The Sorrento peninsula and the Bay of Naples has attracted visitors for centuries in search of its outstanding scenery, tranquility and some of the most remarkable sights from throughout history. Invasions by the Greeks, Phoenicians and Saracens have all left their legacies - but none more so than the Romans. Even 2000 years ago the attributes of the region were well known with the Emperors Tiberius and Augustus, together with countless members of the ruling elite, having villas here. Sorrento came to real fame though, during the late 18th century when many of Europe’s aristocracy came to spend their winters here - attracted by its mild climate and outstanding natural beauty. Sumptuous houses and grandiose hotels were built along the cliff-tops and today Sorrento is everything you expect an Italian town to be: tiny cobbled streets and quaint squares with flowers decorating almost every building, tubs of geraniums, dark blue clematis climbing up pastel-coloured, almost crumbling walls, with pink hydrangeas and roses in almost every open space, all shaded by lofty palm trees offering welcome shade. Mouth-watering aromas drift from the numerous restaurants and bistros, some humble and homely, some grand and ostentatious with pavement cafés serving fine cappuccino on seemingly every street corner.
We see the legendary Amalfi coast, with every guidebook proclaiming it the most beautiful in Europe, and when you see it, it really is impossible to disagree! Deep red mountains covered with pine forests plunge dramatically into the calm blue Mediterranean. Then to Capri, which possesses a deserved reputation as a veritable Garden of Eden - it will come as no surprise why so many of the rich and famous have made it their home.
Wherever you travel in the Bay of Naples, the skyline is dominated by the majestic and still active volcano Vesuvius, rising loftily to over 4000 ft. No doubt you will be aware, it has erupted in spectacular fashion several times in its history - the most famous, of course, being in 79AD when the Roman city of Pompeii, together with many of its inhabitants, were entombed and whose state of preservation today is little short of remarkable.
All in all there can be few places where you will find so much of interest in an area of such outstanding natural beauty as the Bay of Naples.
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