Sorrento, Positano with the Amalfi Coast present any visitor with many beautiful scenarios, and wonderful pictures are just a teaser for the beauty a tourist can expect visiting these areas. It is so pleasant fo a traveller to visit this corner of the world which is so typical: in its restaurants you can enjoy very good fish at reasonable prices.
Throughout the centuries countless travellers, both Italians and foreigners, have visited Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast in search of its natural beauty spots and artistic treasures. Renowned men and women, famed poets, kings and queens, Russian Grand Dukes, German Princes and English lords, but also mere pilgrims; and even if the stay was short, upon departing each one of them took with him a heart filled with fond memories of this beautiful area. A full list of all these visitors would be endless: Boccaccio, Gregorovius, Longfellow, Ibsen, Oscar Wilde, Goethe, etc. Scholars who came in throngs from all Universities of Northen Europe, particularly in winter when the appeal of this venture was enhanced by the mild climate and the Mediterranean sun. But perhaps those who have fallen more deeply in love with Sorrento and Amalfi Coast, its beauty, its history, are anonymous visitors: though they have never written a word that will be handed down to posterity, except maybe a postcard mailed to friends, they have passed on by word of mouth the charm and the enchantment of this land giving it renown the world over. This area is blessed with some of the country’s most dramatic coastlines, a sprinkling of magical islands and a rich heritage in ancient ruins. Campania’s jewels are concentrated in a comparatively small area around Naples. In the shadow of Mt Vesuvius lie the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, Roman cities extinguished by the volcano and so preserved for posterity. To the South You find the natural beauty of the Sorrento Peninsula and Amalfi Coast, and the islands in the Bay of Naples, particularly Capri. The 50-Km stretch of coastline from Sorrento to Salerno is one of the most beautiful in Europe. A narrow asphalt ribbon bends and winds along cliffs that drop into crystal-clear blue waters, connecting the beautiful towns of Positano, Amalfi and the hillside village of Ravello, and moreover the towns of Atrani, Minori and Maiori, to finish in the villages of Cetara and Vietri sul Mare. The Sorrento Peninsula is ideal for anyone searching for a splendid holiday and magnificent views. The surprises of this vibrant area are limitless.
Back in 1884, Cook’s tourist’s Handbook to Southern Italy noted soberly that Sorrento, birthplace of the great 16th-century poet Torquato Tasso, ‘is a good stopping place’, adding that the surrounding ravines make for charming walks ‘especially in the evening, when they have such a weirdness and gloominess, that the people light the lamps in the oratories perched on the rocks, to keep away hobgoblins and foul fiends’. The foul fiends have long since been replaced by reliable hordes of British and German tourists, who, it appears, concur with Cook’s century-old assessment. A pleasant town, Sorrento is handy for Capri (20 minutes away) and tha Amalfi coast. The distance from Pompeii is 30 minutes away by train. To the ancient Greeks, the area around Sorrento was the Temple of the Sirens. Sailors of antiquity were powerless to resist the beautiful song of these maidens, half women and half fish, who without fail would lure them and their vessels to their doom on reefs. Homer’s Odysseus (Ulysses) was determined to hear the other-wordly melodies, and so strapped himself to the mast of his ship as he sailed past the fatal place.
Exuding a rather Moorish flavour, Positano is the most picturesque of the coast towns, and some might think the most precious, with its cute houses and expensive shops. Positano is virtually divided in two by the cliff bearing the Torre Trasita tower. West is the smaller and more pleasant Spiaggia del Fornillo beach area and the less expensive side of the town, and east is the Spiaggia Grande, which gives way to the village centre. Navigating is easy, if steep. Via G. Marconi, part of the Amalfitana coast road, runs north around and above the town, which itself cascades inside this fold in the mountain down to the water. The one-way Viale Pasitea winds down off Via G. Marconi from the west to the centre, and changes name to Via Cristoforo Colombo as it climbs back up to the main road on the east side.