Italy Honeymoon Packages

Tips and advise for day trips from Sorrento by Road to Travel Inc.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The best museums to visit in Naples

Apart from seriously good pizza, sunshine, great beaches and its authentic somewhat chaotic atmosphere, Naples has many excellent museums to visit on a day trip from Sorrento or while staying in the city.

View of Naples from Certosa di San Martino
National Archaeological Museum of Naples

Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli is one of the best not only in Italy but also in the world. Taking it all in on a short visit can be rather overwhelming, so you might want to focus only on certain sections. Established by King Charles VII in the 18th century the museum has impressive collections of Greek and Roman antiquities with many artefacts from the nearby excavations at Pompeii and Herculaneum. The main highlights include the giant Toro Farnese sculpture carved from an enormous single block of marble in the 3rd century AD, a beautiful colossal statue of Hercules, the 20-sq-metre mosaic from Pompei depicting the battle of Alexander against Darius and splendid Roman frescoes.

Toro Farnese
National Museum and Galleries of Capodimonte

One of the largest museums in Italy, it houses stunning collections of Italian painting from the 13th-17th centuries, collections of arms, armour, gold- and silverwork. Once a grand royal residence, the palace is furnished with opulent antique furniture. You can spend hours here admiring works by Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Vasari, El Greco and other masters.

National Museum of San Martino
National Museum of San Martino

Housed in the 14th century monastery complex of Certosa di San Martino on the Vomero Hill, the museum boasts a fascinating collection of nativity scenes (“presepi” in Italian) with the largest containing over 700 miniature elements as well as 70 halls filled with priceless paintings and sculptures from the 13th to 19th centuries. The building of the monastery is decorated with stunning mosaics, frescoes, woodcarvings creating a beautiful setting for the museum’s collections. You can chill out in the monastery’s courtyard and admire spectacular views over the city and Bay of Naples from the terraced garden.

Photos via Flickr by: Paolo della Gatta, Heleen Kwant, Jules Joseph.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The most beautiful beaches near Sorrento

When you are done with sightseeing in Sorrento and it is sizzling hot, head to the beach. Although there are only a few beaches in the city itself, there are plenty of them within a short drive. Pebbly, rocky, sandy, isolated and quiet or lined up with bars and restaurants, there is a beach for all tastes near Sorrento. To fire your imagination and send you packing for an Italian holiday, here are just a few beautiful spots for sunbathing near Sorrento.

 Marina Piccola and Marina Grande

Just a few steps from the old town of Sorrento, Marina Piccola can be reached on foot or by a lift. Lazing in the sun on volcanic sand you can admire the magnificent views over the Gulf of Naples. There are restaurants, bars, showers and a great buzz of a seaside resort. At Marina Grande, a 15-minute walk from the city centre, you can watch local fishermen going on their daily business.

Marina Piccola
Bagni della Regina Giovanna 

Reachable on foot from Capo di Sorrento, this rocky beach is famous for its beautiful settings. According to a local legend, the Queen Joan of Anjou, after frolicking with her lovers here, threw them off the rocks. The ruins of a Roman villa dating back to the 1st century BC add to the location’s charms. 

Cala di Puolo

Locals love this beach located only a few kilometres from the centre of Sorrento. You can hire a sun lounger, have a pizza in one of the lovely beach restaurants or sip a cocktail admiring the formidable Mount Vesuvius at a distance.

Marina Grande
Cala di Mitigliano

Located a little further along the coast, this pebbly beach is famous for its beauty and views of Capri. To reach the beach you have to walk for 30 minutes along a trail running through olive groves and Mediterranean shrubs or you can hire a boat in the port of Marina della Lobra.

Photos via Flickr by: Harvey Barrison, Michele Vascellari, S J Pinkney.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

A day in Salerno

A short drive from the Amalfi Coast, Salerno is a great destination for a day trip. In the course of history, Salerno has seen it all: plagues, earthquakes, invasions. Allied bombings in 1943 destroyed most of the city but there are still many delightful historic attractions for curious travellers.

The old part of Salerno is dominated by the beautiful 11th century Cathedral of San Matteo that has been restored several times. In the crypt, you can see the tomb of the Evangelist Matthew, one of the twelve apostles, and beautiful original mosaics on the floor and choir. Follow the narrow winding cobblestoned streets to explore the beautiful historic centre, among the best preserved in Italy, with charming restaurants, chic boutiques and stunning old palaces. 

On a hot summer day, head to the Giardino della Minerva, a garden hidden between old palazzi. One of the first botanic gardens in Europe, in Middle Ages, it was an important centre for cultivating medicinal plants. From the garden’s terraces you can admire stupendous view over the Bay of Salerno.

Cathedral of Salerno
Another famous landmark is the Arechi Castle (Castello di Arechi) that today is used as an exhibition and conference centre. From here, you can admire the majestic views of the city, Amalfi Coast and the Gulf of Salerno.

Salerno is famous for its splendid seaside promenade lined with palm trees and stretching for five miles. Locals come here for the customary passeggiata, a long stroll before dinner, so you can join them to people watch and gape at spectacular mountain views. 

Salerno Promenade
You will find many good restaurants that serve delicious traditional dishes in the historic part of Salerno. II Vicolo delle Neve, one of the oldest restaurants in the city apart from excellent pizza serves excellent local specialties such as pasta e fagioli with lard, ciambotta stew, baccalà fish with potatoes and many others.

Photos via Flickr by: Andrey Belenko, Chiara Marra, Pietro Valocchi.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The best local dishes to try in Sorrento

It is not only the stunning views over the Bay of Naples, Mount Vesuvius and the Amalfi Drive that you will remember after visiting Sorrento. One of the things that you will find even harder to forget is the local cuisine. The food alone is a good reason to visit this corner of Italy. Simple tasty dishes of Sorrento are based on the ingredients that the fertile land of the Amalfi coast and the sea provide: olive oil, citrus fruits, tomatoes, wine and fresh seafood. Try some of these traditional dishes in good local restaurants and trattorie prepared by chefs who often use recipes passed from generation to generation.   

Spaghetti con le noci

Spaghetti pasta is tossed in a sauté mix of olive oil, garlic, walnuts and anchovies. Sorrento is famous for its walnuts (noci di Sorrento) that have been cultivated here since ancient times. This dish tastes the best when made with Sorrento walnuts.

Seppie ripiene alla sorrentina

Stuffed calamari is one of many local seafood based recipes that has been perfected through generations. The calamari are stuffed with a mix of eggs, parmigiano cheese, mozzarella and raisins and cooked over a low flame with tomatoes. Delicious!

Gnocchi alla sorrentina

This simple pasta dish is one of the most famous in Italy. The soft gnocchi are dressed with generous amounts of local oil and served with tomato sauce, pieces of local fiordilatte mozzarella, parmigiano and fresh basil.

Gnocchi alla sorrentina
Saltimbocca alla sorrentina

Meat lovers will appreciate this exquisite veal-based dish. Thin meat slices are oven cooked with prosciutto ham, tomato sauce and mozzarella. You can find saltimbocca in many eateries served as a main course or as fast food in a panino.

Babà al limoncello

In Sorrento the famous Neapoletan cakes babà is given a local twist. Instead of rum, these mouthwatering spongy cakes are soaked in limoncello, a liqueur made with locally-grown fragrant lemons. 

Photos by: Harvey Barrison/Flickr, Gnocchi alla sorrentina/Facebook

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Visiting the ancient city of Herculaneum

You can be forgiven for thinking that there is nothing better than soaking up “la dolce vita” in Sorrento. However, in case you decide to squeeze in some cultural activities, there is plenty to do. How about heading to the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum, for example?

Overshadowed by its bigger and more famous neighbour Pompeii, Herculaneum is better in many aspects. There are no overpriced tacky souvenir kiosks at the entrance, no lines to the ticket office and it can be explored in 2-3 hours.

In AD 79, a volcanic eruption of Vesuvius destroyed several cities around it including Herculaneum and Pompeii. Being only 4 miles from the volcano, Herculaneum was covered with a cloud of poisonous gas and buried under almost 60 feet of boiling lava. The volcanic materials solidified with time preserving the city almost intact. Although the story and fate of Herculaneum was always known to historians, it was only rediscovered in 1709 when a local farmer, while digging a well, found pieces of coloured glass where, as it turned out later, the Roman theatre once stood. A significant part of the ancient city remains underground, however, the parts that are visible are fascinating.

Frescoes in Herculaneum
Compared to Pompeii, Herculaneum has more remarkably well preserved features such as including wooden beams, furniture and upper floors in the houses. When the city’s most luxurious building, the Villa of the Papyri, was excavated, the archaeologist found numerous papyrus scrolls still stacked on the shelves of its library. Today, they are stored in the National Library in Naples and some of them have been scanned with infrared rays and studied.

Wall decor in Herculaneum
Many houses in Herculaneum have spectacular wall and floor mosaics. House 22 has a beautiful formal dining room, triclinium, and a nymphaeum grotto decorated with colourful mosaics. The thermae bath house offers another interesting glimpse in the ancient Roman city’s past where you can see a few surviving precious works of art and even original charred wooden steps.

Photos via Flickr by: Andrew Fogg, Andy Hay, Chris Ruggles.