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Sorrento is a destination full of contrasts

It has narrow alleyways in the old mediaeval centre, with tiny hole-in-the-wall antique shops and numerous restaurants, whilst the main shopping street, Corso Italia, is lined with elegant boutiques.

Life tends to centre around Piazza Tasso, the main square, in the evenings. It buzzes with life as both locals and visitors gather in the many pavement cafes.

Visit SorrentoAt the bottom of the steep hill below the piazza is Marina Piccola, the "Little Harbour ". From here the ferry leaves for the magical isle of Capri, made famous in song by Lancashire Lass, Gracie Fields, who became the island's most celebrated resident.

A little further along from Marina Piccola is Marina Grande, the "Big Harbour", which is a relaxing alternative spot to while away balmy Italian evenings, after savouring some tasty pasta, washed down with local vino rosso and a limoncello or three!

This is a sweet liqueur made from rind of lemon; a speciality of the region.

Sorrento is a wonderful strategic centre for exploring the whole of the Neapolitan Riviera.

Going north, you find  Naples, with its interesting architecture, museums and shops [although it pays to keep an eye on your purse!]

However, it is nowhere near as fascinating, in my mind, as Pompeii, the Roman city buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79.

This is a fantastic place, giving a true insight into the level of civilisation achieved by the Roman Empire two thousand years ago. The smaller Roman ruins at nearby Herculaneum are also worth a guided tour.

A trip to the top of Vesuvius itself is also worth-while. A bus takes you part of the way up the mountain, then it's a walk to the crater's edge at the summit.

The views across the Naples area are tremendous.

Remember, this is a live volcano, which could erupt at any time!

The last eruption occurred during the Second World War so don't worry, it does not happen too often!!!

If trips going north are extremely interesting, trips to the south of Sorrento are even more wonderful.

Just around the corner, on the southern side of the Sorrento Peninsula, lies one of the most romantic, beautiful coast-lines in the world ... the Amalfi Coast.

 The rugged, high cliffs are absolutely stunning.

To drive by car, or travel by coach, along the snaking highway which clings precariously hundreds of feet up to the towering vertical cliffs above a deep blue sea, is an unforgettable  experience.

The first time I did it, in a service bus, with a driver who thought he was at Monza, I had to move to the inside of the bus.

It was more than a little frightening; the drop to the sea  from the twisting, narrow road, was hundreds of feet. There was absolutely no room for one iota of error, or bad luck.

I was glad to alight at the top of the beautiful, stylish village of Positano, which clings like a limpet to the cliff-face for hundreds of feet.

Positano is south-facing, so it catches the warm, afternoon sun.

The tumbling bougainvillea and other flowering shrubs on the walk down help to make Positano one of the most exclusive, beautiful villages in Europe.

Further along the Amalfi Coast, is Amalfi itself.

This is an historical  gem of a little city, much of it in the bottom of a cleft in the coast.

It has a fascinating cathedral and wonderful architecture.

Amalfi also has a relaxing sun-trap of a harbour area, with lovely open-air restaurants and cafes.

Indeed, many prefer to arrive here, from Sorrento or Naples, by boat.

I wonder why!!!

The Amalfi Coast is one of the world's scenic treasures, leaving  lasting, life-long, memories. The view from the sophisticated  village of Ravello, high above this coast, is absolutely breath-taking!!

The Amalfi Coast and Sorrento generally are a "must-see " holiday location. Absolutely beautiful!!!!