Hiking the hills of the Amalfi Coast
Some of my most memorable vacation moments were hiking the hills of the Amalfi Coast.
By all means, take the bus from Capri up to Anacapri - a fantastic experience - but take the less travelled back country path/steps back down through lemon groves. Pick up the "Fenician Staircase" in Anacapri at the end of Via San Michele after passing Villa San Michele and follow it all the way back down to the Marina Grande. These steps were built by the Greeks in the 8th century B.C. - it was the only acces to the sea or the village of Anacapri until 1877 when the current road was built.
Another great hike was from Ravello back down to Amalfi. Again, take the bus up but follow the paths through the hills and enjoy the sumptuous views and local gardens on the way down. There are a couple of tourist offices in Ravello that provide (free) maps of the area and there are numerous trails down, depending on how much time you have. Highly recommendeded.
This photo was taken of a local man harvesting lemons - the lemons were as big as grapefruits and their scent wafted by me as he passed.
Loved This Place
Spent seven nights in Sorrento and ate here five times. Both food and service were great. We ordered the "tourist menu" the first time and it was very good. After that we ordered off the menu and split things so we could try as many things as possible. Everything we tried was excellent. Everything we tried was so good that it's impossible to pick a favorite......although one time on the mixed vegetable plate were peas that were mushy....but then I'm not a big fan of peas.
Activity: The Beach and Relaxing
There's not really a must-"see" activity in Sorrento, as far as I know, except enjoying the ocean scenery and the beach. And this is the place to sunbathe if you are into that. This is the place to relax after your tiring trip and lots of walking in Rome or Florence.
Lemons for Lemon Cello
Sorrento is a large producer of lemons and they grow really large ones as seen in the photo. Big lemons to make "Lemon Cello" (limoncello) the popular drink in Sorrento.
I went on line to get a receipt for Limoncello and this is the response:
I am an American living in Gaeta, Italy (about 3 hours north of the Amalfi coast region), there are TONS of "limoncello" brands and recipes around (that's what the Italians call this liquor -- I assume this is what you're talking about). They're all pretty terrific (some varieties even come in a cream form), and many people over here make their own, as lemon trees abound. I don't know where you can buy this in the states, but you may want to try this -- a friend of mine has an Italian chef for a neighbor, and this is his recipe -- it's terrific (sorry -- the measurements are metric)!*
Prep. time: 3 days
Servings: 2-1/2 liters
8 lemons (the chef says he actually prefers greener lemons)
1 liter of grain alcohol
800 grams of sugar
1-1/2 liters water
1. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the zest from the lemons (the yellow/green outer layer of the lemon only -- none of the white pith underneath).
2. Place the lemon zest (peels) in the alcohol. Seal and let sit for 3 days at room temp.
3. After 3 days, strain zest from the alcohol and discard zest. Reserve alcohol.
4. In a large pot, put water and sugar on med-low heat (do not boil) until sugar dissolves. Add lemon-flavored alcohol. Stir.
5. Remove from heat, let cool, place in bottles.
FOR BEST RESULTS, KEEP LIMONCELLO IN THE FREEZER (IT WON'T SOLIDIFY). IT'S
TRADITIONALLY SERVE IN CHILLED SMALL GLASSES.
When life gives you lemons...
"You had better like lemons"
The writers of management platitudes say that when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. In Sorrento, they appear to have taken this advice to heart in a big way. There are a lot of lemons in Sorrento. The town is surrounded by lemon groves, their trees carefully protected with netting against giant hailstones. But they don’t only make lemonade. They make all sorts of lemon-flavoured products: limoncello, a liqueur which can be described as a cross between lemsip and painstripper; lemon ice-cream; lemon sorbet; lemon granita; lemon sweets; lemon biscuits; lemon chocolate; lemon sauce; lemon risotto; lemon profiteroles. You name it, they do a lemon version of it. If the edible versions were not enough, they also do lemon soap and numerous items of tourist souvenirs of varying degrees of merit featuring lemons, ranging from ceramics and table linen to fridge magnets. It would be quite easy, if pointless, to have an entirely lemon-flavoured meal, served on tableware decorated with lemons.
"What to see"
Sorrento is a good base to explore the coastline, taking the famous Amalfi drive or a boat trip to the islands of Capri and Ischia from the harbour at Marina Grande.
The archaeological sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum are easily accessible by the 'Circumvesuviana' trains from Sorrento station. For something slightly different, the 'Sorrento Express' uses a restored 1942 train, with welcome cooling drinks and cakes served between the visits.
The Circumvesuviana line can also be used for a visit to Naples, which should not be missed.
"Lots of pottering"
Sorrento is a great place to potter around the shops.