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The wonders of Pompeii are within easy reach, or you can take a ferry or hydrofoil to the islands in the bay. The most famous is Capri, a magical spot with dramatic cliffs and rocks and an abundance of luxuriant suptropical plants plus designer shops at designer prices. Its neighbour Ischia has many excellent beaches and is known for its hot mineral springs, which have attracted cure-seekers since Roman times. Back on the mainland, don't miss the chance to drive along the spectacular road that borders the Amalfi coast and, of course, dont miss out on a visit to Rome while you are there.

One of the great pleasures of the day is to join the locals in their traditional stroll or passegiata through the old town, a ritual that begins at dusk and continues well into the evening. Wander the same streets by day when the shops are open, and you will be tempted by an array of local crafts such as perfume, lace, straw plaiting and inlaid walnut woodwork, Sorrento's speciality.

The graceful peak of Mt Vesuvius is visible from most places. Sorrento is not only an attraction in itself, but serves as an ideal base for visiting nearby sights, such as the picturesque villages of the rugged Amalfi coastline, Naples and the ancient sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum are all within easy reach.

Daylight brings an array of water sports, tennis, or simply watching the world go by from a cafe terrace. Frequent religious events and processions are held at the Cathedral. There are also some fantastic archaeological and cultural museums.

Night time offers a few discos and piano bars. A cinema with films dubbed in Italian. Atmospheric Foreigners' Club with live music. Classical-music concerts in the cloisters of San Francesco in the summer. 2 British-style pubs and a theatre. Many hotels, particularly the far-flung, have musical evenings and dancing.

There is an Impressive choice of pizzerias and restaurants, with the emphasis on S Italian cuisine. Plenty of authentic trattorias and ice-cream parlours (some of which offer over 40 flavours). Local specialities include seafood, various almond cakes and tarts, and smoked or grilled cheeses.

Local excursions can be taken to Capri, the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, Herculaneum, Paestum, Naples, Ischia, Vesuvius and local titbits, the Baths of Diana, scene of pagan rites, and the Grottoes of the Mermaids. Yacht cruises.