Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Sorrento Peninsular

Italian picturesque: Marina del Cantone

If you drive along the famous Amalfi Coast Road to Positano, then keep going, you will find yourself in the Sorrento Peninsular. Here, the towns are under the jurisdiction of Naples instead of Salerno, and you are technically no longer “on the Coast”. The landscape is subtly different, the lemon groves of Amalfi being replaced by old olive groves. Sadly, many are not neatly cultivated these days, but their blue-green foliage gives the hills here their special look.

A drive to the end of the Sorrento Peninsular has several rewards, one of which is the view of the Isle of Capri which you can have when you reach the end of the peninsular.

The divine Isle of Capri.

Another is the interesting view from a broad isthmus at Santa Agata sui due Golfi, where the land narrows so that you can see the Gulf of Sorrento on one side and the Gulf of Naples on the other - with Vesuvius brooding behind the city.

The Gulf of Naples and Vesuvio.

The fish are biting.

And a special reward is to stop for lunch at Marina del Cantone, a small fishing village on the sea, which must be thronged with holiday-makers in the summer, but is delightfully secluded in October. But the sun was still hot on my visit, an occasional local took a dip in the sea, and most of the beachside restaurants had not yet packed up for the season. Here at Restaurant Maria Grazie fresh fish - caught yesterday evening or early this morning - was on the menu. Maria Grazie is an icon of this little village, having been in business for generations, and was once very popular with visitors for its famous spaghetti and zucchini. Apparently people would come from Positano by boat just for Maria Grazie’s spaghetti and zucchini. But fish, crusty bread, and chilled white wine it was for me...

Maria Grazie in Marina del Cantone

October sunshine and a lazy lunch, at Marina del Cantone

Fresh as...!

Fish collection vehicles.

Then on with the drive, around the point of the peninsular and down to have a look at Sorrento, quite a big bustling city. Here we had an adventure with the local polizia, who took exception to a particular left turn...after quite  a bit of discussion, close examination of papers, and a longish wait, we were allowed on our way, that particular memory of Sorrento now passing into history and into this blog post, unbeknownst to the polizia involved...there’s nothing like an adventure, Italian-style. Ah, la dolce vita!

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