By: Mary McCandless
It was one of those mornings that got my curiosity going. Every now and then, I would check flights just to see if by chance there are any specials. As you may have read in the past, we have been able to scoop up flights to Italy for only $649 round trip, but this day was different. As usual, I went on to American Airlines and plugged-in January 16th to the 24th , Syracuse to Rome, and I was shocked at what I saw. Airfares were $428. Now that was the lowest I’ve ever seen so of course I had to take advantage of it. I then called my friend Jennifer and she said, let’s go. She also reached out to her sisters to see if they too wanted to go, and they said yes. We were now preparing for a trip and for sisters to be able to take a vacation together. So where does that leave me? Well, I became the step-sister, and tour guide.
Some of you may say, but you have been to Italy, why go again? There are so many other places to see and I know that a deal can be found with a bit of perseverance. However, there is something about Italy that keeps drawing me to it. I think it is the beauty of the country along with discovering other places, having a sense of being, and meeting new people. And meeting people is exactly what we did!
When we arrived in Rome, we took a taxi to the Termini which is the train station and main terminal for Rome’s subway system. We hopped on the train that took us to Naples and then another train that took us right to Sorrento. Sorrento is located on the southwest coast. Along the coast of Sorrento, you can see the Bay of Naples, the Isle of Capri and Mt. Vesuvius. Sorrento is a quaint town where homes have lemon and orange trees that grace their yards. The lemons are the size of small melons, and taste spectacular. Sorrento is also known for Lemoncello, which is a delicious liquor made from the lemons they are so famous for. We booked our hotels through hotels.com and had only one hiccup in our trip. Our original hotel that we booked ended up having issues, so we moved on and found a super place called the Sorrento Apts. It was spacious with a kitchen, terrace and was perfect.
Although we were a bit exhausted from the flight and train we still wanted to get out and savor every moment of our trip. One of the first things on our list was dessert and Gelato shops could be found on almost every block. The flavors were many, from fresh hazelnut to a rich vanilla smothered in yummy cherries. The Streets were still decorated with lights from the holiday season and bustling with locals all enjoying a night out.
The cobblestone streets are lined with marvelous shops filled with keepsakes, Italian leather, Lemoncello, fruit and more. As we ventured around town, we also discovered many great restaurants, some tucked away in alleys and all run by locals. Our hosts were welcoming with delicious food and a wonderful sense of humor. The first night in Sorrento we dined at ZJ’ NTONJO, a name none of us can still pronounce. The restaurant was packed with locals, and tourists from Japan, who feasted on oversized Pizzas, and more food than you could eat in a day. Amazing!
The four days that we spent in Sorrento were exciting from cafes for morning espresso to shopping and nightly dining. Everything is priced within anyone’s budget, and this time of the year, there is a Sconti (sale) everywhere.
There are two final places really worth mentioning. The first is Ristorante L’Abate. Our waiters were marvelous. They were attentive to what we needed, and asked us if we would like a picture and then took a picture of themselves as a joke. We all laughed, and they took the picture of us.
The second memorable place was Nino and Friends. Located just a hundred meters from the Piazza Tasso is this decadent shop. When we entered, we were greeted by Anna and Anna each presenting a tray of samples for patrons to try. By the way, they are not related; they just had the same names. We sampled biscuits made of lemon, hazelnut, cocoa, and cappuccino creams that melted in your mouth. We tasted a variety of balsamic vinegars, truffles, chocolate, jams and coffee from the area and around the world. Anna and Anna had us sample almost everything in the store. By the time we left, we were toting bags filled with goodies. They have one simple rule at Nino’s, “We do not produce, nor do we offer anything to our customers that we cannot recreate or use in our own kitchen,”
So, you have heard our story, are you ready to make your own? The amount that you would spend on a ticket to a destination in the states, you can visit Italy and have your own experience. You will be greeted with open arms and treated like royalty. Total cost for airfare, hotel and travel are just under $1,000. The sales are plentiful and dining is very affordable. The food totally memorable! Get packing your bags and we would love to hear your story. Don’t forget to go back to the May 2016 issue for all of our travel tips.
Arrivederci e buon viaggio!