Apr 02, 2011
May 15, 2011
Today we entered the harbor of Sorrento, our first port in Italy. It is a small city in southern Italy which is a favorite tourist stop in Italy. It has been a tourist stop for centuries. It was first documented as a part of the Greek Empire in 400 B.C. Later although the Romans did not believe that it was a strategic port, but they believed that it was a great tourist location as several of the Roman Caesars had vacation villas in Sorrento. But there are other sites to see in the area. The Isle of Capri, which is a lovely island, is just off the coast of Sorrento. Across the bay from Sorrento is the City of Naples. Just inland from Sorrento is Mount Vesuvius with the Cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. These two cities were frozen in time about 75 AD when the volcano (Mount Vesuvius) erupted and covered the cities with lava. We felt that it would be too much to try and visit all of these sites so we decided to concentrate our time in exploring Sorrento itself.
The day started off with dark clouds over the ship as we anchored in the harbor. Even thru breakfast the clouds held their rain as we walked out on deck to check the weather. The temperature was in the low 70's and the rain was holding. We were in the middle of the bay and would tender into the harbor just below the cliffs of Sorrento. We waited our turn and headed down to deck 3 for our departure on the ship's tenders. As soon as we stepped on the deck, the clouds began to leak. Just a light rain was falling as we boarded the tenders and began our slow ride into the harbor. The harbor is located at the base of large steep cliffs that hang directly over the harbor and ocean. Built on the edge and making up part of the cliff is the edge of the city of Sorrento. After departing the tender, we walked thru the light rain to the right of the harbor into the area that the Free Shuttle buses were waiting to take us up a very narrow and steep winding road to the main plaza in Sorrento. As we reached the top of the cliff and started out into the city, we were walking and taking photographs while holding an umbrella in one hand. But after a few minutes of balancing a movie camera, a still camera, a map, and an umbrella, the rain quit. The luck of the White Lady had stopped the rain and the weather stayed comfortable in the low 70's for the rest of the day. We had been deposited in the Piazza Tasso, a main plaza in Sorrento, and there we began our adventure in this medieval city of southern Italy. Within a block of the plaza was a giant circular depression that was over a 100 foot deep. Inside this gorge was an abandoned wood factory that was covered with moss and ivy which completed the design of the depression that was lined with ivy and other green shrubbery.
After visiting the rim of the gorge and viewing the Wood Factory, we again returned to the Piazza Tasso as we would be taking another street through the city. Just off the Plaza was Via San Cesareo, a little alley way that was closed to traffic so that people could swarm thru the alley that was lined with small shops selling everything from vegetables and wood products and clothing and lemoncello. The area around Sorrento is famous for tomatoes and lemons. The lemoncello is an alcohol drink that includes lemons and sugar. We tried the lemoncello, but I was limited to only one as its sugar content was very high. The shopping alley went on for many blocks and was a popular tourist attraction. Thus it was crowed and noisy as many people walked and shopped thru this alley of small tourist shops. After walking for several blocks thru the alley, we looked left and saw the most famous church in the city. It was the Dommo Church. The church is sandwiched in between other buildings but is distinguished by a large three story bell tower. It is a beautiful old church that is in a city which is full of beautiful old buildings which are accompanied by awe inspiring landscapes of ocean and cliffs. The city sits high above the Mediterranean Sea on ancient cliffs that are part natural and part old buildings. We walked the small streets of the city to the edge of the cliffs and then back along the cliffs to even more, small city streets. All the time we were awe struck with the variety of villas, shops, restaurants, and old churches. We had left the jungles and deserts for the medieval cities of Europe. The full day was a long hike thru an early spring day among the beauty of Sorrento. As the day wore on, we began to think of eating as the ship has conditioned us to partake in every meal of the day. We were in the area where the pizza was first cooked, it was made to celebrate Princess Margaret's visit to the area. We stopped in a little restaurant that serve Pizza Margarita which consisted of red tomato sauce, white mozzarella cheese, and green oregano leaves. Yes, the pizza was red, white, and green; the colors of the Italian Flag. It was also delicious especial when eaten with the local Sorrento Beer. It was a pleasant way to relax and prepare us for more strolling thru the medieval city of Sorrento. We walked for several more hours. Just strolling and enjoying the sights of the city.
But as with other ports, our stay at this port was drawing to a close and we wanted to walk back down the cliff to the harbor. It was a steep set of stairs that descended down the face of the cliff beside the narrow road that also leads down to the harbor. The base of the long stair built on the side of the cliff of Sorrento was a gathering of old buildings full of the last minute items that any tourist would need before leaving Sorrento. From this location we could look back up the cliff at the town of Sorrento. At the harbor was our tender which was waiting to return us to the White Lady, our home away from home.
Tonight the Tahitian Princess lifted anchor and began its journey up the coast of Italy to the city of Civitavecchia, the port city for Rome, Italy. We will be there when we awake in the morning.
********************************Where is Harriet? Hunt
She again is waiting to be discovered and is waiting for you in the Via San Cesareo. Good luck hunting. A word warning, if you find her, she will show you many wonderful items on which you can spend your money.Linda on April 20, 2009 Looks like Harriet is shopping this time. MIddle left of the picture just between the clothes and the man in the blue jacket and pants. He is walking away from us. Harriet is looking over his shoulder on the left side, can see her head and partial body. I think you will be busy for the next few days with all the parts. Should be interesting. At least the weather is cooler. Linda