Just an hour south of Naples, at the heart of the Amalfi area, Sorrento, with its friendly people, rich history, shop and café-lined streets and interesting alleys, is the perfect base for exploring the area. We found inexpensive pashminas to help keep warm. Olive oil is cheap and you’ll find everything lemony from candles and lotions to football sized lemons and, of course, the local liquor limoncella.
Even in February, the lemon and orange trees were dripping with fruit. You may think you’re seeing things if you spot lemons growing on an orange tree. You’re not! Sometimes farmers will graft seedlings on to established trees in order to produce fruit more quickly. Groves of olive trees are everywhere, with nets rolled up, ready to spread out again to gather next season’s harvest.
We spent a day exploring the Amalfi coast. As we wound along State Road 163, teetering high up on the edge of the sheer cliffs, I was mesmerized with the stunning sea view at every corner. We passed small villages with houses clinging to the steep slopes. Positano, with its narrow steeped alleys, beckons you down to the shops to browse among the local crafts, beachwear, bags and even sandals made for you while you wait!
My favourite stop was the serene and charming town of Ravello. At every corner, hides another gem. We discovered secret gardens and ancient villas and always the sparkling sea down below. Villa Rufolo is the most enchanting blend of old buildings and exquisite gardens, that somehow fills you with maybe the same tranquillity that inspired Wagner and DH Lawrence to compose some of their finest works. Every summer a stage is built out over the cliff for the orchestra to perform their tribute to Wagner. As we explored the once very much lived in Villa Rufolo, the distant strains of Wagner taunted us from behind closed doors.