Honors Italy: The Grand Tour - Sorrento Region and Capri - Days 7 & 8

View from Piazza Tasso in Sorrento
View from room of Hotel Giosue al Mare

After departing from Pompeii, our tour continued to the Sorrento region of Italy, known for its high cliffs, lemon groves and views of the Gulf of Naples.  As I looked at our itinerary before we departed, I realized that this would be a more relaxing, laid back portion of the trip and that this is exactly what we would need after fast-paced visits of Venice and Florence and before our even faster-paced visit of Rome.  On our way to Sorrento, Antonio stopped along one of these cliffs so we could exit the bus and take pictures of Naples. As we arrived in the Sorrento, we were taken to the town center for individual exploration and shopping.  My wife and I decided to enjoy a snack at a restaurant just off the Piazza Tasso (named after the poet Torquato Tasso) as most students went exploring and shopping.   After completing the explorations and shopping, Antonio drove the bus to a drop-off location, high above our hotel for the evening.  Luckily, Gesualdo had instructed us to pack a carry-on bag for the night so that we did not have to carry our luggage on the 1/2 mile hike down to the hotel, and more importantly, so we did not have to carry it back up the hill the next day.  The setting for Hotel Giosue al Mare was by far the most picturesque setting of our trip.  Overlooking the Gulf of Naples, we could admire the high cliffs of the Sorrento region.  We ate dinner on an outside patio as we watched the sun set over the gulf.

Statue on rock along the coast welcoming visitors to Capri
The next morning after breakfast, we hiked back up the hill to our bus which transported us back to the Piazza Tasso where we  would hike down to the marina to ride a ferry over to the Island of Capri.  We learned that Americans often mispronounce Capri based on how we have heard people say Capri pants. Capri actually is pronounced like Opry, with a C on the front. Upon arriving in Capri, we met our local guide who led us on an island "cruise" (it was actually a boat barely big enough to hold all of our travelers) to explore the cliffs and caves of the island.  We met the boy statue on top of the rock formation that greets visitors to Capri.  In one of the caves, we observed red coral, which was often used for jewelry in ancient society.  While we did not have the opportunity to visit the Blue Grotto, our boat captain carefully maneuvered the boat inside various other grottoes along the coast.  We encountered the Faraglioni rock formations before turning back to the marina.  On our way back, we passed through the archway of the Faraglioni di Mezzo, with couples being encouraged to kiss and individuals yell as we passed through the archway.  Upon arriving back to the marina, we rode the funicular from the marina to the city center at the top of a cliff.  As we walked to the Gardens of Augustus, our local guide pointed out all of the designer stores in which the rich and famous shop while on the island.  He also stopped in front of a famous Capri night club (I believe the Anema e Core) where many famous people have visited.  He mentioned that the night club opens up after the last ferry departs from the island and thus most people must be staying in one of the expensive Capri hotels if they wish to go to the night club.  However, some Italians who are not as rich have been known to save their money for the opportunity to see someone famous and will get a ride on one of the garbage ferries which run later into the evening.  Our tour ended with a visit to the Gardens of Augustus, from which we could see another classic view of the Faraglioni rock formations.  After some free time in Capri, we rode a ferry to Naples where we met our bus driver Antonio who transported us to the final city of our tour - Rome.

Grotto along coast of Capri

Faraglioni rock formations of Capri


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