AirToob Lightning
Sorrento Peninsula and Amalfi Coast, Italy, September 2013

We spent the last two weeks of September on Italy's Sorrento Peninsula and Amalfi Coast (new to me), sharing a very nice villa (Sorrento Villa's Villa Vervece B) with two other couples from our family.

A two week stay is recommended at this time of year, if you can manage it. We had 3 days of wind and rain, which seems not unusual at this time of year, the rest of the time being glorious weather with temperatures in the mid 70's - much more pleasant than July or August! 3 days out of 14 isn't bad... but 3 days out of 7 would be a different story!

Our villa was located on a hillside above the Marina della Lobra (the lowest red blob on the map below), within walking distance of Massa Lubrense, a small bustling "comune", and easy driving distance from Sorrento. Click the image below for my full Italy map, if you are interested.

Click the map if you want to explore!

Our villa was nice and spacious inside (with a few maintenance and equipment issues), but its outside terraces were where we spent most time while we were there...

This was the main private terrace, with a wood-fired grill (the pool terraces on the next level up are shared with the other villa below us, although nobody was there). The villa's flowerbeds also contain herbs, chilli peppers, aubergines and such-like, which guests are free to pick.

The simple things in life taste so much better here... opinion shared by our regular visitor (do you remember Corsican Cats?)

The terraces have stunning views - this is an evening view of the Marina della Lobra (taken from the pool area, one level up)

The rock with a light on it, on the left edge of the picture, marks a fish sanctuary, and we could often watch scuba dive boats in action there

Night view across the bay to Naples, taken from the kitchen terrace (makes great desktop wallpaper, click the image for my 1280 x 1024 version)

Funiculi Funicula, our favourite restaurant in Marina della Lobra, and the place where locals go. After we were here a few times, Nino gave us free small proseccos before hand and free small limoncellos after each (excellent) meal. The olive oil served here (like the limoncello) is locally produced (see a bit later below). A very fine meal with fish and plenty of wine came to about 33EUR per head, but it was often cheaper.

On 16th September it was quite windy, and we watched rain move in...

...but halfway across it kind of turned left...

...and headed away again...

Sunny again!
The Marina della Lobra and Capri in the background, taken from a road below Massa Lubrense

Another day of wind, with rain to start...

Very few fishing boats going out today!

It cleared up quickly, and we had one of many beautiful sunsets (taken from the kitchen terrace)

Visit to Sorrento, about 20 minutes away by car (depends on the time of day)

There are nice houses and hotels in this part of Sorrento, near the cliff edge

On the right is a very nice hotel, with private grounds (the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, if I remember correctly)

We walked a little way into the hotel grounds (before being politely turned back). Behind us were these views (the stairs reminded my of the outside of the Bath House in "Spirited Away").

We returned to Sorrento the next day for a boat trip to Capri

An early swim... this definitely wasn't me!

The Club Med 2, a beautiful looking cruise ship with sails

Capri (actually taken on our way to Positano a few days later)

Climbing up from the Capri port (quicker than queueing for the funicular), via four sections of shady narrow ways, but not something I'd want to try in really hot weather ... seems to be the only decent photo I took on the island!

Returning to Sorrento - on top of the cliff is the Foreigners' Club. My American aunt visited there with the USN not long after WWII, when it was open to servicemen only (now anyone can have a snack, drink or lunch here, it was our favourite lunch-time place in Sorrento - reasonable prices, too)

The terrace of the Foreigners' Club - great views from up there (and a very popular place for wedding receptions)

Another beautiful sunset...

Vesuvius through a telephoto lens from our villa, not a great pic but unusually it shows the crater (it was normally hidden in cloud)

Back to Sorrento, this time for a boat trip to Positano, some way along the Amalfi Coast

Approaching Positano - like Capri, and unlike Massa Lubrense, it's an expensive place!

A great local wine, noted for future reference (still only about 18 EUR, would be twice that in an English restaurant) - served in the restaurant of the Hotel Buca di Bacco...

...which seems like a really nice place, and very quiet at this time of year (I took a look upstairs)

The hotel restaurant where we ate (cheaper than a Prezzo in England!) is about a third the way up this picture, just to left of the central clump of trees

Back in inexpensive territory... Walking from our villa down to the Marina della Lobra or across to Massa Lubrense, we passed these olive nets which were just being set out...

...and a fixer-upper being (very) slowly fixed up...

The walk to Massa Lubrense requires a certain sense of direction and faith. This looks like a dead end...

... but you can turn right just in front of that house...

... and you are then walking along a narrow footway beneath a high wall above on one side, and lemon groves below (protected by nets)

Eventually you come out under the scaffolding here...

...cross the road and head up here...

... eventually reaching the final stretch, quite steep...

...bringing you out at a very nice restaurant with a great terrace and views...


...located just beneath the "bottom end" of Massa Lubrense's main drag

I liked this map mosaic of the Sorrento Peninsula, located near the (very helpful) tourist office, which has password-free Wi-Fi which you can access from outside even when it's closed

A wonderful Aladdin's Cave of a shop near the top end of the main drag...

...where you can buy almost anything... if it isn't on display the Signora will disappear somewhere into the back and find it!

Last night in Marina della Lobra, where we ate at "Funiculi Funicula", our favourite restaurant

Last day, driving back to Naples... we stopped at the Foreigner's Club in Sorrento for lunch and a farewell toast

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[Places to enjoy life... in Italy]