Just across the Bay from Naples lies the Sorrentine Peninsula, perhaps the most stunning stretch of coastline anywhere in the world. With its beautiful location on the north coast of the peninsula, the small community of Sorrento is perfectly situated.
It is hard to imagine a more perfect setting than this.
Famous for its lemons and limoncello, Sorrento has much to offer its visitors and makes for a great base from which to explore the region. While there is certainly much more to do and see than I have listed here, this makes for a great start to experiencing this wonderful region of Italy.
Cathedral of Sorrento (Duomo)
With its beautiful clock tower, the Cathedral of Sorrento is easily recognizable and is centrally located on the Corso Italia, the main thoroughfare in the heart of Sorrento. The interior of the Duomo, as it is known, is in sharp contrast to the simple exterior of the church and treats visitors to some wonderful frescoes and a dramatic altar with a crucifixion above it. We were lucky enough to attend a mass in this beautiful cathedral and it is certainly worth a visit.
The old section of Sorrento is a wonderful place to get lost in its narrow streets and alleyways. Here you’ll discover colorful shops and quaint trattorias and the true essence of Sorrento.
Spend a few hours wandering this section of town and you’ll know why Sorrento is such a popular destination. The old town centre is home to numerous historical buildings including the Basilica of Sant’Antonino and the complex of San Francesco, which includes the church, cloister, and a convent.
Looking for a spot to just chill and relax for a bit? Grab a table at one of the café’s here on the Piazza Tasso and watch the coming and goings of Sorrento.
Piazza Tasso is undoubtedly the hub of activity in Sorrento and a great location to find a seat and get off your feet for a spell. The piazza is surrounded by shops, cafes, fruit stands and horse drawn carriages waiting to take visitors on a leisurely tour of Sorrento. It all makes for a non-stop symphony of colorful activity.
Day Trip to Pompeii or Herculeneum
Hop on the circumvesuvian train and in a quick thirty minutes or so you’ll be on the doorstep to Pompeii or Herculaneum. Spending some time at either of these archaeological sites is a must for any trip to the Sorrento area.
The famous ancient city of Pompeii is constantly unearthing new finds and it is fascinating to walk among the ruins of what was once a thriving community. Great views of Mount Vesuvius make one realize just how close to the mountain this community was and why there was no escaping its fury.
Head to the Amalfi Coast
If there is one thing that you must do when visiting Sorrento it’s head to the Amalfi Coast. Sorrento makes for a great base from which to do this and the SITA buses run throughout the day from Sorrento to Amalfi.
For a different approach hop on the ferry and get a unique look at Positano as you approach from the sea. The communities of Positano, Amalfi and Ravello are all beautiful and worthy of a visit. If time permits visiting only one then by all means make it Positano. This stunning seaside community is built right into the side of the mountain and offers a dramatic landscape.
The main attraction, however, is the famous Amalfi Drive which offers up some of the most amazing coastal scenery in the world.
Church of San Francesco
Find the Church and Cloister of San Francesco and admire its arches and architecture, which date back to the fourteenth century. A Convent and the Cloister are nearby and both were also dedicated to Saint Francis. Occasionally there are classical concerts held at the cloister in the evening during August and September if you happen to be lucky enough to be visiting when one is scheduled.
Marina Grande - Marina Piccola
Take a walk down to the Marina Grande and Marina Piccola for a different perspective on Sorrento. The easy walk down the cliff will be not so easy on the return trip but it’s worth the effort. Marina Piccola is the main port of Sorrento and where the ferries to and from Capri, Naples and Amalfi dock. Marina Grande is the old, former port of Sorrento that is now a quaint fishing village with excellent seafood restaurants and rustic homes and shops.
If you are planning a ferry trip to Capri or the Amalfi Coast while visiting Sorrento you may want to get your tickets early and familiarize yourself with the marina so you know where you are going when the time comes. While down here grab a bite to eat at one of the local eateries or watch the fisherman bringing in their catch of the day.