We pulled into Sorrento on our last full day of our remarkable Silversea Cruise in the Mediterranean. A lot of folks headed to Capri or Positano for day excursions. But I’ve had the pleasure of visiting both on nicer days in summer so opted to stay close to the boat to get packed and visit the town of Sorrento, which sits high on a dark bluff of rocky land high above the water, facing Naples.
It’s nowhere near as pretty as Positano, which clings to a cliff as if for dear life, or as Capri. But it’s got its charms; small salumeria shops selling spicy salami, fun cafes and some pretty good shirt shops on one of the alleys, where I found some nice stuff for about $40 a pop.
A fellow at one of the gelato shops told me it takes 55 cups of espresso for one small container of coffee gelato, which is impressive. We also stopped at a shop selling limoncello (there are a million of them) and had a brief lesson on how the better ones use more lemons and less sugar. Of course, we bought a bottle to take home. And the owner, a nice guy in his 30’s, insisted on having his photo taken with my wife and then gave her a kiss on both cheeks.
The streets are fun to wander about. But I also found two places worth mentioning. The first is the Sedile Dominova, which looks like an old bank building with walls open to the elements but in fact was a government centre in old Roman times. They now have a small series of tables where locals gather for coffee under a series of incredibly rich, atmospheric frescoes in deep reds and blues. I had never heard of this place and it was like walking into a dream. Absolutely magical.
I’ve since read it’s a café where I might have been able to sit and eat. I’d love nothing more than to try next time around, I can tell you that.
I walked from there down to the edge of town, overlooking the water, and spotted a beautiful, classy old hotel called Tramontano. There’s an extensive garden out front with flowers and towering cactus, and the lobby is a fabulous design with yellow walls and plenty of light and small statues. There’s a dreamy sitting room next to a verandah that looks out over the sea and over to Naples; an absolutely perfect place for a cappuccino, even if does cost $6.
A very classy, quiet spot in a busy town that speaks of older, more genteel days. I would love to stay a night and spend a morning having my breakfast on the verandah and then checking out the Sedille Dominova.
That’s it for my Silversea cruise. An INCREDIBLE experience that finished at the port of Rome on Saturday morning, where staff from the cruise line were hugely helpful in checking people’s flight times and pointing them to the precise gate they needed to go to to catch their flights.
On to London for a tour of the South Bank and a look at the incredible, bustling World Travel Mart…