This year I didn’t feel like organizing any celebrations for my birthday; I’m much too pregnant, tired and busy… and frankly, it just snuck up on me. Instead, I packed my bags, kissed my daughter and husband goodbye, and got out of town as fast as possible. I accepted a generous offer to stay at the historic Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria for a few days of relax and exploration of Sorrento and Naples.

There is no way to translate into words the magic I feel every time I step into this region of Italy, so instead of attempting the impossible, I am attaching some pictures of the highlights of my quick trip. Below you’ll find my favorite moments from Sorrento, and my Naples highlights will be coming soon in a separate post.

1. Waking up to this view


2. And to this breakfast


3. The Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria

What a treat it was to stay in this historic and luxurious hotel in the center of Sorrento. The same family has owned and run the hotel since its creation 180 years ago, and still take great pride in maintaining its old-world charm.

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4. A morning walk through a lemon grove

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5. La Chiesa di San Francesco Sorrento

Located next to the Villa Communale Park, this is one of Sorrento’s most beautiful churches, and the stunning cloister is a peaceful and enchanting refuge if you need a quiet place to sit and reflect. In the summertime it hosts a program of classical concerts and art exhibitions.


6. Shopping in Sorrento

Sorrento is unabashed about being a resort town and holiday destination, but has managed to encourage a more tasteful style of tourism and maintain an authentic flavor. Walking the narrow streets was a treat for the eyes, and the wallet: the shops are charming, the store-owners are friendly and the artisanal goods are beautiful and reasonably-priced. Everything is lemon-colored or flavored or scented, the region being famous for its prolific citrus crops.

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7. Gourmet cooking demonstration and dinner

I had the immense pleasure of dining at The Hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Terrazza Bosquet, after a fascinating cooking lesson with the talented Chef Luigi Tramontano. His dishes are perfectly-balanced works of art, almost to beautiful to eat… almost.


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