Staying in Sorrento while exploring Naples, Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast

Made it to Sorrento. I got good advice telling me that I would like Sorrento…and so far, I really do. I took the high speed train from Milan to Naples where I changed to the commuter train called the Circumvesuviana. I’m a proponent of public transportation, even though it took an hour with 30 stops along the way to get from Naples to Sorrento on an old non-air conditioned train. I was in no rush so I actually found the train ride rather entertaining with the mix of people who got on and off the train during all those stops.

After a much needed dinner in Sorrento of grilled fish and a salad, I took a brief evening walk in lively Sorrento.

Tomorrow, I take a day tour to the Amalfi Coast visiting the villages of Positano, Amalfi and Ravello.

The Piazza Tasso is the central place and square in Sorrento, Italy. The square is named after the poet Torquato Tasso. May 19, 2017

The Piazza Tasso is the central place and square in Sorrento, Italy. The square is named after the poet Torquato Tasso. May 19, 2017

The Piazza Tasso is the central place and square in Sorrento, Italy. The square is named after the poet Torquato Tasso. May 19, 2017

Glowing in the Piazza Tasso, Sorrento’s central place and square, is a statue of the poet Torquato Tasso, for whom the square is named after. May 19, 2017

The Via San Cesarco, a pedestrian friendly, shopping street off of the Piazza Tasso square in Sorrento, Italy. May 19, 2017

The Sedil Dominova, a 14th century loggia once the meeting place of the town’s nobles, is now the Sorrento Men’s Club, in the middle of the pedestrian shopping and restaurant area. May 19, 2017

More night views of Sorrento, Italy. The 15th century Sedile Dominova with its 7th century majolica cupola (to the left) on a corner of Via San Cesareo and the Sorrento Cathedral three story bell tower with a clock. May 19, 2017

The buss area by the Sedile Dominova loggia in Sorrento, Italy. May 19, 2017

And, the beverage of the hour? Lemoncello. Its advertised as providing digestive benefits after lunch or dinner but this tasty treat packs a punch. Its made from lemon rinds, alcohol, water and sugar which is produced in Sorrento. I enjoyed a bottle of it in Venice, but I HAD to buy a small bottle to taste the official Sorrento limoncello. May 19, 2017

A drive along the Amalfi Coast, overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, is a must. I took a day tour yesterday which included the Amalfi coastline drive to the villages of Positano, Amalfi and Ravello. Now that I’ve had the privilege of exploring the Cinque Terre, Lake Como and now the Amalfi Coast, there’s no question in my mind that the Amalfi Coast is it for me. Then the quaint Cinque Terre and a very distant third, even though it included the possible George Clooney villa, is Lake Como. Sorry, but I just wasn’t all that impressed with Lake Como. But the Amalfi Coast…that’s nothing but gorgeous.

I found that using my iPhone was the best way to capture the beautiful Amalfi Coast views from the bus ride even though there’s a reflection in the photos from the windows.

Today, I toured Pompeii and Herculaneum, two ancient cities destroyed during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, but I’m waiting until tomorrow to write my post because that’s when I’ll be going to Naples to visit the Archaeological Museum that houses the finds from these two cities.

In the meantime, enjoy the views of the Amalfi Coast because I surely did.

The views along the Amalfi Coast are amazing. I tried to capture the scenes with both my iPhone and my camera and as many pictures as I took, I would say that only a handful of them came out looking descent. May 20, 2017

The Almafi Coast in Italy. May 20, 2017

Me at this touristy shop-filled street in Positano, Italy, under a roof of greenery. May 20, 2017

This little lemon stand in Positano shows the size of the lemons, which are almost grapefruit-sized in Italy. May 20, 2017

The church of Santa Maria Assunta and 18th century bell tower in Positano, Italy. May 20, 2017

The beautiful white and gold interior of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Positano, Italy.The church was founded in the second half of the 10th century as a Benedictine Abbey dedicated to San Vito, who was the early patron saint of Positano. The Virgin Mary has been very closely connected to this church since the 12th century, when a Byzantine icon of the Virgin arrived and the Archbishop of Amalfi rededicated the church in her honor. May 20, 2017

A close-up of the Byzantine icon of the Virgin Mary at the altar of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Positano, Italy. May 20, 2017

This painting, in a right aisle from the altar and icon of the Virgin Mary, depicts the blessing of the icon to the Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Positano, Italy. May 20, 2017

There was a steady stream of red and white Alfa Romeo’s hitting the streets in Positano, Italy. May 20, 2017

Beautiful views of Positano, Italy. May 20, 2017

View of Positano, Italy. May 20, 2017

More stunning views of the Amalfi Coast in Italy. May 20, 2017

The town entrance of Amalfi on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. May 20, 2017

The Porta Della Marina, the town entrance and harbor gateway of Amalfi on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, bears a huge ceramic panel, created by Renato Rossi in the 1950s, commemorating the trade routes of the republic during the Middle Ages. May 20, 2017

The gorgeous Almafi Cathedral in Amalfi, Italy. The Arab-Norman cathedral, dedicated to the Apostle St. Andres, sits in the heart of Amalfi with its striped Byzantine facade. May 20, 2017

A close-up of the Apostles featured on the exterior roof of the Amalfi Cathedral in Amalfi, Italy. May 20, 2017

The sumptuous Baroque interior of the Amalfi Cathedral, in Amalfi, Italy. May 20, 2017

The crypt of the Amalfi Cathedral in Amalfi, Italy, is where the relics of the body of St. Andrew, the first disciple of Jesus, are kept. The Apostle, who brought the word of God to Greece and travelled as far as what is now Russia, was crucified in the Greek city of Petra’s. From there, his body was first taken to Istanbul…what was then Constantinople…and then during the Fourth Crusade, it was brought to Amalfi. May 20, 2017

The Pieta fresco in the chapel of the Amalfi Cathedral in Amalfi, Italy. May 20, 2017

The clouds were coming in at Amalfi, Italy, along the Amalfi Coast. May 20, 2017

The Conca dei Marini another beautiful sight along the heart of the Amalfi Coast in Italy. May 20, 2017

More of Conca dei Marini along the heart of the Amalfi Coast in Italy. May 20, 2017

An ancient gateway entrance to Ravello, Italy. May 20, 2017

Ravello, Italy, is a small town, where a wedding had taken place at the Ravello Cathedral and the main square was the outdoor reception area. May 20, 2017

Exquisite views from the upper garden of the 13th century Villa Rufolo in Ravello, Italy, May 20, 2017

Exquisite views from the upper garden of the 13th century Villa Rufolo in Ravello, Italy. May 20, 2017

Exquisite views from the upper garden of the 13th century Villa Rufolo in Ravello, Italy. May 20, 2017

The Villa Rufolo in Ravello, Italy. May 20, 2017

Me at the 13th-century, Moorish-style Villa Rufolo on Ravello, Italy, which offers far-reaching views from its terraced gardens. May 20, 2015

It was two ancient cities in one day and the archaeological museum housing its artifacts on another day. Those two ancient Roman cities were Pompeii and Herculaneum. Pompeii is the most famous of the two. It was buried in ash and pumice after Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. And, Herculaneum, located at the base of Mt. Vesuvius, was also hit at the same time as Pompeii. Both of these sites are UNESCO Heritage sites. As for the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, that behemoth museum, considered the most important archaeological museum in Italy, houses a number of artifacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum along with an extensive collection of Roman and Greek sculptures.

I was pretty anxious during my journey to Naples which included, of course, taking the lengthy Circumvesuviana…the local commuter train…to Naples. But, once I got to Naples, I arrogantly didn’t want to pay a cab driver to take me to the archeological museum, just 30 minutes and 1.5 miles away. Easy peasy. So I pulled out my iPhone GPS…and by the way, I use T-Mobile so I am not charged for roaming when I travel in Europe…and decided to walk. Wow was that an eye-opening experience.

Medieval roots with a modern grit sums up Naples for me. Its people live in the streets and there’s the dirt and grime to prove it. I’ve read where Naples is in your face and it is. It is slathered in your face with no filters. Not only are the sidewalks filled with people but the streets are filled with cars and motorbikes going in no logical order with only your body, making its way through the maze, to get them to pause or stop. After getting turned around, going down questionable streets and questioning my own sanity and the GPS, I did find my way to the museum and that’s where I found my solace. Three hours later, when I was done, I walked straight to the taxi stall across the street from the museum, paid the 10 euros, got to the train station and there waiting for me was my commuter train back to the peace and quiet of touristy Sorrento.

Me at Pompeii’s Teatro Grande, this horseshoe-shaped Roman theater preserved by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. Herculaneum was a wealthier town than Pompeii and its inhabitants were said to worship above all was Hercules, who was believed to be the founder of both the town and Mt. Vesuvius. May 21, 2017

The remains of buildings with plaster painting in the ancient Pompeii, Italy. May 21, 2017

The stone streets and the remains of ancient Pompeii, Italy, which was buried under 60 feet of ash from the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. May 21, 2017

The remains of the Basilica in the ruins of ancient Pompeii, Italy. The Basilica dates back to 130-120 BC. May 21, 2017

Me standing by the remnants of the 2nd century BC bath complex called the Stabian spa complex in the ruins of ancient Pompeii, Italy. May 21, 2017

The preserved cast of a young woman at the ruins of ancient Pompeii, Italy. May 21, 2017

The Temple of Jupiter in Roman remains in the rectangular Forum of Pompeii with Mt. Vesuvius in the distance. The Forum was the economic, religious, and political center of Pompeii, Italy. May 21, 2017

Columns from the rectangular Forum of the ancient Pompeii. The Forum was the economic, religious, and political center of Pompeii, Italy. May 21, 2017

The remains of the ancient city of Pompeii, Italy. May 21, 2017

The archeological site and remains of Herculaneum sits in what looks like a bowl below the modern city of Ercolano, Italy, which was once called Resina. The medieval town of Resina was built on the lava stream left by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD that destroyed the ancient city of Herculaneum. May 21, 2017

The archeological site and remains of Herculaneum. May 21, 2017

The ruin shops on the main street of Decumanus Maximus in the ancient Herculaneum, which was hit by boiling mud when it flowed down the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius in the year 79 AD. May 21, 2017

The portal or doorway remains to a house in the ruins of the ancient city of Herculaneum. May 21, 2017

The ruins of a large palaestra, a gymnasium-like facility at the ancient site of Herculaneum. May 21, 2017

The remains of a thermopolium, a commercial establishment where it was possible to purchase ready-to-eat hot food, at the ancient city of Herculaneum. May 21, 2017

The remains of colored mosaics at an inner courtyard at the ancient site of Herculaneum. The mosaics are said to depict Neptune and Amphitrite. May 21, 2017

The remains of colored mosaics at an inner courtyard at the ancient site of Herculaneum. The mosaics are said to depict Neptune and Amphitrite. May 21, 2017

The interior remains of the College of Augustals at the ancient site of Herculaneum. The Augustals was said to be a society of freed slaves who were making their way as Herculaneum citizens. May 21, 2017

The interior remains of the College of Augustals at the ancient site of Herculaneum. The Augustals was said to be a society of freed slaves who were making their way as Herculaneum citizens. May 21, 2017

A close-up of the remains of a painting inside the inner chamber of the College of Augustals of Hercules at the remains of ancient Herculaneum. May 21, 2017

The National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Italy. May 22, 2017

Glass mosaic column from the ancient ruins of Pompeii at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Italy. May 22, 2017

Portrait of the baker, Terentius Neo, and his wife in the pose of intellectuals at the National Archeological Museum in Naples, Italy. This painting, from the ancient and ruined city of Pompeii, is considered to be the only true portraits found among the ancient cities destroyed by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. May 22, 2017

This fresco on gesso painting, intending to portray a high-society Pompeian girl who is richly dressed is called “Sappho,” and hangs at the National Archaeological Museum in Naples. Sappho, who was born on the Greek island of Lesbos in around 630 BC, wrote powerful poems about love directed at women. May 22, 2017

The first floor of the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Italy, is largely devoted to these kinds of paintings discovered at the ancient sites of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Boscoreale, Stabiae and Cuma. May 22, 2017

The first floor of the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Italy, is largely devoted to these kinds of paintings discovered at the ancient sites of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Boscoreale, Stabiae and Cuma. May 22, 2017

Another part of the mosaic ruins found from ancient Pompeii are a collection of ancient erotica shown in the Secret Chamber room of the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Italy. The series of paintings depict erotic positions from a brothel in Pompeii as a way to show clients what kind of services were available. May 22, 2017

Having a home base which to travel from provides me with a central location and some conformity as I explore. That’s what Sorrento has been for me, a nice home base in a hotel located within walking distance of the train station and within the heart of the old town.

It’s not so big that you can’t see everything and not so small that you lose interest. I’ve so enjoyed my evening strolls through the shop filled and touristy alleyways.

And, most of all, I’ve enjoyed my dinners at the simple, little restaurant so close to my hotel. I am such a creature of habit that when I find something I like, there’s just no sense in breaking in something new. I’m loyal. Sometimes it pays off in the end and sometimes it doesn’t. But, I have to go where my heart, my gut and my taste buds take me.

I’ve been on the Italian road for 40 days with 22 more days to go. And, tomorrow, eight of those 22 days left will be spent on my own in Rome and then a few days more when my friend and travel buddy, Bonnie gets to Rome.

In the meantime, thank you Sorrento for being a great place to call home for the past five days.

A view of Sorrento, Italy’s marina. May 23, 2017

A view of Sorrento, Italy’s marina. May 23, 2017

From the Piazza Tasso in Sorrento, Italy, is this car and walkway to the marina. May 23, 2017

The Frattoria Terranova shop that sells the tasty limoncello in Sorrento, Italy. Limoncello, a digestif produced in Sorrento, is made from lemon rinds, alcohol, water and sugar. And, yes, I’ve enjoyed my fair share of Sorrento’s limoncello. May 23, 2017

The majolica entrance hall of the Correale Palace an 18th century aristocratic courtyard in Sorrento, Italy, close to the Via Santa Maria della Pieta and the Piazza Tasso. May 22, 2017

The monument to Torquato Tasso, the hometown native, poet and namesake of the major square, Piazza Tasso, in Sorrento, Italy. May 19, 2017

The always busy Piazza Tasso square in Sorrento, Italy, as the sun is setting. May 23, 2017

The pedestrian walkway of the Piazza Tasso square in Sorrento, Italy. There’s Torquato Tasso, the square namesake, hanging out on his little piece of real estate. May 23, 2017

The busy shop-filled main street of the Corso Italia in Sorrento, Italy. May 23, 2017

One of the busy shop-filled alleyways in Sorrento, Italy. May 23, 2017

One of the busy shop-filled alleyways in Sorrento, Italy. May 19, 2017

A segment of the enclosure walls of the 16th century which was built after the town of Sorrento, Italy, was heavily damaged by Turkish invasions. May 23, 2017

Part of the 16th century walls of Sorrento, Italy. May 23, 2017

A segment of the enclosure walls of the 16th century was built in Sorrento, Italy, after it was heavily damaged by Turkish invasions. May 23, 2017

The Sedile Dominova, loggia of the 15th century, with the 7th century majolica cupola on a corner of Via San Cesareo and in front of the Sorrento Cathedral three story bell tower. Decorated with a clock, the bell tower base dates to the time of the Roman Empire. May 23, 2017

The Sedile Dominova, a 15th century loggia with an exterior majolica cupola in Sorrento, Italy. The coat of arms of Sorrento is painted on the Sedile Dominova. May 19, 2017

A close-up of the Sorrento, Italy, coat of arms painted on the wall of the 15th century loggia, the Sedile Dominova. May 19, 2017

The Sorrento Cathedral was first built around the 11th century and then rebuilt in the Romanesque style in the 15th century. May 19, 2017

The interior of the Sorrento Cathedral in Sorrento, Italy.

The interior (front door entrance) of the Sorrento Cathedral in Sorrento, Italy. May 19, 2017

The stations of cross through the Sorrento Cathedral in Sorrento, Italy, are made of intricate inlaid wood. May 19, 2017

A unique feature of the Sorrento Cathedral is this manger scene. May 19, 2017

A statue of Pope John Paul II outside the Sorrento Cathedral in Sorrento, Italy. May 23, 2017

A walkway along the Via Santa Maria della Pieta, a street that dates back to centuries before Christ on the way to or from the Sorrento Cathedral. May 20, 2017

A walkway along the Via Santa Maria della Pieta, a street that dates back to centuries before Christ on the way to or from the Sorrento Cathedral. It’s also the same street where my hotel, the Palazzo Tasso, is located. May 20, 2017

The Mills Deep Valley in Sorrento, Italy, where 5th century ruins still remain. May 23, 2017

More of the busy Piazza Tasso Square in Sorrento, Italy. May 19, 2017

The Church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Sorrento, Italy, part of the busy Piazza Tasso square. May 19, 2017

A view of the beautiful purple and red bougainvillea across the street from the Sorrento train station. May 22, 2017

Me getting ready to order my last dinner at the Chantecler’s Trattoria in Sorrento, Italy. I’ve so enjoyed my dinners at this quaint restaurant and my stay in Sorrento. May 23, 2017

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