Our hotel in Sorrento was family owned. The mother had recently passed but her sons were keeping the hotel and restaurant business going. There were rooms facing the sea and some facing the olive groves.
We learned that olives are harvested in September and are best if they are allowed to ripen and fall naturally. Some farmers shake their trees to speed up the harvest. In Italy, only the first squeeze, called extra virgin, is considered worthy.
We visited a family farm where the goal is to grow crops to feed the animals to produce milk to make mozzarella, by hand, every single day.
We enjoyed a farm fresh dinner that included pizza made with fresh mozzarella.
Sorrento lemons are grown to produce another product sold in abundance – limoncello.
We have enjoyed limoncello for years (and have even made our own) so we were excited to try authentic limoncello in Italy!
What we found was that authentic Italian limoncello was stronger, almost harsher, compared to what we enjoy. However, there was a limoncello cream version that we liked very much.
Sorrento’s economy is tourism based. Tourism started here in the late 1800s when the British Grand Tour became popular. Sorrento was, and is, a great location for visiting the Amalfi coast, Pompeii and the Isle of Capri.
We too visited the Isle of Capri! This statue welcomes visitors arriving by sea.
We came to Capri on a boat similar to this large one. These are port views.
Capri is six square miles, mostly mountainous. The population of 13,000 live in a small area. Capri gets water and power from the mainland using infrastructure under the sea.
We rode the funicular, built from 1904-1907, from sea level up to part of the city that overlooks the sea.
The goal is to keep the isle authentic, thus no new buildings have been erected since the 1950s. Improvements and changes can be made inside but the outside must stay the same.
The woman who owned La Parisienne clothing store invented what we know as capri pants after watching the fishermen bringing in their catch at the port. We were told that the first famous person to wear capri pants was Jacqueline Kennedy after seeing them in 1962.
The Santo Stefano church is from the seventeenth century and is dedicated to Saint Stephen. In the Book of Acts, Stephen was one of seven deacons appointed by the apostles to care for the poor. He was the first Christian martyr.
During WWII, Eisenhower and Churchill met in a peach colored house in the distance.
Because of its location and beauty, the Roman Emperor Tiberius ruled from Capri for eleven years. He sent smoke signals to Rome from the top of the mountains. Tiberius had twelve villas on the island.
Caesar Augustus also had a villa and called Capri the “sweet place of doing nothing.” The commemorative Gardens of Augusta are named in his honor.
In the gardens we were above a former monastery, that was once used as a prison, that is now a high school.
Another building repurposed over time was a sanatarium that is now one of the main hotels on the island.
Even dogs can find a good drink on Capri!
One of the most famous things to see on Capri is the Blue Grotto, a dark cavern where the sea shines electric blue. It is so lovely that Tiberius had one of his villas built above it. Alas, we chose to see more of Capri from land and sea rather than focusing on just that one site.
After our land tour and wanderings on the island we took a boat tour around the east side.
This is the Arco Natural, a natural arch of limestone.
The inlet waters were very clear!
This was another boat doing our same tour.
We saw a glimpses of the little blue grotto. We’d love to return someday and see the big one!
Capri was one of Randy’s two favorite places on this trip. He agrees with Caesar Augustus that living here would be great since it is the “sweet place of doing nothing.” Sounds about right!