Style Files

Italy Road Trip Part 1 - Caserta to Sorrento

Royal palaces, zesty lemons and handmade leather sandals.

Last spring, instead of jetting off abroad like we normally do, we decided to enjoy our home country and show the girls some beautiful sites in Italy. After all, we are spoilt for choice, and I’m embarrassed to say that some of the places we visited I hadn’t been to before! Here’s our 7 day itinerary from Rome to Lecce.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – Rome – Caserta – Sorrento (Magi House)

Day 2 – Sorrento

Day 3 – Pompeii – Trani (Al Vico)

Day 4 – Trani – Alberobello (Trullo Antì)

Day 5 – Alberobello - Polignano a Mare

Day 6 – Locorotondo - Ostuni - Lecce

Day 7 – Lecce – Trani - Rome


We started by driving south from Rome towards the Bay of Naples. Our first stop: Caserta, or specifically, La Reggia di Caserta (The Royal Palace of Caserta), a former baroque royal residence constructed by the House of Bourbon - Two Sicilies, during the 18th century. It’s one of the largest palaces built in Europe during the 18th century and its design was inspired by Versailles in France. Since 1997, it’s now also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The park’s gardens are a feast of neoclassical statues and the beautifully placed fountains are one more spectacular than the other. After a leisurely 2 hour walk in the palace gardens we took a shorter walk through some of the palace’s opulent rooms. As the garden stretches for 120 hectares, I would recommend at least a full day here if you want to see both the palace and the gardens, especially if you’re toting young kids around.

The baroque palace is utterly magnificent, but the part we enjoyed the most were the landscaped gardens, which were designed to fit in with the natural landscape of the park.

If you’re looking for a quick lunch or dinner in the town of Caserta I would recommend Osteria Miduccia, a cozy, family-run restaurant. The intimate setting made us feel like the owners were inviting us into their house for a home cooked meal and although the menu is quite simple, it offers some delicious local dishes and a small buffet of sides and appetisers which could provide a hearty meal in itself.

After lunch we got back on the road towards Sorrento, which is about 1.5hr drive from Caserta. The Sorrento peninsula is named after its main town, Sorrento, which is located on the north (Gulf of Naples) coast. Just to give you an idea, the Amalfi Coast is located on the southern side, while the island of Capri lies off the western tip of the peninsula in the Tyrrhenian Sea.


Everyone always talks about the Amalfi Coast but the Costiera Sorrentina is just as beautiful and less crowded. Sorrento is also a good base for exploring the area because of its good transport links. There are trains to Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Naples; ferries to Capri; and buses (or in season, ferries) to take you to the Amalfi Coast.

This picturesque coastal town sits up high on the peninsula’s cliffs with beautiful views of the Bay of Naples. It’s known for its spectacular sea views and the Chiesa di San Francesco, a 14th-century church with a tranquil cloister in the historic town center. A more peculiar site worth visiting while in Sorrento, is the Valle dei Mulini, a historic valley with an ancient flour mill built from stone dating as far back as the 13th century. This enchanting site exists thanks to its own micro climate and is the home to some rare plants that live in this valley due to a particular amount of moisture in the air, almost complete lack of ventilation and sun exposure, and the presence of volcanic rock. 

As soon as we arrived in Sorrento, we parked our car in the hotel parking and didn’t use it again until we left. The town is made up of small alleyways and the traffic looks like it would be awful in summer, so there are parking garages just before you get into town where you can leave your car. We walked everywhere, from the lively promenade of Via Tasso all the way down to the port of Sorrento, so make sure you bring comfortable shoes!

We stayed in a small boutique hotel called Magi House, where the staff was very friendly and helpful, the room was clean and modern, and spacious enough for four. We stayed in one of their suites which had a double bedroom on the mezzanine floor and a small kitchen, a comfortable bathroom with a large bathtub and shower and a sofa bed for the girls to sleep in, on the bottom floor. The hotel boasts a beautiful roof terrace where you can eat breakfast and enjoy the beautiful rooftop and sea views.

After a breakfast of warm cornetti & local pastries, chocolate milk, Italian coffee and sweet tea, we went for a walk down the cliff to the picturesque port of Sorrento. As you walk down the narrow and winding streets, you can peek into beautifully green covered terraces and patios, or gape at the multi coloured houses that decorate each bend of the steep descent to the harbour. 

Sorrento is also well known for its lemon groves, in fact they are scattered around the outer part of town and encaged like precious jewels in netted plots. So forget about going to Sorrento and not trying the lemon risotto! I tried this specialty in every restaurant we ate in and I can say that the best one was at Ristorante Sant’Antonino. This family-style restaurant is hidden at the top of a staircase of a small side street, over a rooftop garden nestled in the shade of lemon and orange trees and enveloped by a delicious citrusy aroma. The menu offers a lot of options, which is especially good if you have picky children like ours!

The girls loved this bite size town and we enjoyed many passeggiate (strolls) through the busy and narrow streets of Sorrento, while doing some souvenir shopping; mainly food and locally made Limoncello to bring back home with us. But as we came across a small sandal workshop I had to stop and look inside. One wall was lined with leather soles for bespoke orders and the other with ready-made sandals. Cagisa is a small family-run workshop, where husband and wife spend their days making the typical Capri style leather sandals perfectly tailored to your size. You can choose from a range of colours and designs or make your own. The girls and I spent half the afternoon chatting away with the owner and his wife while he was making our shoes and left with 2 pairs of custom sandals each!


Click here to read Part 2 of our roadtrip, where we visit Pompeii and keep driving south to start our discovery of the beautiful region of Puglia; my favourite and most inspirational part of the trip!

Ciao for now!

Latest Posts