Mandolin music emanates from an inviting and yet to be explored street. We take it, inquisitive to discover for ourselves what the cobbled, narrow street has to offer. Tall medieval buildings protect us from the strong late morning sun that beats down on the old city, illuminating the laundry that spans the street high above our heads. Voices can be heard, muffled from deep inside the buildings and two women on opposite balconies are having an animated conversation with each other about who-knows what. It seems as if they are having an argument but I cannot tell.
Amusingly the mandolin music morphs into something far more modern, the familiar dance floor beat of “Lady GaGa’s – Poker Face” being played on a radio within a small shop. Sorrento is international, it’s accent a blend of local Neopolitanese, Milanese, Scottish, Irish, Brummie, Geordie, American and Aussie. We find ourselves back in the throng of Piazza Tasso. Vehicles criss-crossing under the graceful conduct of a policeman standing precariously in the middle of the Piazza. A tour party gathers nearby led by an olive tanned, well made-up local woman telling the story of Torquato Tasso after which the Piazza was named. She continues to keep her bright orange umbrella raised above her head, as if her arm is stuck in the position.
Sorrento is a town that inspires many, for it is generous in it’s aesthetic. Cliff top terraces and belvadere present breath taking panoramic views across the Baia di Napoli (bay of Naples) that sweeps in a broad arc, embracing the islands of Ischia and Prochida, the city of Naples and the towering giant that is Vesuvius.
It is a cinematic sweep of history, for in one view you can only but imagine how it’s natural beauty took a sinister and tragic turn in the year of 79AD when the now sleepy Vesuvius snuffed out thousands of lives under its blanket of destructive lava. Pompei and Herculaneum being buried for well over a thousand years before Victorian archaeologists discovered their treasures, the latter more recently in the 1980’s. Ironically the beauty of the region is the creation of it’s nemesis; Vesuvius and the many other volcanoes that would have existed many millenia before man engineered it’s land to form great cities such as Naples and Sorrento. Much of Campania is volcanic and as such the local tap water is rich in mineral content.
I sit here writing this on the cliff top terrace that belongs to the Hotel Ambasciatori, drinking a fine glass of Peroni Nastro Azzuro, a beer that is world famous and local to the area. I wonder how many other people have sat there in the past writing about their experiences? The sun is starting to set over the capo di Sorrento to the South West, Vesuvius is poking it’s twin-peaked head out of the haze that has been hiding it from view for the best part of the day and it’s time to go and relish in the delights of the Italian cuisine…….. Buon Apetito!
I will write more about this subject in a future post – The photo shows a florist delivering flowers from another end of the town to the church of San Francesco where many people get married and is the only venue in the town where foreign people (ok fellow Brits!) can get married. I spent a little time sitting around in the piazza just alongside and got quite a few shots. I am going through these at the moment and will share them at a later point…..