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Sorrento: Introduction

50km (31 miles) S of Naples, 256km (159 miles) SE of Rome, 50km (31 miles) W of Salerno

Borrowing from Greek mythology, the Romans placed the legendary abode of the sirens (those wicked mermaids who lured seamen to their deaths with their songs) at Sorrento (Surrentum). Ulysses resisted their call by stuffing the ears of his crew with wax and having himself bound to the mast of his ship. Perched on high cliffs overlooking the bays of Naples and Salerno, Sorrento has been sending out its siren call for centuries -- luring everybody from Homer to Lord and Lady Astor to busloads of international tourists, who invade every summer.

The streets in summer tend to be as noisy as a carnival. And the traffic is horrendous (no traffic signals in such a bustling city!). The hotels on the "racing strip," Corso Italia, need to pass out earplug kits when they tuck you in for the night, although perhaps you'll have a hotel on a cliff side in Sorrento with a view of the sea (and paths and private elevators to take you down).

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