Sorrento: A Long and Magical history
Since the gilded age of the Italian Grand Tour, Sorrento has been one of the most popular destinations in Italy. With picturesquely soaring cliffs above the waters of the Mediterranean, a vibrant old town chock-full of shops and restaurants, and a strategic position between Mount Vesuvius and the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento has attracted thousands, if not millions, of tourists every year for over a century.
How to Get to Sorrento
Sorrento is not located on the Amalfi Coast, but instead on the Sorrentine Peninsula in the region of Campania in southern Italy between the Bay of Naples and the famed coastline. This historic resort town is often chosen as a base to visit all the A-list sights in the surrounding area, from the Amalfi Coast towns of Positano, Amalfi and Ravello to the island of Capri (home of the Blue Grotto) and Ischia and the archaeological sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Sorrento is a convenient jumping-off point for boat tours to Italy's Amalfi Coast or the Isle of Capri, as well as sightseeing day trips along the coastal roads. The local Circumvesuviana train line, ferries, and an airport shuttle bus (Curreri) all run between Naples (Napoli) and Sorrento. To travel between Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, you can take the Sita bus or a ferry. Sorrento is also relatively well-connected to both Rome and Salerno by public transport for those arriving from farther afield.
What to See in Sorrento
Sorrento is the perfect town for a day trip, and can easily be visited in just one day of free time or with full-day guided tours. Join a walking tour or simply stroll down the narrow lanes in the old town, sip an espresso while watching the world go by in the bustling main Piazza Tasso, and pause to see the stunning views from the panoramic cliffside overlook in the public Villa Comunale gardens.
In between browsing the tiny boutiques and artisan shops lining the streets of the historic center, you can also pop into a number of landmark historic churches like the Cathedral and Basilica di Sant'Antonino, admire palaces dating from the Middle Ages, and take in the ancient city walls that were built to protect the center from marauders.
- Top Sorrento Museums
- Museo Correale: the personal collection of the Counts of Terranova is still housed in this family residence. Artworks, Roman and ancient artifacts, and Capodimonte porcelains dating from the 1700s form the heart of the collection.
- Museo della Tarsia Lignea: the art of wood inlay is one of the most historic crafts on the Sorrentine Peninsula, and you can learn about the history and evolution of this local artform and view a number of elaborate works in this collection.
- Villa Fiorentino: the rooms in this villa dating from the 1930 house exhibits of modern art and other events dedicated to local artisan traditions organized by the Fondazione Sorrento.
Shopping in Sorrento
If you want to bring back some souvenirs, Sorrento offers excellent shopping. Along the main thoroughfare of Corso Italia, there are a number of boutiques and clothing shops, while the lanes of the historic center from Via San Cesareo extending outwards are lined in wood inlay workshops, leather shops, Limoncello shops, and gourmet shops.
- What to Buy in Sorrento
- A bottle of Limoncello
- An inlaid wood jewelry or music box
- Leather jackets or bags
What to Eat in Sorrento
Restaurants, cafés, gelato shops, delis, bakeries, wine bars...you have unlimited options for dining and imbibing in Sorrento. For an espresso or aperitivo cocktail, the trendiest bars and cafés are those lining Piazza Tasso, the town's busy main square. Grab a street-side table here to people-watch while you relax.
For a fish or seafood dinner, walk down to the fishing hamlet of Marina Grande, where you can choose between casual eateries and chic restaurants all set along the water's edge.
- Three dishes to try in Sorrento
- Gnocchi alla sorrentina
- Spaghetti with clams