Buongiorno! Today it is my pleasure to welcome you to lovely Sorrento, the Jewel of the Amalfi Coast. (Another jewel!) They call this area a coast, because that’s all you do… coast. OMG, what a relaxing place to park one’s fedora! The gorgeous town of Sorrento is built upon the Tufa Terrace, a limestone cliff that overlooks the Bay of Naples. The town dates back to around 400 BC, and was founded by the Phoenicians. (Who might be related to the Venetians or their medically advanced cousins, the Physicians.) In any case, it fell into Roman hands during the 1st century BC, prospering until around 79 AD, when there was a slight eruption of some kind near a place called Pompeii. (Sooner or later I have to use my lava lamp joke!)
By the way, our ship dropped anchor VERY close to Mt. Vesuvius, which is the only active volcano on the mainland of Europe. (Lucky me) From here it is an easy trip to the ruins of Pompeii or Herculaneum, which are both fascinating. If one wishes to keep “coasting,” they could also go to Capri and visit the famous Blue Grotto. (Or the poorer spot called the Blue Ghetto) Capri was once used as a weekend retreat for the Roman emperors Augustus, Tiberius, and their active Senate colleague, Stimulus.
For those of you who like to keep count, Mt. Vesuvius has had major eruptions in 1631, 1794, 1906, 1929, and 1944. During those times, La Dolce Vita became La Leaving Pronto. Despite the (semi) frequent eruptions, Sorrento was invaded and/or occupied by the Goths, Byzantines, and Normans. (That guy Norman really got around.) The Amalfi Peninsula finally became part of Italy in 1860 — just in time to became a tourist mecca.
So what makes this area so special? Well, for one thing, it’s perched upon the Tyrrhenian Sea, a lovely body of water. And speaking of bodies… Naples is the birthplace of Sophia Loren. Naples is also the birthplace of pizza. Those wonderful folks have given the world two hot dishes! Other notable attractions include a host of churches, museums, and high-end shops. This is the place to come if you’re looking for embroidered works or wood-inlaid boxes.
As a former master diver and certified water baby, I made a bee line for Via Marina Grande (below the cliffs) and rented a boat for the day. The wife and I loaded up on some life-saving essentials (wine, cheese, and bread) and set out for a lengthy boat ride to Positano. Naturally, we never reached our destination. Why? Because our captain (me) kept stopping in every little bay on the coast. After we dropped anchor, I went for a swim, which took some time. (The hard part was climbing back into the boat without spilling any Chianti.)
If there’s any prettier place on earth than the Amalfi Coast, I haven’t seen it. The combination of tall limestone cliffs, crystal clear water, and that heavenly Italian sun are simply mind-boggling. (Even without wine!) And speaking of wine, we returned to Sorrento before it got dark and joined some lovely folks for dinner at a place called La Basilica Ristorante. As the name implies, the restaurant is adjacent to a beautiful old church. Mama mia, what pasta!
Before I close today, I’d like to wish all of my Jewish blog followers a most Happy Hanukkah. If you wish to assure a spot in heaven, you might want to purchase 8 copies of my new book, TURBULENT TIMES. (One copy for each night of Hanukkah.) As you know, I have friends in high places, and I would be more than willing to put in a good word for you. (My Christian blog followers can skip purgatory for 6 books!) Think about it. That’s all I’m asking.
Finally, like many of you, I was very saddened to learn about the passing of our former President, George H.W. Bush. I had some minor dealings with the Bush family during my early days in Texas, and I will always think of them fondly. As an amateur historian, I can almost guarantee that history will judge Mr. Bush in a very good light. R.I.P. Mr. President… and thank you for your service.
Well, if you have absolutely nothing else to do, you can scroll down and take a peek at my photographs of Sorrento. (There are several nude shots.) Just kidding, I forgot to pack my telescopic lens! (No jokes, please!)
Have a wonderful and safe week! Love to all,