There are many reasons to visit Sorrento, Italy, including its famous limoncello and to learn about the legend of the sirens of Sorrento.
Sorrento is located across the Bay from Naples and lies the Sorrentine Peninsula. This stunning stretch of coastline and the amazing location looking out over the Bay of Naples, Mount Vesuvius, and the Isle of Capri makes it a very popular Italian seaside destination.
The Sirens of Sorrento Italy
Sorrento derives its name from the Sirens, the mythical creatures who enchanted and seduced sailors with their beautiful voices but ultimately led them to their untimely deaths. Would this be a clue as to the nature of this picture perfect, postcard town on the southern side of the Bay of Naples.
Why Visit Sorrento?
We chose to visit Sorrento in April, an ideal time weather wise and to avoid the manic tourist season. In keeping with our plan of experiencing various forms of accommodation we opted for Mami Camilla’s Cooking School. Food is a significant factor in our lives so it was an obvious choice. In another post I will talk about the actual experiences at the school.
Getting to Sorrento
We caught the train from Naples and tried to establish the appropriate mood. I kept singing the few words of Dean Martin’s Volare, “Volare, oh, oh, Cantare, oh, oh, oh, oh! Let’s fly way up to the clouds, away from the maddening crowd … , e.tc”, It was trying to enhance the romantic mood! People on the train stared, but I figured it was due my passion for their country and their favorite son. It was later on that I found out Dean Martin was born in Steubenville, Ohio. However, I can pretend because he only spoke Italian for the first 5 years of his life, and I did read something about him and Naples, and that is just soo much more romantic than Ohio!
I am easily influenced by what I read and see, and I end up incorporating certain facts into my own personal reality. Maybe Dean is the male equivalent of the siren – he certainly allures with that voice…
Our little train had careened through beautiful towns, which clung, to the edge of the Amalfi coast, through citrus orchards cascading with ripe fruit towards our venue. All in all, what you dream about when thinking of Italy.
The Town of Sorrento, Italy
Our first foray into the actual town of Sorrento was wonderful. Winding through little-cobbled lanes we descended dangerously to the Marina Grande below – ‘way below’ to watch the fishing boats. Apparently we now had to get back up, which is a big job and one that ensures that over indulgence are paid for and dealt with. Because it was not tourist season we were able to take our time and amble along the mazes of streets and chat to various stall holders.
The Sirens of Sorrento, Italy are still around today
People sing a lot in Sorrento. The singing pescatore selling his catch of the day, another man singing while selling his vegetable, women humming as they walked along. The sirens had influence and still apparently have. Even Caruso was a frequent visitor as were composers Rossini, Mendelssohn, and Wagner. Bears considering, I think.
Drinking Limoncello in Sorrento
The next day we went for another walk around Sorrento, and through the tapestry of streets of this beautiful seaside town. We were coerced by the highly friendly shop owners to sample their limoncello chocolates and their limoncello liqueur. It was 10.00am in the morning, and we had been so hospitably treated that we did not like to refuse. The chocolates varied in type and filling and showing impeccable manners we devoured what was offered.
Now to the liqueurs and with the exemplary style we tasted a number of varieties. After purchasing some gifts for the family we moved back onto the cobbles, which seemed to be quite blurry only to be stopped by the next stallholder. Ours is much better – you must try our chocolates and our varieties of limoncello and rockmelon ‘cello. Our Mums bought us up well so we could hardly refuse. He had his Nona’s recipes from ages ago, and ‘his’ were the truly excellent varieties. Would we try some of each? What is the saying, in for a penny in for a pound? Or when in Rome … At the fifth shop the owner tried to stop us though I couldn’t quite clearly determine his or her features, and we had to say sorry.
So Sorrento will seduce you undoubtedly. These sirens are very enchanting or just bad influences.
Further Information on Sorrento can be found at Sorrento Tourism