My love of all things lemon definitely began with my first trip to the Amalfi Coast. At the time, I had no idea that lemons were such a thing in that region. That said, I will never forget the first time I tried lemon risotto, lemon leaf wrapped mozzarella, or lemon chocolate... just wow! I was shocked at not only the huge size of the lemons of the Amalfi Coast, but also their district and sweet flavor.
Let's just say that the lemons of the Amalfi Coast are famous for a reason. They're not like regular lemons, they're cool lemons!
Lemons originally made their way to the Amalfi Coast (just like pasta) through the region's extensive trade with the Byzantine and Abbasid empires of the east. The original lemon was much smaller and more bitter. Overtime, local farmers crossed the fruit with indigenous oranges and other local citruses in an attempt to create a more edible and pleasant fruit sailors could eat on their sea voyages to help prevent scurvy. As the Amalfi maritime empire wained and gave way to more powerful kingdoms in Italy, the lemon became the region's most important agricultural product as farmers learned how to grow these special lemons in the arid and rocky terrain of the region. Today, lemons remain one of the region's leading industries and these gorgeous lemons are still farmed with traditional techniques.
Obviously, with such a rich and important history, it is vital that you have some sort of lemon experience when visiting the Amalfi Coast. I always stay in Sorrento for its convenient and strategic location (you can read more of my Amalfi Coast tips here), but sadly, I never really do much in Sorrento. It is a great town and I really should appreciate and explore it more. So when Cassandra (of Travel Italian Style) mentioned there was a lemon orchard and farm when could visit in the middle of Sorrento, I was down!
The Cataldo Garden has an orchard and factory in the middle of Sorrento and you can easily visit both in a morning or afternoon. The orchard is actually a public park where they do small and quick tastings (the entrance is at the intersection of via Bartolomeo Capasso and via Bernadino Rota). If you want a more in depth lemon experience, you can do the factory tour and more extensive tasting at their factory (via Correale, 27). The farm is family run and operated and they are super sweet, like their lemons lol. Kate and I spent a couple hours there tasting everything, learning about how they make all of their lemon products, and taking photos. It really is a fun and unique experience, and I highly recommend it!