Could it be the ancient Siren’s song that eternally lures travellers to Sorrento or simply the sheer beauty of sea and sky that enchants us still? Popular for its wines and natural beauty, its sunlight and mild climate, its citrus groves and the friendly hospitality of the people, Sorrento has always enchanted – from the ancient Romans to the Romantic writers and poets of the 19th century to today's tourists from all points of the globe.
In answer to the growing demand for luxury accommodations for these new travelers, many exquisite hotels were constructed with lofty views of the sea, surrounded by lush gardens, where lemon groves scented the salty air. We are staying at the Grand Hotel La Favorita, relatively new to the long list of prestigious hotels in Sorrento. It is an elegant historical building purchased and renovated into a first-class hotel not too many years ago. We invite friends to join us for drinks on its terrace, an oasis of tranquillity where majolica covered columns support a pergola of luscious greenery and citrus trees. Reminiscent of the grounds of the ancient Roman villas of the area, mosaic-covered walls and fountains adorn the gardens. Later, we siesta in our room, the curtains open to our balcony and the trickling music of the fountain in the garden below. Do I doze or just envision mermaids, sailors, rocky cliffs, and trees laden with bright yellow lemons? Dream or reality? It makes no difference.
We choose to go no farther than La Favorita's Bellavista Restaurant on its upper terrace, where a panoramic view of the sea awaits us. Call me old-fashioned, but the soft music – old Italian favorites - is like a caress to our spirits, and the view of distant cliffs with their lights glimmering like gemstones is utter romance. The cuisine is purely Mediterranean and it’s not easy to choose from its offerings, especially those from the sea. Luigi, our Maitre D’, points us in the right direction when he suggests we try the Nido di Spaghetti, a nest of pasta in a pesto and clam sauce. For me, he has Chef Marco prepare Mezzi Paccheri with zucchini, shrimp and cherry tomatoes. For seconds we have fresh Grilled Tuna with Balsamic on a bed of arugula with fresh orange slices and Sea Bream in an olive oil and caper sauce. I won’t even confess to the dessert that followed. I’ll think about that tomorrow…
All images and reviews copyright 2015 by Ginda Simpson
Grand Hotel La Favorita
Via Torquato Tasso, 61, 80067 Sorrento ~ Campania, Italy
View of terrace garden, Grand Hotel la Favorita ~ Original watercolor painting by Ginda Simpson