The lemon of Sorrento is the “Oval of Sorrento” cultivar, known affectionately as “Femminello”. This fruit medium to large-sized fruit weighing at least 85 g, is elliptical in shape, has a strong scent and is very juicy. The yellow part of the peel is rich in essential oils and the juice from the fruit has an instantly recognisable combination of citrus acid and sugar. In 2000, the “Femminello” received Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) recognition under European Union regulations. This protects the cultivar and defines the geographical area where the lemon can be grown as the Sorrento peninsula and the Isle of Capri. The PGI stamp also requires that cultivation is carried out in a specific (and organic) way, under the pagliarelle, which are like “mats” that protect against the saltiness in the air, drops in temperature and delay ripening (a defining characteristic of this lemon). The cultivar is remontant: in October, the first fruit (“primofiore”) has the juiciest lemons; in March, the light yellow “bianchetti” ripen; and in June, the “verdelli” or green lemons are ready.
Due to their sun-filled beauty, citrus fruit where first used as decorative plants and were even celebrated in rawdija (a genre of Arabian poetry). It was also the Arabs who discovered the healing properties of the essential oils and juices extracted from the bark, flowers and fruit of the laymun (lemon), narang (sour orange), ‘utrug (citron) and so on. The distillation of al-kuhul (alcohol) by means of the al-inbiq (alembic) was also a part of Arabian pharmacopoeia. Adding aromatic herbs to alcohol produced al-iksir (elixirs), which, for centuries, were vital for doctors, chemists and then, in monasteries. Some time in the 15th or 16th centuries, monks started to combine flavoured alcohol with sweet syrups, thus giving birth to the era of liqueurs and rosolios (sweet liqueurs). It will always be a mistery wheter it was monks or a clever housewife who first “macerated” lemon peel in alcohol and sugar syrup, but the result, “limoncello” or “limonillo” in the dialect of Sorrento, is now a typical local product.
It is so pleasant for a tourist to visit this spot of Sorrento which is very typical: in its restaurants You can enjoy very good fish at reasonable prices. The patron saint of this fishermen's village is Santa Anna (july 26) and every year on that date they arrange a great celebration and nice fireworks and the population of Sorrento takes part of it. It is one of the most suggestive moments of the year where ancient traditions still live on this noble coast.
Sorrento is situated on a platform of tufa stone of volcanic origin. 31000 years ago a series of eruptions took place in the Northen-West side of Naples. During those eruptions a big quantity of ash arrived as far as the Sorrento hills. Then it hardened and it turned into this rock. The proof of that is that on the other side of the Sorrento Peninsula, that is the Amalfi Coast, there is no trace of tufa rock. On the top to the right there a big building which is the hotel Vittoria (5 stars) where the famous tenor Enrico Caruso was special guest.
This strip of land is typical for the orange and lemon groves: from the lemon people of Sorrento area make the famous "limoncello" and the "lemon cream", the alcoholic drinks of the territory. Another interesting production here is that one of the walnuts and the olive oil. The olive oil is still produced here by following the ancient technique of the "cold pressing". In october and november it is possible to see plenty of nets placed at the foot of the olive-trees: they collect the olives that fall on the ground
Tasso Square, bisected by Sorrento's main street, Corso Italia, is the center of the town. The piazza is about a 300 m walk north-west of the train station, along Corso Italia.