In May, we traveled to southern Italy and stayed in Sorrento, which is a small but busy port city perched on cliffs some two hundred feet above the Bay of Naples, with views back to Naples and Mount Vesuvius. The views of Vesuvius provided a visual theme for our stay in southern Italy since we could see it at various times throughout our journeys. The old Centro of Sorrento has a main square and narrow shopping streets, busy with tourists and stores selling leather goods, gelato, and lemon goods including the famous limoncello liqueur. Given America’s obsession with traffic order, it was interesting to see the traffic chaos in Sorrento, with buses, cars scooters, and pedestrians all entering the square without the aid of a traffic signal but with the occasional assistance of a traffic cop.
One of the narrow shopping alleys terminated with a lovely bell tower. Our walks through the narrow alleys of the city were punctuated by the many lemon groves, providing the city’s most famous produce. On our first full day, we toured the cloister of Saint Francesco with its lovely and serene courtyard lined with a variety of columns collected by its builders from throughout the area. We traveled to the Village of Fontanalle, high above Sorrento for a hike over the ridge of the Sorrento peninsula to a high knoll above the Bay of Salerno and through meadows full of a variety of wildflowers. We hiked back up to Saint Agata through olive groves, and with a long descent on paved paths, back down into the old Centro of Sorrento.