After we returned to the hotel we went straight to the pool to look for sunbathing Maria and a fellow guest, an experienced traveller who was staying here alone, told us that not only were we lucky to see a place like Pompeii on our first time abroad but we were fortunate too to be staying at the Hotel Mediterraneo, which he rated as one of the best places that he had ever stayed.
We had really settled in by now and felt that we had a good enough understanding of the place to explore even further so on the next day we walked in the opposite direction from Sorrento around the bay and to the east.
Sant’ Agnello itself is a completely separate municipal commune from what is strictly speaking the town of Sorrento and walking the other way was another separate municipality of Piano di Sorrento, which was a working fishing village without the trappings of modern tourism. The famous Victorian poet Robert Browning, who, it is said, adored Italy lived in this area and mentioned the countryside of Piano and other localities of the Sorrentine peninsula in his poem ‘The Englishman in Italy.’
It was only a short walk and today the sun was shining and the temperature had risen a degree or two and we had finally abandoned trousers and jeans for shorts and sandals, but dad did keep his blue paisley socks on so that other people would be in no doubt that we were English!
We walked along residential roads with grand houses behind locked iron gates and then underneath the trees at the top of the cliffs and when we arrived at our destination we descended down to the small black beach that could only be reached via a road with several hairpin bends and accompanied all the way down by a random selection of beautiful wild flowers growing in the verges and tumbling down the slopes.
This was a wonderful place and down at the edge of the water on the Via Marina di Cassano there was a working fishing village that was a million miles away from the nearby tourist resort of Sorrento. There were local people swimming in the sea and the beach was littered with tiny fishing boats that had been working the previous night and were now just resting before going out again later. At the back of the sheltered beach there were fishermen’s houses that were built next to the beach and in some cases directly into the cliffs and I had a sense that inside men were resting before working again later tonight. I understand that Piano di Sorrento is now a swanky marina so I am glad that I saw it as the fishing beach and community that has now gone.
We couldn’t stop as long as we would have liked because we had to get back to the hotel for lunch. Actually that isn’t true of course because we could have stayed as long as we liked, it was just that we sort of thought that meal times were obligatory, which of course they weren’t. After lunch of inevitable pasta we spent the afternoon at the pool and practised doing very little until it was time to go to the café across the road for ice cream and a beer and we were delighted that the portions continued to get even bigger and if we had been weight watchers we would now be starting to get concerned.
For the rest of the day we followed our normal routine of evening meal, chatting to other guests and a final drink at the café and then we retired to bed ahead of another busy day planned for tomorrow and an exciting visit to the nearby city of Naples.