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Day Nine
      We boarded the bus for Sorrento with a stop in Pompeii for a 3 hour guided tour of the ruins. Our guide did a wonderful job illustrating what life was like in Pompeii before the dreadful event in 79 AD. We were amazed by how advanced they were with streets paved of large stones, sidewalks, open air squares, market places, running water, brothels, gambling halls and homes with central gardens. The streets were lined with alternating homes and businesses. Many of the art treasures were removed from the site and can now be seen in the Naples National Archaeological Museum which we visited later in the trip. Interesting to note that 2/3 of Pompeii remains under volcanic dust and is yet to be discovered. After the tour, we enjoyed a wood-fired pizza with the rest of the group before continuing on to Sorrento. We met up with Alfio and the group for a walking tour of the town. He took us into The Cathedral of Saints Philip and James also known as The Sorrento Cathedral which is home to a series of captivating nativity scenes, called Presepios (the Latin work for crib). All very intricate, detailed, three dimensional scenes of everyday people, animals, buildings and angels flying above. We studied them for a long time! We were on our own until early evening when we met the group for a lively and entertaining gelato making demonstration. For dinner, we found an outdoor restaurant in Piazza Tasso and enjoyed their house specialty, vegetable lasagna.
Sidetrip to
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Day Ten
      We had a free day and had planned to take a boat out to the island of Capri for a walking tour but instead, we chose to walk all day sightseeing right in Sorrento. Some of the others in our group did take boat tours and the more adventurous visited the famous Blue Grotto. We strolled all over town, getting lost down crooked alleyways and looking into shops, many with beautiful artisan goods. One in particular had hand crafted chess sets, statues, Merano glass jewelry, inlaid wood furniture, ceramics and much more. The shop owners were very friendly and willing to ship whatever you wanted to have sent home. Sorrento is known for their exquisite inlaid wood furniture. There is a museum dedicated to this craft which you can visit. We also walked up to view the old mill ruins. These stone flour mills and a saw mill date back to the Middle Ages. The ruins are at the bottom of a ravine, which was formed by 2 rivers, and is now covered over with lush vegetation. The mills were abandoned sometime around the first of the 20th century. If you look carefully, you can still see the ancient stone steps leading down to the bottom of the ravine. The edge of town sits high above majestic Naples Bay and overlooks a marina, sunbathing areas and restaurant/bars situated down at the bottom of the cliff with gorgeous distant views of Capri. To get down to the water, you either take an elevator or hike a long, winding ramp. Lemon trees are definitely the theme in Sorrento. In the evening, we were driven on a private bus (with great Italian music) to the home of a local family. We were welcomed into their outdoor dining area and seated at one long table adjacent to their beautiful gardens. Luigi takes great pride in them. Teresa kept bringing out dishes. So many wonderful things she made for us with an emphasis on fresh vegetables, most from her garden, prepared in many different ways. Her lemon chicken was so good, we had to get her recipe. The grapes, which Luigi made a delicious red wine from, came from Vieste. Teresa’s Limoncello cake with a shot of her homemade Limoncello liqueur was an exquisite ending to a wonderful meal. Too much fun was had by all. Lots of singing and laughing on the bus on our way back to the hotel! That’s Amore!
Shopping in Sorrento – Scroll or use left and right arrows to see more images below...
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