A Summer Escape To Somewhere In Southern Italy

Earlier in the year, one too many tippy taps of blogger’s Instagram feeds displaying perfectly curated little squares of brunches in Bolzano and sunsets in Siena, along with a very teary afternoon watching Elio and Oliver’s love blossom in Crema, led me to booking a summer getaway to Somewhere In Southern Italy- more specifically, Sorrento. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Italy three times before- once to Florence where I was taught by some very overbearing Italians to cook enough egg pasta to feed the five thousand, once to the Italian Alps where I was taught by some equally overbearing Italian ski instructors how not to veer of piste and end up in an avalanche, and once to Pisa where I bagged the very original ‘Look at me I can hold up a building’ shot that now has a place in my photo album of other, equally tragic classic tourist shots. My family isn’t as, shall we say, ‘culturally inclined’ as me and prefer a night of bingo followed by a lie in and a full English in Majorca, but after some persuasion, we settled on Sorrento for a more refined coastal break. We enjoyed a laid-back week of Amalfi coast boat trips, meanders through cobbled streets, frequent coffee stops and many, many candlelit dinners in authentic Italian restaurants.

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Unfortunately, the only pictures I can show you of the first day of my Italian adventure are from the plane window, because shortly after I got off said plane, I inhaled an entire pizza and slept for the rest of the night.  Same was the story for the second day, which started with a lazy morning people watching in ‘Syyrentum Café’ with coffee and donuts,then continued with a lazy afternoon meandering through the stall-filled streets, until we came to a restaurant called ‘Manneken Pis’ which served the BEST spaghetti carbonara I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. We finished the day at a gorgeous restaurant with outdoor seating in the heart of Sorrento town where I ate the cream of mushroom spaghetti.

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Day two of the holiday was spent in the coastal town of Positano, wandering up the hill through the market stalls and shops, with a stop off at ‘La Lagara’ Cafe which had the most INCREDIBLE view to enjoy whilst I ate (demolished) a bowl of ‘Ravioli Salsa Bianca’- a pasta dish with spinach and cheese in a white sauce. The photos from Positano are definitely my favorite- it’s not every day you get to see houses stacked and teetering on a cliff’s edge- and a one day visit will definitely leave you with enough to fill your Instagram feed for a month!

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I, for one, am not a fan of ‘high fashion’. I don’t keep up to date with trends, and the only way I can tell my Balenciaga from my Gucci is because both brands seem keen on using a Sans Serif font to put said brand name on a t-shirt and charge £300 for it, despite spending big bucks parading models down a runway dressed in what can only be likened to the charity shop outfits the students of Abbey Mount wore to their school dance. So, in hindsight, the Isle Of Capri probably wasn’t the best place for me to spend a day. It did have some lovely views from the tram ride up to the shops, but be warned, it seems to be a common scam for ticket officers to keep any notes they owe you as change and hope you’re too foreign to realize (and, as it turns out, me and my family were in fact too foreign to realize on more than one occasion) so be careful when purchasing tickets- they should cost around €2pp each way. If fashion is your thing, there’s more than enough shops to keep you dangerously teetering at your overdraft and baggage allowance limit.IMG_8053

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IMG_7744Day four took us to the ruins of Pompeii, which will cost you around €4 return on the train from Sorrento+ €15 per adult entry (kids and adults with baby faces go free (*ahem* not that I would know) and 18-25-year-olds can bag themselves a half-price ticket with ID). Unless navigating ancient cities spanning 170 acres without the use of a map or street signs is what tickles ya pickle, I’d recommend getting yourself a place on a tour with a guide that speaks your language. My family and I used one of the tour companies whose stall is located in the building next door to Sorrento train station to purchase an all in one ticket an English speaking guide threw in, who gave us tons of insight and guidance throughout the day! We were led through the old courthouse square, the main street- which was kitted out with ancient Zebra crossings made to elevate residents from the sewer waste on the street, a brothel- which was kindly pointed out to us by the phallic shaped arrow on the pavement (classy move, Romans, very classy move), a 3000 square foot mansion, the Roman version of a McDonalds, ancient bathhouses and of course the remains of Pompeii’s amphitheater which once housed the battles of Roman gladiators. It was absolutely fascinating to see this ancient wonder first hand, and I’d 100% recommend a visit if you find yourself in Southern Italy.

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After three days of glorious sunshine, the usual Mediterranean heat gave way to a rainy day and I have to admit- I loved it. I know the Fiat 500 thing to do would be to crave lays crisps and lemon Fanta with the sun blazing, but one of my biggest guilty pleasures is watching the rain from a holiday apartment with a cuppa and some Milka- how very Honda Jazz of me. The rain was a perfect excuse to cuddle up in bed and get stuck into my second novel of the week ‘The Defence’ by Steve Cavanagh. Now here’s where things get a little confusing- Cavanagh’s ‘Eddie Flynn’ series has four books- but I read the fourth installment ‘Thirteen’, a novel following a serial killer who ends up on the jury instead of on trial, first. I then went on to read the first and second novel in the series on holiday and started the third when I got home. The series follows a New York City lawyer and his various escapades in the world of criminal defense, and I cannot recommend having a WH Smiths binge in the airport and reading the whole series from start to finish if you find yourself with a week away! After a lazy day with my head hidden in a book, I thought I ought to take in some Italian culture whilst I had the chance, so I suggested a train ride around Sorrento town. The train departs every 20 minutes from the town square and will cost you around €8pp for a thirty minute commentated tour around the town and if you’re lucky you might just get a chorus of Italian singing from the back of the train during the instrumental breaks. I’d definitely recommend taking the ride at night- the view of The Bay Of Naples is absolutely stunning.

Our penultimate day took us back to Positano- we just couldn’t resist another quick stop at ‘La Lagara’ Cafe- before heading to Amalfi for exploring, shopping, and coffee. Our time in Amalfi was short but I managed to get some gooorgeous photos (even if I do say so myself) before heading back to the rockiest boat I’ve ever been on in my life (and I once went on a cruise that had everyone on the dance floor swaying in time to the waves, not the music!).

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For the final day of our Italian adventure, we took it slow and headed back to the town to take in the last of the sunshine and reflect on our trip over some breakfast and coffee. We spent the remainder of the day getting last minute nick nacks, because who doesn’t want a tea towel and lemon shaped soap combo bringing back for them, and then decided to take another train ride to pass some time and rest before our flight, which also gave us the opportunity to see the route and listen to the commentary in the daylight. I could have stayed in Italy sipping coffee and dipping in and out of a book for weeks, but alas, Middlesbrough was calling as it always does (I swear that one day I’ll go on holiday and never come back), however I did manage to have a few pretty magical last moments on my flight home. Something about having a view of our entire existence, from stars to street lights, all in the space of two hours before getting home, waking up for work the next morning and pretending like you didn’t float above the clouds and peer into millions of peoples live’s in three different countries the night before will always feel surreal, and when the last day blues start, it’s the departing reminder I always need that there’s a whole world out there waiting for me.

I really hope you enjoyed an insight into my trip- it was definitely one to remember and hopefully, my words and photos did it justice. If you have any recommendations for other Italian trips I need to take please do leave a comment- although they may have to join the queue because I’ve already got my eye on Crema for next year! Megan x

The Details

We flew with Tui from Newcastle NCL to Naples NAP on September 28th, and our package included a direct coach ride from the airport to the Rota Suites hotel- which was very modern and only around a 10-minute walk to the town center- for around £600pp including the flights, transfer and seven-night hotel stay.

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