25 Jun We Explore The Luxury Gems Of Campania, Italy
A trip to discover the gems of Campania is thoroughly recommended as I took a special tour to sample luxury in Sorrento, Capri and Ischia. A long weekend or a spontaneous getaway is ideal for enjoying everything on offer from these three splendid locations living both nature and the sea to its fullest.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Italy hence I was looking forward to being reacquainted once more with this beautiful destination. My Campania adventure began in Sorrento, a coastal town located in the south-western region of Italy, adjoining the Bay of Naples. The clifftops separate the town from the hustle and bustle of the busy marina’s and the town centre is a warren of narrow streets, alleyways, old shops, churches, inviting café’s, bars and restaurants.
My home for the next few days is the charming Grand Hotel Royal which is located a stone’s throw away from the Museo Correale Terranove and a short walk from the town centre of Sorrento. The hotel is ideally positioned with fantastic views of the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius and I was impressed by the wonderful panoramic sea view from my bedroom that opened out onto a spacious terrace area. Bright, warm and traditional décor was the theme running through my generous sized room furnished with a comfy double bed and classic Italian wooden furniture. The bathroom area was finished in a rich Italian marble with the choice of a separate bathtub and shower area.
A delightful lunch followed at Fauno Bar based in Piazza Tasso which is the main square of Sorrento. A perfect blend of delicious food and an opportunity to watch the world go by at your leisure makes this eaterie a firm favourite with the locals. I also thoroughly recommend the chicken and cheese Parma ham dish which was divine. After lunch, I embarked upon a gentle walk around the town centre to further explore the grace and elegance Sorrento is so well known for.
The day had flown by and I was now witnessing Sorrento by night whilst dining at the exquisite O’Parruchiano restaurant with outdoor seating surrounded by olive groves and lemon trees. I simply couldn’t resist the offer from my waiter Nello of sampling some traditional Cannelloni which O’Parruchiano restaurant was famous for inventing. Needless to say, my Cannelloni dish was flavoursome and very satisfying indeed. My meal ended with a dreamy hot chocolate drink which was a great way to end the day. I was now looking forward to the next few days ahead discovering more of Sorrento and its fascinating surrounding areas.
A bright and sunny new day welcomed the start of my Amalfi Coast tour and the views I witnessed along the long winding roads were magnificent. It’s evident to see why UNESCO has deemed the Amalfi Coast to be a fine example of the Mediterranean landscape. This incredible stretch of road combines dazzling vertical scenery, coastal mountains that plunge into the sea, aligned with picturesque towns such as Positano and Ravello which are both well worth a visit to view their many churches and statuesque villas.
Whilst in Amalfi, I stopped off for lunch at the pretty restaurant Da Gemma Trattoria which is located just off the main busy street in Amalfi. This hidden gem allows you the opportunity to enjoy an appetising lunch amongst a peaceful and serene ambience whilst watching the hectic stream of tourists and locals rush by. I was served a tasty smoked mozzarella, grilled in lemon leaves, fried pizzetta and culatello ham for my starters. A wholesome home-made ravioli filled with goat’s cheese served with fresh cherry tomatoes and basil followed for my main course which I enjoyed immensely. My journey back to Sorrento was a quiet affair as I slept in the car due to sheer exhaustion of the hills and many steps I climbed whilst observing the quaint and pretty areas of Positano and Ravello and also being substantially full from a hearty lunch too.
I was now midway through my Italian experience and I was eagerly awaiting my trip to the famous and glamorous Capri island. After a 20 minute crossing from Sorrento to Capri via Hydrofoil, I could tell this small but perfectly formed haven attracts so many tourists who seem to be seduced by the high-end hotels, boutique designer shops, handmade leather sandals, right through to the elegant yachts aligned on the cove-studded coastline, cool restaurants, bars, cafe’s, limitless limoncello and its famous Blue Grotto. In short, Capri is absolutely stunning and she knows it. Whilst travelling around Capri I discover Anacapri which is a petite area located in the hilltops of the island. An amazing lunch was prepared at the La Terrazza di Lucullo which is situated in the marvellous Cesar Augustus Hotel, a boutique outpost blessed with striking and unspoilt sea views from the island.
I really enjoyed my time in Capri and thoroughly recommend a day visit to this slice of Italian sophistication.
Sorrento has been a real joy to explore and it was fitting to end this part of my tour at II Buco for my final supper. II Buco is a Michelin star restaurant located in the very heart of Sorrento, set within a backdrop of an old monastery and serves outstanding and authentic Italian cuisine, it really was a pleasure to dine there and I thoroughly recommend a visit.
My final stop of this enchanting Italian trail is Ischia which is a volcanic island with jaw-dropping views. It’s also the largest and most developed of the islands in the Bay of Naples. My residence whilst in Ischia is the Grand Hotel Punta Molino which is a fetching property set amongst its own sandy bay and is ideally located and a short stroll from the busy centre of Ischia. My room is bright, airy and furnished in a deep Mediterranean finish with Vietri hand-painted tiles. A cosy bathroom area with all the necessary amenities finish off the room nicely.
Whilst travelling around Ischia I noticed the many hot thermal spas, well-tended landscaped gardens, spa parks, forests, sandy beaches and pretty little towns too. Fish is the speciality dish of the island but there are also a variety of other Italian favourite dishes to choose from too which should please all food enthusiasts. Ischia also only attracts a small fraction of the day trippers that head to its busy neighbour Capri from Naples during the summer months. However, I believe this is an advantage as those who venture to Ischia can enjoy the understated allure of this amiable island without the busy crowds spoiling the view. A must visit in Ischia is the prominent medieval Aragonese Castle, packed with deep history and boasts some of the most glorious views too. For those looking for something a little closer to ground then I recommend a visit to the enchanted Giardini La Mortella for a special garden tour.
The day soon turns to night and I visit Coquille, a very stylish and contemporary lounge bar with a lovely restaurant located in town. The décor is flush with a variety of brilliant shades of white that sparkle through the flowing floor to ceiling curtains and drapes. The furniture resembles the look and feel of a high-end beach club in St.Tropez and the hip and trendy crowd in attendance sipped on cocktails to the backdrop of soothing soulful jazz music.
Dinner was a real treat at Da Bellezza restaurant which is located in Ischia port. I was served with a selection of impressive authentic homemade dishes which were heavenly. I loved the tasty and moreish bruschetta, topped with lashings of chopped tomatoes, peppers and spices. I also got the pleasure to meet Grandma Louisa who prepared my meal from scratch in the busy kitchen which was a real delight.
After dinner, I took a short stroll to the port where the sublime yachts are moored and all the bustling bars and nightlife merge. I wandered into Porto 51 which is a dashing bar and a family run business by three brothers and their sister that seems to be the hotspot everyone wants to visit. A gorgeous sophisticated group of people combined with a passionate DJ that kept the dance floor moving with uptempo floor fillers and classic crowd pleasers such as Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ set the tone for a truly magical evening.
My Italian tour of Sorrento, Capri and Ischia was nothing short of first class from start to finish and I enjoyed the outstanding landscapes, amazing sea views, gorgeous gastronomy, rich history and electric nightlife to name but a few things on offer during my stay. Sorrento really is an excellent location to be based in order to coordinate trips to neighbouring islands for further exploration through this sensational part of Italy.
In short, this Italian tour is perfect for a couple seeking a romantic long weekend, a family getaway or a solo explorer. I am already planning my return visit to this first-rate part of Italy real soon.