Recently renovated it stands in a private park of 8000 sq meters with olive, orange and lemon groves and vegetable gardens to supply fresh produce for guests.

Breakfast at Relais Correale Sorrento

Every morning at breakfast you will find the fresh pressed citrus oranges, orange marmalade and lemons, plum cakes, muffins and cakes made on site. Eat under the shade of the lemon trees or in your room. Evening dinner is available on request and menus offer local dishes with fresh garden produce.

Each room has its own distinctive style with carefully selected and customised furnishings. Junior suites have an independent entrance and a private patio area. You can view all the rooms on their website.

Relais Correale Junior Suites

The Relais Correale has a special arrangement with the Marameo Beach Resort which is a pleasant twenty minute walk through the old town and its entrance is opposite the public lift. For stays of seven nights there is free entry on two days for two people and a complimentary dinner.

Marameo Beach Sorrento

Breakfast at Jannuzzi’s

Pallazzo Jannuzzi kitchen

No matter how many times I stay at the Jannuzzi the breakfasts are always pleasing to the eye as well as the palate. It’s not just the variety and freshness of locally produced food but the ever changing ‘themes’. This is a family run business serving a range of traditional Sorrentine family breakfast dishes.

The choice can be influenced by seasonal produce and events, or a special occasion such as a guest’s birthday or anniversary. Authentic ‘home cooked’ dishes are presented together with the typical breakfast buffet selection to offer guests an opportunity to experience the flavours of local produce.

Fruits and other seasonal produce are always available including cherries, grapes, lemons, apples, pears, apricots, peaches, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, figs, chestnuts and more. Home cooked bread, cakes and pastries accompany the locally grown tomatoes and salads, fresh mozzarella, eggs and crispy bacon.

Add to this the creativity and humour of the cooks and you end up with The Jannuzzi Breakfast served every morning in the breakfast room or on the terrace.

If you have not managed to book a room you will be pleased to know it’s possible to book just the breakfast, subject to availability. Enjoy!

For more information about the Palazzo Jannuzzi click here.

hostess

Procida from Sorrento

The island of Procida, NaplesView from a panoramic terrace

We asked one of our members, Paul Barber, to write an account of his journey to Procida. It is one of the Flegrean Islands off the coast of Naples created by the eruption of four volcanoes, now dormant and submerged. It is a location for films and an annual film festival.

Procida – Mr Ripley and The Postman
Procida is the smallest and least touristy of the three volcanic islands in the Bay of Naples. Mercifully (for some) off the mass-tourist radar, Procida is like a Portofino prototype and is refreshingly honest and real. Procida is loved by Italians, who flock there in August but is less visited than its tourist-hotspot neighbours Capri and Ischia. Procida is very heavily populated, with 10,000 residents squeezed into less than two square miles and has an authentic lived-in feel. The island doesn’t have many particular sights of interest so travellers should visit to experience the island’s picturesque, slightly shabby charm, beautiful scenery and wonderful seafood.

Procida’s charm has led to it featuring in a number of films including the classic ‘Il Postino’ and ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’. Procida has frequent ferry services from Naples, Pozzuoli and Ischia and is ideal to visit on a day-trip. My ferry left Naples at 9.25am, arriving on Procida an hour later, with my chosen return ferry departing at 4pm, arriving in Naples at 5pm. That allowed me to be back in Sorrento for my evening meal.

Visitors disembarking from ferries arrive at the Porto. A road runs along the harbour-side passing the island’s principal church ‘Santa Maria della Pieta’. On the landward side of the street are shops, restaurants and bars, with the rest of the town built on the slopes behind. From the church a picturesque narrow lane climbs upwards to a junction where you turn left to the Terra Murata (“walled land”). Here is the highest and most defensive crag on the island; the site of the oldest settlement, a fortress, a monastery and – until recently – a prison. Ascending through two stone gateways you reach the Terra Murata. There are superb views from the road leading up to the walls, and from a panoramic terrace (belvedere) looking towards the Bay of Naples. Here you also clearly see the now defunct prison, falling into disrepair.

ProcidaPorto and Marina Corricella

Walking back down to the junction there is a flight of steps on the left which leads down to the very beautiful Marina Corricella. This is a thin sliver of waterfront backed by a “cliff” of colourful fishermen’s houses. There are several bars and restaurants in Corricella, with tables attractively scattered along the waterfront, interspersed with painted fishing boats and nets. This is a wonderful spot to have a lazy lunch of seafood with the water lapping nearby, and is where much of ‘Il Postino’ was filmed. It is a bit of a walk from the Porto and you have to climb up the steps to leave the settlement, but it is well worth the effort.

Lunch in ProcidaProcida lunch

This short visit filled my time on the island and I saw most of the island’s places of interest. It is a vibrant, interesting place, and for the intrepid traveller who wants to see this authentic no-frills gem of an island well-worth the effort to visit.

I found the ferry journey to Procida very good, even though I took the slow ferry rather than the jetfoil. There are plenty of sailings daily from both Naples and Pozzuoli (worth knowing that, because the ferry journey from Pozzuoli to Procida is very short indeed!). Visiting Procida requires people with a reasonable level of fitness, because it is hilly, and to get from the ferry landing to any of the sights can be quite tiring.

Paul Barber. June 2017

Editor’s notes
After the glitz and glamour of Capri and the spas and gardens of Ischia, Procida offers visitors a unique charm and relaxed environment just a ferry ride from the tourist hot spots. There are ferries from Naples, Pozzuoli and Ischia (for island hoppers) or you can book a boat tour from Sorrento with visits to Ischia and Procida. View itinerary

You can find more information about Procida on these websites:
Wikipedia
Procida Film Festival

The copy and photographs of this page are subject to copyright.

Procida and Ischia Boat Tours

Wine tours from Sorrento

Sorrento wine tours and tasting

Sorrento is the ideal location from which to visit seemingly unlimited cultural sites, magnificent coastlines and islands. It is also well placed to sample the many wines of the region, from world famous names to smaller local vineyards with outstanding views to complement the flavours. Wine connoisseurs and holiday visitors alike can be sure of a rewarding experience for all the senses

Friends of Sorrento offers wine tours to suit everyone and details are provided after this introduction to the wine region of Campania by Master of Wine, Richard Ballantyne.

Campania is a fascinating region for wine lovers. This region is home to the greatest known wine of Roman times, Falernum, which was prized for its strength and longevity and was noted by Pliny The Elder in his works entitled Natural History.

The vineyards of the region are influenced by three main geographical features; the warm Mediterranean, which is never that far away from any of the vineyards, the Southern span of the Apennine Mountains, and thirdly, Volcanoes: the most famous of which is Mount Vesuvius, from where the petrified volcanic ash can be found in many of the soils and rocks of the vineyards.

Despite being quite far south on the Italian peninsula, the region tends to be more famous for its whites than its reds, particularly those from the local varieties such as Falanghina, Fiano and Greco. The best Falanghinas are to be found in the region of Sannio, close to the town of Benevento which is located in the southern spur of the aforementioned Apennines. This region is named after the Samnites: a band of tribes who were the enemies of Rome and bravely defeated the Republic in 321BC. In the case of Fiano, the best examples of those are to be found in the region of Avellino where is takes on a rich character full of aromatics. Greco, for me is the least interesting of the three varieties, but it is also the most aromatic. Flamboyant and incredible perfumed for its green and yellow fruit notes but also strongly floral.

The reds of Campania, also are very good, and some would say some of the best from Southern Italy. The best of the red wine varieties is Aglianico which reaches its peak with the wines of Taurasi, with unquestionably the best and most famous producer here is Mastroberardino whose wines can be aged for decades. Other interesting reds can be made from the Piedirosso variety which is one of the components of Lacryma Christi, grown within close proximity to Mount Vesuvius.

There is much to explore in this fascinating regione, its wines are very highly regarded and still very much undiscovered.

Additional notes:

Terradora – Famed for their Taurasi but make other wines too.

La Guardiense – A co-op located near Benevento offering some of the best value wines in Southern Italy

Galardi and Montevetrano – Very top end making collectors’ wines. Very highly regarded by the American press.

Feudo di San Gregorio – Producer of richly fruited, modern-style wines.”

Richard Ballantyne Master of Wine

Richard Ballantyne’s wine store, Noble Grape, is based in Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, and includes a fine selection of Italian wines available online


Wine tours from Sorrento

DOC and DOCG Wines of Campania

The letters DOC or DOCG on an Italian wine label mean Denominazione di Origine Controllata, and Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, the latter superior to the first. They refer to government guarantees of the wines’ origins. There are currently 4 DOCG and 15 DOC wine producing areas in Campania:

DOCG
Aglianico del Taburno, Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, Taurasi

DOC
Aversa, Campi Flegrei, Capri, Casavecchia di Pontelatone, Castel San Lorenzo, Cilento, Costa d’Amalfi, Falanghina del Sannio, Falerno del Massico, Galluccio, Irpinia, Ischia, Penisola Sorrentina, Sannio, Vesuvio.

Their location can be viewed on the Federdoc’s website

Sorrentino VinoSorrentino Vino

Tours and Tastings

Friends of Sorrento can arrange customised tours and tastings for wine aficionados to some of the major producers mentioned above. We also cater for visitors looking for a blend of site seeing and a taste of local wine not too far from Sorrento.

We provide a day tour of Pompeii with tasting of wines from the slopes of Vesuvius or a day tour of the Amalfi coast with a visit to a local vineyard for tastings and lunch. A perfect blend of culture, beauty and flavours of the region.

Pompeii and Wine Tasting Tour
A select tour in a luxury minibus to Pompeii followed by a visit to a vineyard on the slopes of Vesuvius to sample wine and food produced locally.
View itinerary

Amalfi coast tour and Wine Tasting Tour
A private tour of the Amalfi coast and a vineyard with vine terraces perched on the cliffs, followed by lunch and wine tasting in a stunning location.
Tour available on request.View details

Sorrento and Wine Tours

Sorrento + Wine

Sorrento + Wine

A tailor-made escorted 8 day Wine themed holiday offers a balanced itinerary of tours, activities and relaxation.


Nightclubs in Sorrento and Amalfi

What to do on the Amalfi Coast when the sun goes down?

For live music and the perfect G&T, local wine with a majestic view or hitting the dancefloor Italian-style: read up on our favourite nightlife spots along the peninsula.

Sorrento

The Filou Club is set between the ancient walls of Sorrento on Via Santa Maria della Pietà, near Piazza Tasso. The Filou is renowned for its live music, with a busy line-up of singers, pianists and DJs.

The Filou Club Sorrento

Take a seat and make your way through their comprehensive cocktail menu: start with a Contemporary Classic (Bellini, Mai Tai, Moscow Mule), move on to the Fashionables (Frozen Daiquiri, Caipirinha, Zombie) and finish up with an Unforgettable (Gin Fizz, Sidecar, Old Fashioned).

Open daily from 10pm, closed Wednesdays. Website


For the real Italian nightclub experience, check out The Fauno Notte Club on Piazza Tasso. Attracting mainly twentysomethings, the Fauno sports a lively bar with DJs spinning the latest chart remixes, house and techno.

The Fauno Club Sorrento

Their calendar is sprinkled with theme nights where the crowd throws shapes in fluorescent paint and glow-in-the-dark accessories.

Open most nights, 11pm – 3am. Facebook


Positano

Music on the Rocks in Positano

Music On The Rocks, opened in 1972. Carved out of the bare rock and directly accessible from the Spiaggia Grande, this one-of-a-kind club has lured famous visitors ashore including Justin Timberlake, Mariah Carey, Denzel Washington and Lenny Kravitz.

Website.
For events listings facebook
.


Praiano

In 1962, prima ballerina Margot Fonteyn asked nightclub owner Luca Milano to throw her a party in his brand new venue. And so the Africana Famous Club was christened.

This utterly unique social spot—which hosts everything from burlesque shows to sit-down dinners to live DJ sets—looks like a set built for Pirates of the Caribbean.

Africana Famous Club Amalfi Coast

The Africana operates a shuttle boat to and from Positano, Amalfi or Maiori, which will take you right up to the lagoon-like entrance.
Lounge and America Bar open daily from 8pm.

Check website for special event times.


Capri

We’ll be taking a separate look at the top clubs including Number Two, Qube Cafe, Vv Club and Taverna Anema e Core. With nightlife taking place after the last ferry, you need to be staying on the island or hire a water taxi.


Other venues

Jazz at Excelsior Vittoria in Sorrento

Many hotels and other venues offer classical and jazz concerts in beautiful settings throughout the year. Keep track of these on our events page.

Leonardo Da Vinci in Sorrento

Leonardo Da Vinci in Sorrento

(5 Mar to 15 Nov)

A wonderful opportunity to view and touch replicas of machines invented by Leornardo Da Vinci. Theses include several fully functional machines such as the predecessor of the parachute, a bicycle, a hydraulic saw and many other inventions.

Reproductions of Leonardo’s masterpieces and codes are also on show together with multimedia videos and film footage about his life. All this in the evocative setting of the Convent of San Francesco in the heart of Sorrento.

From 5 March to 15 November

Tickets cost 8.00 euros for adults and 6.00 for children aged 4 to 15 years, senior citizens over 65 years, school children and for groups of at least 20 people.

Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition in Sorrento

Full details and booking information can be found on the official website

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Sorrento craft beers

Sorrento craft beers

With mystical names like Syrentum, Minerva and Parthenope it is hardly surprising that lovers of craft beer will not be satisfied until their taste buds have been seduced.

Two men, Giuseppe Schisano and Francesco Galano, each with a passion for brewing beer established the Sorrento Brewery in 2009 on the Sorrento peninsula.

sorrento-beer-passion

Their first two labels were, the Syrentum, a light craft beer with lemon peel of Sorrento PGI, and the Minerva with orange peel. Blending production processes with the gastronomic traditions of the region together with a beautiful location, the Sorrento Brewery offers visitors a unique experience.

Yes, you can visit for tastings and its location is a perfect destination for those wishing to explore this beautiful area or combine with a visit to Massa Lubrense and Marina del Cantone. You can arrange a visit yourself or Friends of Sorrento can include a visit with a tour of the Peninsula.

Birrificio Sorrento Gift Boxes

After your visit why not take a gift box back to your balcony to savour the delicate flavours at sunset and listen carefully for those mystical sirens. Just remember to tie yourself to the balcony.

For more information about Birrificio Sorrento, visit their Website

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Sorrento Magazine

Sorrento Magazine

The Sorrento Magazine is an excellent source for information about Sorrento’s history, culture, art, traditions, cuisine and much more. We highly recommend this publication because of the excellent articles, in English and Italian, supported by beautiful photography and images.

Links to the online 2016 and 2017 editions are provided below and as soon as 2018 is available we will feature it here. Hopefully you will find a copy in your hotel room or the reception area,

Sorrento Magazine 2016
Sorrento Magazine 2016
Sorrento Magazine 2017
Sorrento Magazine 2017
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Catch of the day in Sorrento

Tuna fish in Sorrento

Looking through our photo archives we came across this ‘catch of the day’ taken 10 years ago in Marina Grande, Sorrento’s fishing harbour. The fishing boat ‘S.Maria Carmela Madre’ had just come in and local restaurateurs were gathering to buy their supplies. As the Tuna was hoisted up we managed to catch the catch.

Although this is not a regular event it demonstrates the diversity of activities taking place in Sorrento that helps make a visit even more interesting.

fishing boat in Sorrento

The Marina Grande is a pleasant walk down from the main square and offers a range of fish restaurants along the water’s edge. In the evening the restaurants are full and the harbour lights provide a beautiful backdrop for a very pleasant experience.

Marina Grande in Sorrento

If you want to try and catch one yourself there are fishing tours available.

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Classic cars in Sorrento

Classic cars in Sorrento

Just like a scene from a movie these classic cars seem perfectly at home parked on Sorrento’s main street, Corso Italia. We were out for a stroll in June 2016 and came across a line of classic cars parked as if the owners were shopping or in a restaurant. These are just a few we were able to capture.

Classic cars in Sorrento

We will be checking to see if this is a regular event for local classic car enthusiasts and will keep you posted. There is also a tour of the Sorrento Peninsular in the first week of November 2018 by the Classic Car Club of Naples with visits to Sorrento, Capri, Amalfi and Minori.

Classic cars in Sorrento

There were cars that were very grand and others compact but cool, perfect for that drive along the Amalfi coast road.

Even the police motorcyclists uniforms were classic. Bella Figura on duty and off duty.

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Villa Capo Santa Fortunata

Villa Capo Santa Fortunata

In June 2014 I was invited to see the Villa of Capo Santa Fortunata, which was in the process of being restored to its former elegance. Set on the coast between Sorrento and Massa Lubrense, it was once home to the Duchesses of Serracapriola, and welcomed illustrious guests such as Princess Anne of Orléans and the Russian writer Maxim Gorky.

On a sunny Friday afternoon in June 2015, I returned with my wife for a welcome weekend break. Now fully renovated, the villa offers a haven for those seeking a place of tranquillity, or a unique spot for relaxation or celebration with friends and family. Continue reading Villa Capo Santa Fortunata