Days in par­adise

Ben Mur­nane re­cently trav­elled to Sor­rento - where he got to ful­fil a child­hood dream

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - YOUR HOLIDAY -

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.

Liv­ing tra­di­tions

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!

Su­pe­rior ser­vice

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.

Nature, re­splen­dent

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

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