Category Archives: Sorrento News

Pozzuoli – Its rise and fall

We asked one of our members, Paul Barber, to write an account of his visit to Sofia Loren’s home town, Pozzuoli. Other attractions include the Flavian Amphitheater, which is the third largest Roman amphitheater in Italy, and a Piazza that rises and falls with the volcanic activity.

Pozzuoli is very well-known with Italians and is a very important place for its ancient sights and because of the nearby Solfatara volcano, which is very active. Once the traveller arrives in Pozzuoli, they can visit the ‘Flavian Amphitheatre’, go down to the waterfront for lunch and return up the hill out of town to the Solfatara volcano.

View from VesuviusView over Naples towards Pozzuoli from Vesuvius

When visiting Mount Vesuvius our guide told us about the volcano monitoring station situated there and explained that it is linked to another at Solfatara, where ground movement is constantly monitored in case of eruption of the super-volcano there. Pozzuoli is situated in the middle of the Phlegrean Fields of small volcanos and is subject to a phenomena known as Bradyism, in which the whole town slowly rises, sinks and rises again caused by the underlying volcanic activity. The town has risen more than 11 feet in the past 30 years!

Pozzuoli AmphitheatreAmphitheatre above and below

The ‘Flavian Amphitheatre’ is very interesting; built between AD 69-79, the third largest amphitheatre in Italy (with a seating capacity of 20,000 people), it was the site of the martyrdom of Naples’ beloved San Gennaro – who’s remains are to be found in the Duomo of Naples. The exterior of the building is crumbling a bit, but unlike Rome’s Colosseum, the flooring of the Flavian Amphitheatre survives intact. Visitors can wander through the tunnels and chambers beneath, where gladiators and wild beasts once awaited their fate.

Moving down towards the waterfront, in a palm-shaded, sunken park at the centre of town lies the romantically half-flooded ‘Temple of Serapide’. This was once the marketplace of the Roman city and is marked by three standing columns and a ring of column stubs surrounding a raised circular dais. The site is not open to the public, but can be seen clearly from the surrounding fence.

PozzuoliTemple of Serapide with restaurants in the background

Next to the ‘Temple of Serapide’ is the ‘Trattoria il Tempio’, where the umbrella shaded tables are set on cobblestones directly overlooking the ancient site. Pozzuoli’s seafood was a wonderful experience and this restaurant serves an excellent array of dishes.

A 20-minute walk above Pozzuoli is the elliptical caldera of the ‘Solfatara Volcano’. Although it hasn’t actually erupted since AD 1198, the parched, alien landscape of bubbling mud pits and fumaroles furiously venting sulphurous steam remind intrepid visitors that molten lava still runs just under the ground surface here. Monitoring of ground movement and sampling of gases keep an eye on what’s going on under the surface, together with monitoring on Vesuvius scientists keep an eye out for any sign of increased volcanic activity. This has been a visitor attraction since early Roman times and in its modern incarnation as a tourism site has been going strong since 1900. Guided tours are available to take visitors round the site, which is well worth a visit for those who want to see volcanic activity close-to.

SolfataraSolfatara fumarole

Other interesting sites nearby that could be visited on a guided tour include the ‘Cave of the Cumean Sybil’ and ‘Lago di Averno’ (the gateway to the underworld where Aeneas descended to confront Hades) and trip on a glass-bottomed boat to see the old part of Baia town several metres below sea level (Baia’s underwater archeological park).

Paul Barber. June 2017

Editor’s notes
Pozzuoli is still relatively quiet in comparison to the region’s other attractions and offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore Roman ruins, above and below water, and a volcanic landscape, once thought of as the ‘gateway to hell’. Located 20 km west of Naples it takes around 40 minutes by road and 90 minutes by train. Visitor access to these sites and the transport infrastructure continue to be improved and private small group tours are currently available with Friends of Sorrento.

You can find more information about Pozzuoli’s attractions on these websites:
Wikipedia
Vulcano Solfatara
Pozzuoli’s official website

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


Sorrento Holiday Offers

Excelsior Revisited

We first visited Sorrento in 2000 and stayed at the Excelsior Vittoria on several occasions, but it has been 6 years since our last visit. 10 years ago we also wrote a series of articles on a number of luxury hotels, including the Excelsior, and a 10th anniversary therefore seemed an appropriate reason to visit again and update the original feature. So we have booked a few nights during July when we will be visiting friends and business partners.

Here’s our update

First Immpessions

‘A Modern Classic’ was one of a series of articles written by Richard Edwards in 2008/9 under the heading First Impressions. They take a personal look at landmark hotels on the Amalfi Coast and the original articles can be viewed below.
Remember internet technology was still developing 10 yrs ago

Marameo beach resort

Marameo beach Sorrento

Sun glasses, swimming costume, lotion and some Euros are all you need for a day’s relaxation down where the Bay of Naples caresses Sorrento.

Marameo beach, restaurant and lounge bar provides a very comfortable and convenient location for those who enjoy the sounds and breeze from the sea. Visitors can take the public lift from the Villa Communale, located in the heart of Sorrento, down to the sea shore. A few steps along brings you to Marameo’s entrance, where fresh towels and smart changing rooms await.

It has all the facilities you require for topping up your tan and swimming. Order snacks and cocktails from your lounger or choose a fresh seafood dish at a table in the restaurant area.

Sorrento coast

Every sun lounger offers a choice of wonderful scenes. Grand majestic hotels perched on the cliffs above share the same view of the coastline stretching from Sorrento, Sant’Agnello, Meta di Sorrento and beyond. In the opposite direction Capri hides teasingly behind the heading of the peninsula.

Across the bay Vesuvius dominates the skyline with Naples cautiously creeping up its slopes. Time perhaps to plan a visit to the volcano’s crater or Pompeii, Herculaneum and even Naples itself, maybe tomorrow?

Marameo beach and restaurant

Marameo has a pleasant, stylish atmosphere during the day. Transforming at sunset into an intimate setting for a candlelit dinner. We recommend visitors take the lift, or walk down, to the port and view the location and its facilities. Members are eligible for a special rate.

Marameo Restaurant Sorrento

Marameo Beach and Restaurant
Spiaggia San Francesco, Sorrento
www.marameobeach.com


Shopping on Sorrento’s Corso Italia

fashion-shops-in Sorrento

Corso Italia is Sorrento’s ‘High Street’ and most of the shops can be found along a 1km stretch from the station down to Via Capo. Add to these the shops huddled together in the lanes of the historical centre and all visitors should be satisfied. From the fun souvenir hunter to devotees of style and fashion.

Most shops are open from 9.30 am to 1 pm and 4 pm to 10 pm so there’s no need to rush. If you would like a flavour of what to expect then come with us for some window shopping.

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

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.

Check their website for events listings.


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.

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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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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