Saturday, April 09, 2016

A few quiet places in Sorrento (2016/5)

Today we visited a few quiet places which are hidden in plain view. First off was Piazza S. Antonio - a doorway from this quiet square leads into a beautiful courtyard, whose purpose I have yet to establish (I think that it belongs to the town administration but it was empty this morning). No one would think to give this a second look as they pass though the piazza on their way to the port or elsewhere.

From there it was only a short walk to the cloisters of San Francesco; these are probably quite well known (as we were leaving, more people entered) but it's very easy to miss them as the small entrance is very subtly marked. For those who want to know, it's just before the gates of the Villa Comunale, which is a place worth visiting by itself for the lovely view over the gulf of Sorrento. The lift which takes one down to the marina a few hundred feet below is also to be found in this area.

Today there was a cruise ship in the harbour so there were many more people in the town today. In order to avoid them, we stuck to the less popular alleys of the old town. As morning tea time approached, we were walking down a lane which would lead us to the main road when we noticed a restaurant set in a large garden (not where we ate a few nights ago).

This is the Café Latino which was empty when we entered, thus allowing my wife a good opportunity to name all the flowers, bushes and trees in the garden. The picture on the left obviously shows the garden at night, but it's very pretty during the day as well. Although the tea was only 3 euro each and served with two biscuits (little touches mean a lot), the milk seemed to be UHT thus making the tea less tasty than it could have been. We sat for quite a while in the garden, enjoying the atmosphere and the sun which kept poking its head through the clouds. We thought it surprising that such a large restaurant would have such a modest entrance, but a few minutes later we discovered a much bigger entrance on the main road.

A bit further up on Corso Italia, at Piazza Andrea Veniero, we were surprised and pleased to see an antiques market. I had tried to find information about such markets as my wife very much likes them, but couldn't find out very much (basically nothing). There was a very wide range of objects on sale (including several manual typewriters, rotary telephones and even a Game Boy); I have no idea of the asking prices. Unusually, my wife came away empty handed. The market was almost devoid of patrons; probably all the cruise ship people were stuck in the old town alleys.

After that, we had lunch at the English Inn, which as always was reasonably cheap, tasty and amusing - a great deal of banter between Luigi, the owner, and my wife, with me chipping in with a few sardonic remarks. After that, we went back to the b'n'b for siesta, intending to get up at 5pm in order to participate in the "animated walk among the workshops and taverns of the historical centre" as the brochure puts it. This is a three day event in which the workshops are open to the general public. Unfortunately, it started raining at about 4:30pm, and instead of relenting after a few minutes, the rain seemed to get more and more intense. So no evening stroll tonight. I went to the supermarket and bought some provisions, keeping dry only by means of the umbrella which we had brought from home.

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