Sailing into the harbor aboard a ship may just be the very best way to see Naples.
Italy has a long relationship with the sea, and nowhere is that connection more beautifully on display than the stretch of shoreline along the Sorrentine Peninsula’s Amalfi Coast.
This is the Italy of the international jet set, and after our impressive arrival we almost felt like a part of it.
But rather than joining them, we watched their mega-yachts circling the Isle of Capri as we made our way on wheels along the cliffs overlooking the bay of Naples.
Before long we turned inland to cross over to the south side of the peninsula, and began our explorations in the seaside village of Positano.
The way Positano clings to the coast is unbelievable. It’s hard to imagine a more unlikely spot for a town, but it makes for sensational views, and some unbelievable road work.
We had to abandon our ride — long before reaching the center of town — so we would be walking, but hey, it’s all downhill from here.
Shops featuring the fine linen that Positano is known for lined the tiny pedestrian street that led down to the water.
Another product the area is famous for, Limoncello, was also prominently featured in many storefronts.
The sweet citrus liqueur is made from the lemons that grow so prevalently throughout the Amalfi coast, and are unique to the area. They even have their own name, Sfusato Amalfitano. Nearly every home has a tree in the garden.
From the bottom of the hill, the view back up was almost as incredible as the one looking down.
The way the buildings are embedded into the steep slope is nothing short of amazing.
So we walked out on to the beach, which is more gravel than sand, for a better gawk up at the hillside.
The sunbathers certainly didn’t seem to mind the size of the stones, we figured it was because everything else about this setting was practically perfect.
The stunning view also reminded us that we would have to walk back up, and that we needed a little fuel for the climb.
Being so close to Naples, we felt we should try a real Neapolitan style pizza.
After all, the city is where the pizza was originated.
A tiny pizzeria’s balcony-with-incredible-view made for a perfect pit stop, even if the pie might not have been the best the region had to offer.
Still it was tasty, priced right, and gave us the strength to manage our ascent.
We were once again precariously perched on The Amalfi Drive, the narrow ribbon of road high above the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Even though we had abandoned ship for the day, we — like so many sailors had in the past — followed the siren’s song toward the city of Sorrento. According to legend, several of the alluring songstresses were said to live on The Sirenusas, a small group of islands just off the coast.
Sorrento, while not quite as dramatic as Positano, is also precariously perched above the sea.
Back on the north side of the peninsula, we were once again overlooking The Bay of Naples, and Mount Vesuvius looming over poor Pompeii.
From the moment we alighted in the center of town, we immediately noticed something totally unexpected, a rather bizzarre statue in the middle of the street.
When we walked up to check it out and read the description we only had one thing to say, “Hello Dalì.”
As we walked around town we kept bumping into more of Salvador Dali’s works, placed on street corners, small parks, and along the sidewalks.
It was as if Sorrento had become one big gallery, which in a way, it had.
The art work was all part of “The Dalì Universe“, an exhibition centered at the Villa Fiorentino, that spread throughout the city.
The idea of fine art in Sorrento has caught on, and we had to agree that it seems like a match made in heaven, but all good things must come to an end, and they had to say, “Goodbye Dalì.”
No problem though, Pablo Picasso is the new star of the show, and is currently being exhibited at Villa Fiorentino.
After walking along the seaside cliffs, we tore ourselves away from the mesmerizing views and worked our way inland again.
Near the old town center we came upon a deep canyon with nearly verticle walls and with what looked to be ancient ruins at the bottom, The Valley of the Mills.
The vecchio mulino, or old mills, were used for grinding wheat, as well as sawing wood, have been in the canyon for well over a thousand years, yet continued in operation up until the 1800s.
Yet another surprise in the surprising city of Sorrento.
David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com
Thanks to Princess Cruises for inviting us along and providing this adventure! As always, all opinions are our own. See our entire Mediterranean voyage aboard the Royal Princess here