Odyssey 2018 - Hallelujah! Some blue skies in Sorrento!

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March 9th 2018
Published: March 10th 2018
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Bay of Naples and VesuviusBay of Naples and VesuviusBay of Naples and Vesuvius

Photo taken this morning from our balcony.
Dee and I finally caught a break with the weather, as overcast skies gave way to some sunshine today. By mid-afternoon it was downright pleasant, with the temperature reaching 59 degrees, under partly sunny skies, and light winds. Still jacket and scarf weather, but quite comfortable for walking.

We've wanted to try riding the train from Piano di Sorrento into Sorrento, saving us a 3-mile hike. The station is a 15-minute walk from our apartment, and after we arrived we purchased roundtrip tickets for 5.20 euros (about $6.75), a real bargain compared to a taxi fare of $40!

We missed the first train, after waiting on the wrong track(!), but boarded the next one about 20 minutes later. This train runs between Naples and Sorrento, with numerous stops along the way, including Pompeii. It's very popular with tourists because of the low fares and convenience for those traveling from Naples to the Sorrento peninsula.

However, when the train pulled into the station, it quickly became apparent that this was definitely NOT going to be a ride on the luxurious "Orient Express"! The train looked pretty scroungy, covered head-to-toe with grime and graffiti; nothing like the sleek, clean Italian
Circumvesuviana trainCircumvesuviana trainCircumvesuviana train

Arriving at Piano di Sorrento station.
trains we've ridden in the past. Apparently this particular route, the so-called "Circumvesuviana" line, is a barebones, no-frills operation--thus the bargain prices. In any event, we reached Sorrento in under 10 minutes, less time than it took us to walk to the station!

From the train station in Sorrento, it was but a short walk to the Piazza Tasso, where we decided to have a light lunch at the Bar Syrenuse, one of several cafes with outdoor terraces on the piazza.

The town seemed much livelier than the day before yesterday, perhaps because of the milder temperatures. So there were quite a few diners at the Bar Syrenuse when we arrived. This typical tourist place must really "crank" during the season, as do the others on main piazza. Dee ordered a salad, while I had a tuna sandwich with fries and a beer; nothing to rave about, but the prices seemed reasonable.

After lunch we went on a scavenger hunt, so to speak, in order to locate the hotel Palazzo Guardati, where some friends of ours will be staying when they visit Sorrento in June. The hotel is located on the tiny Via Sant’Antonino, a quaint pedestrian street (more like a passageway) that runs from the north side of Piazza Tasso for about a 100 yards before ending near the piazza and church of Sant’Antonino (named after the patron saint of Sorrento). Dee led the way, eventually spotting it sandwiched between two very nice looking restaurants. The hotel itself is closed for the season, however, so we could not take a peek inside.

We then walked along the Via San Cesareo, another pedestrian street filled with souvenir shops, that was surprisingly busy with gawkers like ourselves. After reaching the Cathedral di Sorrento, we found it closed yet again! The cathedral was first built during the 11th-century, and then rebuilt during the 15th-century in Romanesque style. The poet Torquato Tasso, the best known citizen of the town, was baptized in the church's baptistery.

Although we could not visit the interior of the cathedral, we were able to view the magnificent bell tower located around the corner from the church itself. This impressive bell tower has three stories, and is decorated with a clock. The base of the bell tower dates to the time of the Roman Empire, the façade from 1924. The main doors are of the 11th-century from Constantinople.

At this point we backtracked to the Piazza Tasso. After sitting for awhile next to the Bar Fauno, the most prominent cafe on the square (closed for the season), we made a brief gelato and coffee stop just off the piazza before walking along Corso Italia to reach the “Agruminato”, a citrus garden typical of the Sorrento Peninsula.

This citrus garden is unique because of its location right in the center of Sorrento. Originally named "Fondo Petrulo," it belonged to the nearby Excelsior Vittoria Hotel in the past, then later to shipbuilder Achille Lauro. Its original size was approximately 15 acres.

Today, a portion of the original estate, almost 3 acres, remains a working citrus garden, miraculously saved from the building boom of the 1960s and 70s. The municipality of Sorrento purchased this remaining piece of land. At the beginning of the 21st-century it was inaugurated as the citrus garden “Agruminato”, and opened to the public. A private caretaker tends this grove today, picks the fruits from the citrus trees, and then produces fresh drinks and refined liqueurs (such as limoncello) for sale to the public.

We then made the return train journey to Piano di Sorrento, arriving at the apartment around 4:30 PM. Chef Dee prepared a delicious chicken dish for dinner; then our lights were out pretty early, as we have an 8:45 AM departure tomorrow - a day trip with Francesco and family to visit the Greek and Roman ruins at Paestum.

Dee's comments: Right out of the chute, our elevator was either stuck or out-of-order, so we walked down 40 stairs to reach the ground level. LOL! Then off to the train station - O.K., I love Piano di Sorrento, but the train experience was not what I expected. Lots of riders, plus several deadbeat high school-age kids jumped the gate to avoid buying tickets; cops came, so they scattered like roaches, only to return and later board the train (we even saw them in Sorrento later in the day!).

Ate lunch at a cute tourist place on the square, then off to check out a hotel on a tiny side street. Lots of road construction and building renovations going on in town. Sat on a bench for awhile, laughing at a crazy lady driver trying to park near congested construction area---unreal, she almost hit four different people! After a few laughs, we walked to a gelato place for a quick taste, with coffee; then to the train station, and long walk back to the apartment. Had a sore toe and backside after today's walking. Made a nice dinner for us, then hit the sack early. Ciao!

Additional photos below
Photos: 23, Displayed: 23


Bar SyrenuseBar Syrenuse
Bar Syrenuse

Located on the north side of Piazza Tasso.
Shoppers on Via CesareoShoppers on Via Cesareo
Shoppers on Via Cesareo

Pedestrian street, just off Piazza Tasso.
Dee's new friend?Dee's new friend?
Dee's new friend?

Children's playground, Piano di Sorrento.

10th March 2018

Yeah, the weather is finally getting better! The food looks amazing and yummy especially the gelato and cafe latte. The lemon trees are so impressive and no I don’t think you can do too many lemons. You didn’t try to tickle the clown’s bellybutton? 😏
11th March 2018

What another beautiful day! The gelato and latte look scrumptious. Always fun to experience local transportation. The pics bring back great memories.
23rd March 2018

sunshine..... glad to see the roaches didn't spoil the day... such lovely sites, hoped you rested well after full tums and busy feet....

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