Sorrento is the town of the sirens.
Walking around Sorrento you spot them everywhere. Playing hide and seek on beautiful espresso cups and Limoncello bottles, or even posing artistically on gorgeous, artisanally decorated cameo, magical local jewelry made out of sea shells.
But Sorrento, with its gorgeous pastel buildings scattered around the ancient Greek net of tiny streets, unbelievable villas looking over the dramatic “costiera,” and its pretty lemon farms all around, can’t really be forced into one category of beauty.
Sorrento, if you allow us, deserves to be part of its own.
So today we’ll give you a few tips on some incredible experiences, flavours, and places that contribute to making Sorrento and the surrounding area part of an elevated category of beauty.
Sorrento Peninsula: Of lemons and unique products.
Is it a crime to just spend days and days sipping lemon granita or grapple with endless walks around town and its endless panoramic points?
It could never be!
But let us tell you something: There is so much more to see, and taste and experience!
Sorrento is part of a wider area called the Sorrento Peninsula. This special geographical position is key to the quality of the Sorrento world renowned lemons. Let’s talk about those for a second.
The area around Sorrento used to be a Greek colony. It was they that brought in the lemons. As Luigi Nunziata from the Giardino di Vigliano, a gorgeous lemon farm with a stunning view over the Vesuvius, explains in tours around his family property, lemons were for many centuries just used as decorative trees. Over the centuries, lemons turned out to be not just the prettiest fruits, but also an incredible ingredient for a million purposes. Luigi and his family mastered the art of making incredible products like lemon caciotta cheese, ginger and lemon jam, or lemon pizza with it!
Local producers have brought the lemon game to a whole new level indeed. At the local extra virgin olive oil production site called Le Colline Lubrensi they found a formula that puts together olive oil and the Sorrento Lemons. Lemons are picked and included in the olive oil process not longer than 12 hours after their picking. The result is an extra virgin olive oil with the scent of lemon.
One day I happened to visit an Agriturismo (a formula that happily puts together farming and hospitality) called Il Convento and I found myself in a Limoncello fairy world. The beautiful family carries on an intergenerational tradition of Limoncello making. Walking around endless Lemon boulevards the peaceful vibe seems to play therapeutic tricks on you. Tasting limoncello straight out of this “Lemon Heaven” is something so special it is hard to forget.
There are not only lemons though, there is so much more beauty.
For example, the Turiziello Agriturismo is specialized in the production of a local cheese with an interesting story: Provolone del Monaco — the Monk’s Provolone. Years ago, the cheese makers from this area would have to commute to Naples to sell their excellent cheeses. Legend says that in order to protect themselves from the cold or humidity, they would come off their boats wearing long, mysterious cloaks. Therefore, the surprised local merchants at the Napoli markets, started calling them monks, and their cheeses became the Monk’s Provolone. Today, the commute has turned the other way around. Neapolitans love to reach the Sorrento Peninsula so they can have a taste of this beautiful cheese.
Meeting the Sirens
Once you have spent the day running around the Peninsula coming across local excellences, it’s a great idea to put your adventure hat on and discover of one of the most magical places in the whole area: Punta Campanella.
Jump on a local bus from Sorrento to the little town of Termini, and take that tiny little street all the way down. The walk is an astounding journey to the very end of the Sorrento Peninsula, where the rocks meet the ocean and you can see the exact point where Capri island and the Sorrento Peninsula used to be connected millions of years ago. On Punta Campanella, there is a stunning Saracen defensive tower and the former site of a Greek Temple. This temple was dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena and it is said to have been built by Odysseus to thank the Gods for not letting him surrender to the chants of the Sirens on his journey home after the fall of Troy described in Homer’s Odyssey. Circe, an enchantress in Greek mythology, suggested Odyesseus to be aware of the chants of the Sirens in this area. These mystical creatures would use these to attract ships their way and sink them ruthlessly. Odysseus decided to tie himself to his ship’s mast not to fall for the Sirens’ tricks, managing to escape and causing their death for the embarrassment of their failed tricks.
I bet that once at Punta Campanella you wish you could hear those Sirens again. You might not tie yourself to the mast but just tell them “take me with you — take me to Sorrento and never let me go again”.
Come for the lemons, but the rest of Sorrento’s beauty will have you never wanting to leave.