Guest Blog
In DestinationsEurope on 11/01/18
Sorrento boardwalk with a wall featuring statue busts, overlooking a beautiful blue sea on one side and lush green trees on the other side, A ribbon of cloud hugs the coastline but mostly the sky is clear blue

Sorrento, Italy

For those of you who are unaware, there is a clifftop retreat on the southwest coast of Italy, deep in the heart of the Neapolitan Riviera.

A market stand of local Italian bottled produce. Limoncello, wine and olives, all displayed in beautiful hand painted bottles featuring fruit

Sorrento, famous for the production of limoncello, has postcard imagery and gentle Italian culture in abundance. It is a compact seaside town oozing architectural and historical elegance. It is a place where the locals love the tourists but appreciate the attempts to gabble in broken and out of date Italian. In fact they seem to be impressed by it.

It is the home of Torquato Tasso, which the main square is named after. He was born in 1544 and was known to have penned ‘Jerusalem Liberated.’ Piazza Tasso is a perfect base to explore the surrounding area and experience the many delights of Sorrento itself or it can simply be one stop on a tour of the Amalfi coast. From here you can easily roam to Capri, Amalfi, Positano, Pompeii, Herculaneum, Vesuvius, Naples etc. The possibilities really are endless.

View of Sorrento marina with sail and motor boats parked up, rugged coastline in the distance and old Italian villas in the foreground

The sun drenched ruins span centuries and you can gaze upon them strolling along the many winding roads lined with citrus trees. These citrus trees are the source of limoncello. The creation of this famous drink is a meticulous process that started just over a hundred years ago and continues today in the heart of Tasso. This after dinner drink is a good palate cleanser and aids digestion. There’s also the soothingly sharp taste.

It is obvious why this popular destination is never short of international visitors, some who are just passing through and others who never leave.

Sorrento Square. A crossroads bordered with beautiful Italian villas, restaurants and trees, with pedestrians bustling around

It’s not as expensive as I was told. At dinner there are many courses to choose from aperitivo, antipasto, primo, secondo, contorno, insalata and dolce. As tempting as it is to have them all it really is just a guideline much like the UK and you can have a similar set up to dinner for 20 ish euros.

A victim of heatwave Lucifer, in August 2017, Sorrento was experiencing temperatures on average of 34 degrees centigrade – but felt like 41 degrees. This is slightly above average for this time of year.


Marina Grande

A fishing village just underneath the square is accessible via lift or a lot of stairs! It’s worth a stroll through regardless, and comes alive at night, lighting up the coastline.

Mount Vesuvius, red brown soil against blue skies

Mount Vesuvius

At the time of visiting there had been an incident involving teenagers accidentally starting a fire at the bottom of the volcano. Unfortunately the only way to the top was by taxi or private minibus. We were lucky to have this arranged by Thomson but it was fairly costly. There was considerable damage to the bottom of the landscape which was sad, but given its impending eruption more dangerous I guess.

On the way up, roller-coaster roads showed off patchwork quilts of shrubbery and rock and stunning views for miles. It’s hard work walking to the top with no shade and gravel getting into your shoes and mouth. It’s completely worth it to see this deadly but beautiful beast though. A beast that lays dormant for almost a century before springing to life and devouring all in its path.

The ruins of Pompei. the remains of stone walls and floors, with mountains and blue skies in the background


Famous for being wiped out in 70AD, it was covered in volcanic ash by Vesuvius.

There is something hauntingly mesmerising about Pompeii.  Considering its age there is still an incredible amount of the city left for tourists to gaze upon today. It is worth standing in a queue in a ridiculous heat for an hour just to gain entrance. Despite the large amount of visitors you can still hear the deafening silence of a lost race. A race that knew their fate and could do nothing to stop it.

The site is divided into eight areas and the map you’re given at the gate helpfully lists the highlights for when you’re feeling really overwhelmed like I was.

A view of Positano from up high. White houses on hillsides, some in the shade, some in the sun. Overlooking the sea dotted with boats

There is only one restaurant currently (the other one is being renovated for the foreseeable future) and inside much chaos ensues. It’s actually very reminiscent of a theme park cafeteria only hotter and you don’t understand the language.


Many films have been shot here, most notably ‘A Good Woman’ and ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ and more recently the Galaxy advert starring the Audrey Hepburn lookalike. It really looks like an airbrushed masterpiece neatly tucked away between layers of house and rock which only ancient stairs divide.

A week wasn’t enough for me and I imagine for some a lifetime isn’t. I could only sip from the delicious cocktail Sorrento serves up.

Sarah Harlow, book club manager, scriptwriter, guest blogger

Guest bio

Sarah is a writer from Maidenhead who dabbles in production admin and film related silliness. She has a degree in Creative Writing and Film Studies and has experimented with scripts, poetry and several other formats including blogging strangely enough.

Sarah works at a film school as a Curriculum Coordinator. The job and people provide a constant source of inspiration.

In April 2016, Sarah founded Royal Borough Writers based in Windsor and Maidenhead – fortnightly creative and support sessions for local writers. This is where I met Sarah, who has been an invaluable source of inspiration and support for this travel blog!
Give her some chocolate and a film with a lovely blend of fantasy and horror and she’s happy!

Getting there and around

Naples is the nearest airport and is approximately 31 miles (50 km) away. It takes around an hour and a half by private transfer, rental car or taxi through several long tunnels. Taxis are really expensive there so best avoided. You can also take the train to Sorrento. The service runs between 6.00am and 10.00pm.

Train – Circumvesuviana– Sorrento is the last stop and it’s roughly 5 euros for a return ticket to anywhere on the line. There’s the Campania express which costs 15 euros which is apparently more modern and fitted with air conditioning. I found the regular train just fine in the high temperature. It’s just older than our underground and feels it.

Bus – they run similar times to the trains

Boat – the most expensive method of transport by far but probably the most authentic experience. This is the only way to visit the island of Capri and a variety of options are available for exploring the rest of the Amalfi coast including Amalfi itself and Positano. Be prepared to queue to buy tickets though.


Villagio Verde (Green Village), where I stayed for a week, is fairly basic, tucked away but still only a sensible ten minute walk from Piazza Tasso. It has lots of character and is surrounded by citrus trees. Several times whilst swimming in the garden pool I was joined by a just ripened lemon or a grapefruit. The staff are very welcoming, and well versed in keeping their guests happy. The rooms could do with a little updating and upgrading but still very pleasant overall.

Other options – my advice is stay somewhere in Piazza Tasso or Marina Grande.


Recommendations include:

Foreigner’s Club

Good quality, decently priced food with an amazing view of Naples Bay and Mount Vesuvius. Also the resident singer is highly entertaining. I would suggest a later lunch as it can get very busy at any other time.

Ristorante O’Parracchiano 

Huge multi-storey garden restaurant founded in 1868. The service is impeccable and there is no special occasion they won’t overindulge. Nothing is too much trouble. The original cannelloni recipe was born here and it is absolutely delicious!


With more flavours than you could have time to try, this is gelato like no other and not to be missed.