Sorrento is a beautiful town perched on a cliff high above the sea with views of Vesuvius and the islands in the Bay of Naples . Use this website to help you plan a visit to this elegant southern Italian resort and find your way to the best beaches and some lovely villages and towns along the Sorrentine peninsula that are perhaps less well known to tourists.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Enjoy Mediterranean flavours at family run Zi’ntonio

Zi'intonio in Via Luigi de Maio
One of my favourite restaurants in Sorrento that I return to year after year is Ristorante Pizzeria Zi’ntonio just off Piazza Tasso.
I love to relax in the air conditioned interior over lunch while the sun is at its hottest outside. The walls are covered with hand painted ceramic tiles from Vietri sul Mare on the Amalfi coast, which contributes to the cool atmosphere.
On the ground floor the tiles create the setting of a pergola in a vineyard while upstairs they represent the coastline of Sorrento, as seen from out in the Bay of Naples.
While you wait for your meal the waiters will bring you savoury snacks and freshly baked strips of pizza dough to nibble.
There is a comprehensive menu of antipasti, pasta and risotto and fish and meat dishes as well as an extensive pizza list. These are cooked to order in a traditional wood oven.
There are plenty of wines from Campania and further afield and if you choose a white wine it is always served beautifully chilled.
Hand-painted ceramic tiles adorn the walls of Zi'intonio
Zi’ntonio (Uncle Tony) is run by Mariano and Michela and members of their family. Many of the waiters have been on the staff for years, which helps to provide a homely and welcoming atmosphere.
The restaurant opened in 1960 in Via Sant’Antonino and moved to its present home in Via Luigi De Maio in 1975. Over the years it has been recommended by the Michelin Guide, the Veronelli Guide and the Rick Steves guide.
As you would expect, there is an abundance of Mediterranean dishes on the menu. My personal favourite is Risotto alla Pescatora (seafood risotto) which I think is complemented perfectly by a crisp, white Falanghina wine from Campania. Salute e Buon Appetito!

How to find Ristorante Pizzeria Zi’ntonio

Leave Piazza Tasso at the corner with Via San Cesareo and walk down Via Luigi De Maio in the direction of Piazza Sant’Antonino. You will find the restaurant about half way down on the right.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Enjoy a perfect day out in Positano

Positano: the classic view from
Via Cristoforo Colombo
You can visit one of the most glamorous towns of the Amalfi coast, Positano, in an easy day trip from Sorrento.

Positano’s villas, shops and hotels spill down the hillside to the beach, so that seen from further round the bay, the resort resembles a cascade of pink, cream and yellow houses.

The town became fashionable with artists and writers after the Second World War and tourists soon flocked to follow in their footsteps.

Although the stylish clothes in the boutiques are expensive and the town can be crowded in high summer, nothing can spoil the magnificent views or the quaint architecture, which will never change.

How to get to Positano

You can choose to arrive by sea, sailing round Punta della Campanella at the tip of the Sorrentine peninsula, or travel to Positano by road, negotiating the twists and turns of the famous Amalfi drive.
If you choose the sea route, there are hydrofoils to Positano every couple of hours leaving from Marina Piccola, Sorrento’s port.
The journey will give you a good view of Punta della Campanella, with its Saracen look out tower perched on the end, and you will sail close to the three small islands known as Li Galli that lie just off the coast of Positano in the gulf of Salerno.
You will also have the advantage of arriving right on the sea front and have easy access to the beach and some of the best restaurants in the resort.
If you decide to travel by road, the easiest way is to catch a SITA bus, an air conditioned coach, from outside the railway station in Sorrento. The driver will be used to negotiating the hair pin bends and you can just sit back and enjoy the views of the sea far below.
The bus will descend a little way into the town and drop you on Via Guglielmo Marconi -- there are stops at the top of Viale Pasitea and Via Cristoforo Colombo -- before carrying on in the direction of Amalfi.
Positano from the sea with the church of
Santa Maria Assunta in the foreground
You can make the rest of the descent on foot. Both the Viale Pasitea and the much shorter Via Cristoforo Colombo lead eventually to the pedestrian-only Via dei Mulini, along which you pass bars, fascinating shops and the gardens of private villas before you reach the church of Santa Maria Assunta, with its decorative green, yellow and blue cupola. From there it is a short walk to the beach and the bars and restaurants.
Walking back up to the road to catch the bus back to Sorrento takes longer as it is a steep climb, although there is also a small orange-coloured local bus that stops near the top of Via dei Mulini and can take you back to Via Guglielmo Marconi and the SITA bus stop.
If you decide to take your own car and attempt the Amalfi drive, be prepared to have to park some way out of the town.

Boat trips

While in Positano you can hire a boat to explore the caves along the coast or to go out to Li Galli, the legendary home of the Sirens. The largest of the three islands, Gallo Lungo, was once the summer home of ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, but it is now owned by a local business consortium. The other two islands have never been inhabited.

You can also admire the islands from a distance, while sitting at a table enjoying a meal at one of the excellent restaurants on Positano’s sea front.