The feature photo is typical of the coastline views around Sorrento on the South West coast.  

Food inspirations from the Amalfi Coast include lemons, vine ripened tomatoes, herby salads, fresh fish grills, sardines and anchovies prepared in a variety of delicious ways.  I’ll soon type up a few simple recipes at the end of this post.

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Map below shows our journey to the Amalfi Coast – 1st stay Sorrento and then a short road trip to Positano…more details below.

 

Getting there:  Rome to Sorrento by train was approx. 3 hours...that included a very brief stop in Naples where we changed to a regional train.  Rome to Naples was on a fast train – very modern and comfortable.  The regional train wasn’t as comfortable but it was only a 1 hr trip – we met up with some Canadians doing a similar route along the Amalfi coast and it seemed like no time before we had arrived in Sorrento.

Where we stayed in Sorrento:  Grand Hotel De La Ville

Sometimes a gem of a hotel or B&B can be the highlight of a destination – one of the advantages of deciding on your own accommodation.  That was the case when we stayed in Sorrento for 4 nights.   It was an easy walk to and from the train station – it was around 10 minutes and we easily did so with our luggage.  Of course, there are taxis if it’s raining.   A lovely breakfast was included in our rate & if weather is good you can sit in their beautiful courtyard.  The hotel is elevated and many rooms have sea views;  there’s also a rooftop bar with views.


Things to do in Sorrento:
We enjoyed walking along/near the Corso Italia – the busy Main Street/Centre of colourful Sorrento (photo above) where there are cafes, gelaterias, restaurants, museums and galleries and the cathedral.  Lots of Limoncello products for sale!  It’s also interesting to wander off the Main Street to try some of the less touristy places a few blocks back…we do that in most popular tourist destinations.  The Piazza Tasso is another busy place, particularly vibrant and colourful in the evening.  When we were there the weather was pleasantly warm and people were enjoying the outdoors.  There are also many bars and restaurants in and near the Piazza.

Like many Amalfi coast towns, the centre of Sorrento is positioned on top of a cliff and some of the buildings have an organic feel like they’re growing up straight out of the solid rock below (see above photo...from Net – our photo was spoilt by rain that day).  In Sorrento there is a lift which can take you down to the waterfront.  We decided to walk down instead and after a few hours there we took the lift ride back…younger/fitter people might prefer the steep walk back up!  We also walked down to the Sorrento port (photo below) on the day we had a day trip to Capri – glad we walked on both occasions as can be seen from our photo, the views are spectacular.

We also did 2 day trips from Sorrento – one a train trip to Pompeii and the other a boat trip to Capri.

Pompeii


We caught the train to Pompeii – no need to arrange an expensive tour as it was very easy to do as a day trip and there are self guided audio tours available and also private guides if you so wish. It’s a short trip and the train stops right outside the entrance to Pompeii. It was a fabulous day and we returned to Sorrento in time for dinner – there are a range of cafes and restaurants ranging from casual eateries to fine dining. We went for something very light as it was one of those wonderfully tiring days…we were still talking about it late into the evening!  A fabulous time!
CAPRI
Photo below is a view from the ferry on the way to Capri

Photo below:  In Capri it’s a steep walk up the hill from the ferry stop (there is a cable car service).  From memory, I think it was a half hour walk at a steady pace…nice views like this one along the way so it’s worth the effort if you have reasonable fitness.  The walk takes you through laneways like this in residential areas.  There is a cable car service to/from the waterfront.  The centre of Capri is at the top – lots of upmarket shops, galleries, cafes and restaurants but bring your €s with you as it’s an expensive destination!  We had lunch at a restaurant with a nice view – we hadn’t checked food guides/reviews like we often do before going to a restaurant but it turned out fine…expensive for the quantity and quality of food – tasty but not memorable (see 2nd & 3rd photo below).   Tony had gnocchi – it was ok he said but not as good as the one he makes at home…I’ll note the recipe he uses at the end of this post.

Photo above (left) – taken not far from where we had lunch.

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another pretty view on our ferry trip back to Sorrento.

Lemons trees are everywhere in Southern Italy – see 1st photo actually taken at our B&B in Positano but there were similar pots at our hotel in Sorrento.  So pleased that our coast house lemon trees are thriving (NSW Sth Coast) – transplanted from our pots in Canberra when we moved to an apartment one year ago now.  Canberra has fairly cold winters (compared to the rest of Australia) and lemons need a lot of TLC there to survive/thrive.

We had many delicious gelatos and granitas while in Southern Italy, so that combined with our own lemons, has inspired us to make a few dishes.  Here’s the first which is a refreshing one to make in summer:

  1. Heat the water in a saucepan over a low heat.  Add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved.  Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  2. Stir the lemon juice and rind into the cooled syrup.
  3. Pour the mixture into a freeze proof container and freeze for 3-4 hours.
  4. Remove the container from the freezer and dip the base into hot water.  Turn out the ice block and chop roughly.  Place in a heavy duty food processor and process until it forms small crystals.

Recipe from Cook With Confidence – Italian – a step-by-step cookbook (2015)…it’s a book published for adults but the visuals make it very helpful if cooking with children.  I recommend buying it if you sometimes cook with kids like I do.  Last week my granddaughter was recovering from a minor surgery so we made Pasta Shells stuffed with Ricotta and Tomato.  She loved it!  My next post “Southern Italy for Kids” will have these recipes and more.  Off to enjoy a seaside walk now…retirement from our hectic careers is good😎