Day 1: Matera to Sorrento
Todays trip started with a bus. The bus was there when we arrived, which reduced stress. We’re taking the bus to Salerno, then a train to Naples, then a local train to Sorrento. It was fairly pleasant and scenic. We stopped in Potenza on the way to Salerno. We met a friendly Asian woman on the bus and an American student at the train station in Salerno. Transferring to the local train in Naples was easy though we had to wait for a few minutes. We heard this commuter train could get crowded. It wasn’t crowded at first; it got more so after Pompeii.
The stairs up to our room were spiral and not as awful as we feared. More steep stairs led up to the kitchenette, roof deck, and second small bath. We have views of the main street from our room. Dinner at 86 Bistro was good: a humus-like starter, dramatic smoked fish, and fried octopus. We got to see fireworks too.
Day 2: Wandering Sorrento
Our first day in Sorrento we took it easy. We had breakfast up on the roof overlooking the town and the bay in one direction and the surrounding hills in the other.
We did Rick Steves’ walk in Sorrento and picked up our ferry boarding passes down at the port. Sorrento doesn’t really have a beach but there are breakwaters decked out with umbrellas, chairs, and waterfront bars. There’s also a handy elevator; it’s a long way down.
We had fish and chips and Guinness at the English Inn and got snacks and wine for later. It felt good to relax a bit today. We discovered that Naples won the Italian soccer championship, which explains all the Napoli banners. Of the waterfront places we’ve been on this trip, Sorrento has the most beach holiday vibe. Maybe it’s the drunks shout-singing at night.
Day 3: Pompeii and Naples
Today’s highlight was a tour of Pompeii. Oun guide was fun: she referred to other tour groups as “enemies.” As in: move quickly, enemies approaching from the south.
Then things went awry. Our Pompeii tour ended late and we missed our Naples walking tour. They’re planned so you can do them on the same day but I guess not when one runs late. They originally billed us for canceling then reversed it. The other member of our Pompeii tour who was on both missed it also. We did the Rick Steves walk in Naples instead. Naples was not as bad as I expected but it is gritty and crowded. We were tired and thirsty which didn’t help.
Luckily we had a seat on the train on the way back. We had pizza at Il Leone Russo near the train station. We got delicious cherry cookies for breakfast from the Primavera bakery and gelato place across the street and some wine and Ichnusa beer. Then we crashed.
Day 4: Amalfi and Positano
Before arriving here I booked a ferry “tour” with NGL from Sorrento to Amalfi then Positano and back to Sorrento. (You can also stop at Positano before Amalfi.) Traffic on the coast road is terrible so that sounded like the best way to visit the Amalfi coast.
We ate while we were out and about so back in Sorrento we went back to Primavera for more delicious cookies for breakfast and got some pistachio and walnut gelato, plus limoncello sorbet for dessert.
Day 5: The Inlaid Wood Museum and Shopping
We went to the Inlaid Wood Museum today, which was fascinating and moist. It’s too bad photos weren’t allowed. We could have collected lots of inspiration for future woodworking projects. (We did get a picture of the old stairs.) As usual we have postponed shopping for a Christmas ornament so today we shopped for a fish ornament — we saw one in Amalfi yesterday and thought it was a good choice — and ended up with an octopus. Then we had traditional pasta at Gigino for lunch. And Caprese salad, because we’re near Capri. There are lemon products all over this town but we didn’t get any because we don’t want to carry them. We had snacks on the roof deck one last time, and saw one last sunset. Off to Rome tomorrow.
Our room at Margiò House in Sorrento had a unique layout. The bedroom and main bath were on the lower level, with a steep stairway to a small upper level with the kitchenette, a single bed, a small bath, and the roof deck. The two-level layout was a surprise. It’s up four flights of spiral stairs with no lift. So getting up and down is a workout but we thought it was worth it for the views. The central location was great and there was lots of space. Breakfast was packaged baked goods.
There are lots of places to eat in Sorrento. We liked every place we ate and you’ll definitely get better value in Sorrento than in Positano or Amalfi. Positano is easily the most expensive place we stopped on this trip.
You can walk everywhere in Sorrento though the €1.50 for elevator down to water level and back is convenient. Other than that the town was not as steep as we were expecting.