Thursday, June 2, 2011

Road Tripping Campania - Sorrento, Italy

After Greece, we're using Sorrento, Italy, as a base to explore the region.

Where we will sleep

Santa Fortunata (Campsite)
How long? 7 nights
How much? €23 per night plus a €15 booking fee (2 adults, small tent, 1 motorbike) 
Check in? 3pm, which is around the same time we arrive, having driven 4 hours from the Greece-Italy ferry landing at Bari.
Check out? 10.30am, but we’ll probably leave around 8, to do the 3.5 hour ride to Rome by 2pm.
Why we chose it? Swimming pool, few minutes walk to the beach, snorkeling gear.

What we want to see

Sorrento for us is a base to explore the Amalfi Coast and Naples, so a lot of what we want to see isn’t actually in Sorrento.


Capri Boat Tour – Offered by the campground we’re staying at, this boat tour goes to the island of Capri and all the amazing natural attractions it has to offer.
€29 fee
Duration 8.45am-6pm


I want to eat Pizza! After all, it was invented in Naples. I also want to try Sfogliatelle.

Veiled Christ – the famous sculpture housed at Capella Sansevero. Even Courtney wants to see it since he saw the pictures.
€7 admission, or €5 if you’re 10-25 years old.
Opening hours – 10am-5.40pm except Sundays 10am-1.10pm and closed Tuesdays.

The ruins under San Lorenzo Maggiore church – when renovating the church, they discovered the ancient village of Neapolis buried underneath. You can now go beneath the church and walk through the ancient Agora, or marketplace.
€4 admission
Opening hours 9am-5pm every day except Sundays 9.30am-1.30pm.

Spaccanapoli – the main street through the historic centre of Naples. It’s beautiful and cobbled and provides access to many of the sights of Naples.

Castel Dell’ovo – One of three famous Castles in the area, but probably the one we are least likely to go to.
No admission advertised.

Castel Nuovo – built in 1282 and still in use today, Castel Nuovo is one of the main architectural icons of Naples.
€5 admission

Castel Sant’Elmo – the most visible of the three castles of Naples, and it includes a museum too.
€3 admission

Museo Archeologico Nazionale – The national museum of archaeology, including the remains of Pompeii that were removed from the site when it was discovered.
€6.50 admission
Opening Hours 9am-7.30pm everyday except Tuesday.

Via San Gregorio Armeno – aka Christmas Alley. Year round, the street is filled with stores selling nativity scenes and tree decorations. I love Christmas, this street is my idea of heaven.


The ruins! - The famous city buried by lava and ash from nearby Mt Vesuvius. I also want to see the Villa of the Mysteries outside the city walls. We’ve heard a few tips for our visit –
It’s best to take food with you because all the places nearby are ridiculously expensive.
Don’t park at the site because it doesn’t show the price but it’s €2 an hour.
Request a free map from the information booth beside the ticket booth.
Rather than riding all that way, we can take a 30 minute train for €1.90 each, each way.
€10 admission and you buy the ticket on site. You can pay €20 to get access to Pompeii, Herculaneum (smaller but 2-storied) and 3 other sites.
Opening Hours 8.30am-7.30pm


The bus to Positano is €5.20 for both of us, return, from Sorrento. Better than taking the bike around those windy roads!

L’Albertissimo - L’Albertissimo is an alcoholic drink only available at a small stall in the main harbor called L’Alternativa

What we are expecting

From Naples I’m expecting narrow lanes, a dirty heat, beautiful sculptures and art. I’m expecting it to be a little run down. I know to watch my safety here because it has a high crime rate (nevermind the mafia presence). I’m really looking forward to seeing Spaccanapoli.

From the Amalfi Coast, I’m expecting the views of movies. I’m expecting steep hills piled full with buildings. I’m expecting terrifying drivers on the road. I’m expecting not much to do but explore. I’m expecting sharp bright light reflecting off everything.

I imagine Naples and Amalfi so differently even though they’re both visiting distance from Sorrento. Sorrento I imagine to be a relaxed home base, beautiful and calm, although crowded with Summer tourists.