Sorrento is a coastal town facing the Bay of Naples, Mount Vesuvius and it is also known as the gateway to the Amalfi coast. Perched atop cliffs that separate the town from its busy marinas, it’s known for sweeping water views and Piazza Tasso, a cafe-lined square. The historic center is a warren of narrow alleys that’s home to the Chiesa di San Francesco, a 14th-century church with a tranquil cloister. Sorrento makes a good base for exploring the region’s highlights: Pompeii, good food and the famous lemon groves that are the base of great Limoncello.

Pompeii – going back in history

The city of Pompeii was an ancient Roman city near modern Naples and a 45-minute drive from Sorrento. Pompeii was mostly destroyed and buried under 4 to 6 m of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The eruption destroyed the city, killing its inhabitants and burying it under tons of ash. The objects that lay beneath the city have been well preserved for centuries because of the lack of air and moisture. These artifacts provide an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city during the Pax Romana. During the excavation, plaster was used to fill in the voids in the ash layers that once held human bodies. This allowed one to see the exact position the person was in when he or she died. Pompeii is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is an absolute must-do. You can find more pictures here.

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Sorrento – an epicurean heaven

Sorrento is a foodie heaven with plenty of restaurants, local eateries, family owned restaurants and markets to stroll around and taste local specialties such as gnocchi, buffalo mozzarella, cured meats, pastries and gelato. Sorrento is also the home of the famous Sorrento Lemon, a high-quality lemon which is the base for amazing Limoncello. Limoncello of Sorrento is one of the typical products of the gastronomic culture of the Campania region. Tradition has it that, in the early twentieth century, the great families of Sorrento never failed to offer their distinguished guests a taste of Limoncello, the liqueur produced at home using the finest lemons from the family lemon grove. Want to know more about Limoncello? Read the article here.

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My top picks in the region:

Restaurant Acqu’e Sale

They serve the best pizza in Sorrento! The chef at Acqu’e Sale only uses quality ingredients of the region that are biologically grown. Don’t be deceived by the exterior, because the food is delicious and the staff is great.

Zi’Ntonio Restaurant

The Zi’Ntonio Restaurant is located in the heart of Sorrento, behind the Piazza Tasso. At Zi’Ntonio you can expect an almost perfect Italian night out with loud waiters and scrumptious food. Don’t forget to take a look at the wine list, it’s quite extensive and the prices are great!

Relais Blu Restaurant

Expect fine dining in this Michelin star restaurant. Enjoy an aperitif on the terrace with amazing views over Capri. The cuisine of Relais Blu combines traditional and contemporary dishes by the hand of Roberto Allocca who was elected best chef of Italy in 2011.