This isn’t click bait. I Giardini di Cataldo is literally the most picturesque, quaint, hidden gem of a cafe in Sorrento. The best cafe in Sorrento, in my humble opinion. I read about it briefly on a travel blog that I can’t, for the life of me, find again. When we went to visit, we walked straight past it. Twice. When you do make it through the door, the smell of lemons hits you before anything else. From oils and pasta to gelato and limoncello, this cafe sells everything lemon. What makes it so special is what most people miss – the beautiful lemon orchard out the back. It isn’t signposted, and if I hadn’t read about it then I would probably have just stayed at the front of the cafe, quietly enjoying an afternoon coffee.
The waiter served us with the biggest smile before we made our way out to the back garden. On a sunny afternoon in April, we had it to ourselves. Chairs and tables are laid out beneath a wooden gazebo, while lemon trees stretch away as far as the eye can see. Sun-yellow lemons hang like baubles from the twisted branches above, the floor littered with those that haven’t been picked in time.
I couldn’t have imagined a nicer place to rest our feet after a day exploring the town. Even though it’s on the main road, we felt a million miles away from the coach tours and mayhem that can clog up the streets of Sorrento. The afternoon sun danced through the leaves, as though the lemons themselves were dripping with yellow. My black coffee was velvet-smooth and Ben’s lemon ice cream was sharp but sweet. The plastic chairs and tables were dusty, but it only added to the charm of the place.
If you want to visit I Giardini di Cataldo, do so when the sun is shining and your legs need a rest. It’s located on the main road Via Correale, just 30 seconds from the bus station. Head towards the town centre and it’s on your left. This makes it perfectly located just outside of Piazza Tasso and the hectic backstreets. If you’re lucky, you might just have the place to yourselves.