In the first of a 2-part series (read second part), newly-married Laura Hall explains why Sorrento got her vote when it came to the all-important honeymoon…
Ah, the honeymoon. The king of holidays. The one time it’s perfectly acceptable, hell expected, for you to drink Champagne like its Evian, pay top dollar for posh, fiddly looking meals that wouldn’t fill a 4-year-old, and generally skip about like you’re the lead in a Richard Curtis rom-com.
Why Sorrento?, was the question a lot of people asked when we told them (the same people who subscribe to the belief a honeymoon isn’t a honeymoon without white sands, holiday-brochure palms and pina coladas within three flips of a flop).
I could have played the Romeo and Juliet card here but, no, fact is we’d chosen Italy because it promised good food (and, thank the Lord, big portions), nice plonk, and good weather. And we’d gone for Sorrento in particular because New Husband can’t sit still for more than 60 seconds and the place has a ridiculous amount of stuff on its doorstep. So I’ll spare you the, er, finer details of the honeymoon and, instead, present you with 5 great reasons to visit Sorrento – starting with the Amalfi Coast’s big 3…
The hillside town of Positano is ridiculously pretty. Appropriately, it seems to have based its colour scheme on a carton of confetti – the houses and shops come in pastel pinks, purples, blues and greens. And it’s not a case of style over substance here either. As you navigate the cobbled paths that slope down to the sea, you find yourself tripping over cubbyhole cafes, boutiques, and upmarket souvenir shops that go way beyond the ubiquitous bottle of limoncello.
The trick with this place, though, is to try and stand off it if you can – when you’re in the warren of lanes you can’t really appreciate it fully. But get a bit of height and you get a view like this…
We spent about half a day in Positano then headed on to Amalfi. Now, I say this lightly, as if we’d nipped from Milton Keynes to Luton on the M1. Oh no. Remember, this is the Amalfi Coast we’re talking about – one of the most spectacular coastal drives on the planet. The narrow road snakes along the coast with enough hairpin bends to convince you that lunch is something best left for your final destination. And the scenery is something else. To the left, you’ve got big purple puffs of bougainvillea and trees buckling under the weight of lemons the size of rugby balls. To the right, you’ve got cliffs that could inspire Wuthering Heights, the sequel, and waters with more sparkle than the Queen’s jubilee gems.
And the town of Amalfi – which let’s face it, has a tough act to follow after those opening credits – didn’t disappoint. Great little specialist shops, plenty of pavement cafes, a lovely little harbour, I could go on. And as for New Husband, it was love at first sight… of the cathedral, that is. It’s black and white-striped, which, when you’re a Newcastle supporter, is enough to make a grown man weep. I left him to worship at the altar of this giant homage to his home team, while I gave this cubbyhole stationery shop my full attention…
Mention Ravello to anyone who’s been there and their response will go something like ‘Oh my GOD. Amazing, just beautiful…[big wistful sigh]…amazing’. So off we went, armed with a picnic and some very high hopes. And yep, we can confirm – the rumours are true, it’s beautiful. It’s one of those towns that looks as if it found an era and a pace of life it was quite happy in, then sat back and had a coffee while the rest of the world hurtled headlong into the 21st-century.
Our favourite place for a wander was the enchanting Villa Rufolo, whose terrace garden was loved by the composer, Wagner. It’s here you’ll find what can best be described as the World’s Most Photographed Tree, the one that crops up EVERY time Ravello is mentioned in a guidebook. So I, um, took a photo…
And then I took this one, which I think is more interesting…
Make sure you catch Honeymooning in Sorrento – Part 2, where Laura ticks off the island of Ischia and the city of Rome.
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Author: Laura Hall
Published: June 18, 2012
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