Days in paradise
Ben Murnane recently travelled to Sorrento - where he got to fulfil a childhood dream
Flying into Naples with my fiancé, I could hardly contain my excitement I was travelling to Italy for the first time - to Sorrento, overlooking the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius.
It had been a long-time dream of mine to visit Vesuvius and Pompeii, since I studied the ancient Roman city in school. Now, finally, I would get to do it.
However, there was far more than this I experienced on my trip. Here are some highlights.
Thanks to its gorgeous views and Mediterranean climate, Sorrento has been a popular destination since ancient times. The Greeks, the Romans and the Goths all settled here - while more recently, the Sorrentine Peninsula has been a home away from home for numerous celebrities, includ-ing Roger Moore and Sophia Loren. Its popularity has not taken from its authenticity, however. On a walk through the pretty, narrow streets, you will find the traditions of the area alive and kicking, including coral cameo carving, leatherwork, hand-inlaid woodwork - and, the tradition most enjoyed by me, limoncello!
Everywhere we went, we found excellent and friendly service. We stayed at the Hotel Bristol, a 4-Star Superior hotel full of genuine charm. It's literally built into the cliff-face, with unbelievable views over the bay. It has all the amenities you could need, including a rooftop pool and a beautiful garden to explore.
We travelled with topflight, and one of the great advan-tages of that is the service you receive on the ground. We were met at the airport by our Topflight representative, Lindsey, and travelled by coach straight to the hotel. The coach trip doubled as a fantastic introduction to the area, with Lindsey's commentary.
The glory of Pompeii
We went on a full-day excur-sion to Vesuvius and Pompeii. Standing in Pompeii - I did get goosebumps. You get an in-credible sense of it as a living city; so much remains intact. You can sit in the theatre, step into people's front rooms, even stroll through the brothel. It's hard to believe that Mount Vesuvius was twice the height it is today, before it blew its top in the great erup-tion of 79M), which wiped out Pompeii's inhabitants.
Realising the childhood dream of visiting Pompeii was cer-tainly a highlight - but so were the other excursions we took
We went on a full-day tour of the island of Capri, famous for how the light plays off the water in its cliff-caves; as well along the Amalphi Drive, which boasts some of the most spectacular panoramic views in Europe.
From the glory of Pompeii, to the glory of nature-this is a part of the world so beau-tiful, it has to be seen to be believed.
Topflight deer holidays to Sorrento all summer season, with flights from Dublin. Pric-es for the 4-Star Hotel Bristol start from €929pps (based on travelling 8th October 2017) and include return flights and transfers, seven nights' ac-commodation on a half-board basis, and the services of an in-resort Topflight representa-tive. Call (Of) 240 1700 or visit www.topflight.ie