Planning a trip to Pompeii or the Amalfi Coast in Italy, the town of Sorrento is our choice for where to stay. It’s convenient from Naples on the Circumvesuiana commuter train, or a speedy boat ride on the Bay of Naples.
Sorrento is famous for its lemons, and the whole town is lemon yellow.
When you arrive on the train, one the first things kids will see is rows of lemon groves. Some of these lemons are huge, more like the size of a grapefruit, and are used to make a liqueur called limoncello – a cloudy yellow drink that often appears at the end of a meal in a restaurant.
Kids won’t be sampling the limoncello, but there’s lemon (limone) gelato, lemonade, lemon pasta, lemon hard candies, almonds covered with lemon icing.
As we explored Sorrento, lemons appeared in all shapes and forms. We liked the surrey with a blue top and spiral garlands of lemons (not real). Shops had all sorts of lemon-souvenirs – ceramic bowls and platters decorated with lemons, clock with a ring of lemons, lemon soap, bright yellow egg ornaments. Many of the buildings are painted in shades of yellow, and glow in the late afternoon sunlight.
One afternoon, we stopped into Giardini di Cataldo, an ice cream shop (on the east side of Corso Italia, just north of Piazza Tasso). We ordered the lemon gelato, then went across the street to the lemon tree garden – a whole grove of lemon trees, and sat down on wooden park benches to enjoy our gelato in the shade of the trees. (At the far end of the lemon grove is a small stand where parents can have a sample of limoncello also.)
Kids will also want to try selection of sweets typical of Campania. One of our favorites is sfogliatella, flaky layers of pastry with ricotta (tasted lemony) in the center. And pictured here, lemon mousse and zeppola (like a mini cream puff) from the Pasticceria Pollio.