Monday, 4 November 2013

Sorrento, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Yes I know Ulysses came here as described by Homer and heard the Sirens chanting, it was a great Greek colony 2500 years ago and was a wealthy Roman resort town until Vesuvius exploded in 79 AD. There is great wine and wonderful lemon and olive orchards everywhere. All this is very nice and fine but no trace of it remains, even the Sirens are gone.

We visited Sorrento today, one of the resort towns on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. Full of the luxury hotels belonging to another era when going on vacation meant staying in pampered accommodations and spending your day reading or walking or having conversations with friends. This is not a modern resort for families or for anyone looking for excitement. There is NO sandy beach, it is all rocky crags, no modern hotels, it is all about seclusion in expensive resorts, having a quiet relaxing vacation, getting SPA treatments and eating beautiful slow food and tasting great wines, wearing nice expensive designer Italian clothes, all very nice and all very slow pace. You can get a fast jet boat to Capri for much of the same, just it is more expensive and more exclusive, a lot more.

Sorrento is what going on vacation was like 100 years ago in 1900, it has not changed much. Sure there are lots of budget tourists but they are kept in one narrow area of town and have no access to the more exclusive parts of this resort, guards are posted at the entrance of archways you must past to enter and discourage people wanting to have a look around. Being Southern Italy there is a lot of poverty but again Sorrento like a lot of the Amalfi coast is good at hiding this fact as long as you do not look too closely. Lots of very good restaurants and faded grandeur. But frankly after spending a day in Sorrento, I do not see what attraction lies here. Unfortunately all the cruise ships stop here, there is no Port so you must disembark on tenders if the weather permits. Tourist come to gawk at the beautiful people who generally ignore you.
Someone asked why are we here? Why would anyone come here? Good question. You come here because if offers the moneyed crowd a place which supplies a life style they recognize. The rest can just move along. This is not to say that the city is not beautiful, simply I have seen more interesting places.

Tomorrow we go to Trapani in Sicily, now that is more interesting and has more features for the public at large.


  1. Seeing the sights where Ulysses dwelled is something I would like to do before I die. I want the poem "Ithaka" to be a reality

    1. Personally I think that Ulysses guy was a poor sailor and had no sense of direction when you look at this 10 year trip to go home. Very strange.