We didn’t make a very early start today as I relied on the clock in my ebook which has unexpectedly stuck faithfully to UK time and therefore I was an hour late and missed breakfast and confused Dad.
We had decided to spend the day exploring Sorrento, and first stop was to be Villa Communale. This was Gary and my favourite place last time. But before we got there Dad was waylaid by one of the wood shops. Sorrento is famous for its inlay and Dad was utterly blown away by the workmanship. We spent some time looking at furniture, pictures, boxes etc and a good deal of the rest of the day considering where Dad could put various items of furniture should he buy it and have it shipped to Australia. The poor man probably thought he was going to make a major sale, but Dad is going to think about it for the rest of the week…I bought a couple of little items, but I do have my eye on a beautiful desk. Perhaps when re refurbish the lounge into a library!
We finally made it to Villa Communale, but it was grey and cloudy and we couldn’t see Vesuvius. Instead, given Dad’s reaction to the inlay, we visited the museum dedicated to inlay. This is set in a beautiful Baron’s home dating back to the 1600s or so, with impressive ceilings and a ghastly narrow secret spiral staircase, and filled with antique examples of inlay. Identifying what the objects were for was as fascinating as studying the exquisite inlay work.
The sites at Sorrento are quite small, but we enjoyed seeing the cloisters at San Francesco church, catching the petit train (frightfully bad driver and an audio guide that didn’t seem synchronised with our actual position), hunting down coffee (surprisingly difficult to find – one place sold food but no coffee, another had run out milk – go figure) and best of all discovering the various nativities dotted around the place.
There was a very big one at the cathedral, two inside San Francesco’s church. But the best by far was at the “opera centre”. This was about 25 feet long and about 4 feet tall, and featured the nativity in the centre but was rich with scenes of Sorrentine life all around it. A butcher, a baker, a fishmonger, a fruit seller, fishermen, people playing cards, others reading tarot cards, a tavern, pirates, etc etc The detail was amazing and we spent some time identifying all the miniature scenes. Lauren would have loved it. Later we passed it again and they had covered it with a green curtain so I think we were very lucky to see it at all.
We also explored some of the shops, always a delight in Sorrento. And Dad, after having excited the poor wood shop man in the morning, in the evening got the hopes up of a lady running a ceramic shop with his highly unexpected but in depth interest in a soup tureen the size and shape of a cabbage with a leek for a ladle.
At least he didn’t mislead the leathershop chap. Dad has lost weight in Finland, and urgently needed a new belt. We found one, and so far this has been the only actual purchase!