A city of unquestionable charm.
Positioned on a tufaceous terrace on the Gulf of Naples, praised since ancient times by poets and celebrated for its beauty in numerous and famous songs, is Sorrento, the most famous city of the Sorrento coast.
It’s no coincidence that since ancient times, thanks to the mild climate, the crystalline sea and a very fertile territory, it has been chosen as an ideal holiday resort and still continues to be preferred, having the certainty that you will spend unforgettable holidays thanks to its breathtaking views, an uncontaminated landscape characterized by gardens and citrus groves.
Above all, the characteristic historical center, testimony of the architectural tradition of the place represented by tarsia and lace.
Sorrento is a city of a thousand surprises that gives continuous emotions to the visitor: there are indeed many places to visit.
First of all there is Vallone dei Mulini, place of great naturalistic charm.
This deep opening in the rock originated around 35,000 years ago, following a violent eruption of Campi Flegrei.
Subsequently, due to the processes of erosion caused by the water, it gradually began to affect the tufaceous basement.
The name of the valley derives from the large mill used until the early 1900s to grind the wheat, of which the ruins can still be admired.
However, even if it’s the best preserved valley of the Peninsula, today you can only admire the central part that develops from Piazza Tasso to the villa La Rupe and from there to the Porta degli Anastasi.
The visit then continues moving to the center, where you must necessarily make a stop at the Correale Museum.
This museum, located in Villa alla Rota, eighteenth-century residence of the Counts Correale of Terranova, was then donated by the brothers Alfredo and Pompeo Correale to the city of Sorrento along with the family collections in order to create a museum open to everyone.
Today you can admire a unique collection of minor arts from the ‘600 and’ 700 as well as numerous Greek, Roman and medieval archaeological finds.
Going into the center, you will find the monumental complex of San Francesco d’Assisi, formed by the church, the cloister and the monastery, whose interior which consists of a single nave characterized by sumptuous plaster decorations, preserves a seventeenth-century wooden statue of San Francesco while on the main altar there is a painting dating back to 1735 by Antonio Gamba, a pupil of the famous painter and architect Solimena, who represents Saint Francis receiving the stigmata.
After visiting the church of San Francesco, you will find the main square of the city: Piazza Tasso dedicated to the most famous citizen of Sorrento, Torquato Tasso, adorned with the statue of Sant’Antonino Abate, patron saint of the city and crossed by the lively Corso Italia.
Not to be skipped is the Basilica di Sant’Antonino, dedicated to the patron of the city, built in the year one thousand but over the centuries it has assumed a Baroque character.
Very interesting is the presence at the entrance of the basilica, of two cetacean bones that recall the most famous miracle accomplished by Sant’Antonino: having saved a child who had been swallowed by a whale.
Inside, the central body is divided into three naves and separated by twelve columns from Roman villas, while the ceiling of the central nave is decorated with paintings by Giambattista Lama.
Another building of great architectural beauty is the Duomo di Sorrento where you can admire the marvelous lateral marble portal that shows in the architrave the coat of arms of Sixtus IV, of the house of Aragon and of the Archbishop De Angelis.
Very interesting is the Sedile Dominova, a small building with a square plan in the center of Sorrento which is the only testimony of the ancient noble seats in Campania, ie the ancient medieval institutions responsible for the administration of the res pubblica.
When you visit Sorrento, you cannot skip visiting the picturesque seaside village.
It is accessed by crossing a stone-paved road through the ancient Greek Gate.
Marina Grande is truly a place full of the charm of the fishing villages of the past characterized by colorful houses, boats and nets pulled ashore.
Some will remember this village thanks to the famous movie starring Vittorio De Sica and Sofia Loren “Pane, Amore, e …”, but it is above all a favorite place for many as it is surrounded by typical bars, restaurants and spas.
Instead, Marina Piccola is the port of Sorrento, an important port of hydrofoils and ferries, and it is not far from the central Piazza Tasso.
Once, this port was located in a wonderful bay and it was called Marina di Capo Cervo from the name of the promontory that dominates it.
The subsequent works for its construction, then gave it the appearance that it has today, while only a small chapel dedicated to Santa Maria de Soccorso and the souls of Purgatory, in memory of its original structure, remain.
Visiting all these places will obviously make many people hungry.
In fact, visiting Sorrento is something to experience at 360° since the city is also known for the many delicacies it has to offer.
Sorrentine gastronomy is based on an ancient tradition based on respect for the quality and genuineness of raw materials, which will conquer anyone at the first taste.
These are unique products, foods with an unmistakable taste, which make Sorrentine cooking, one of the most appreciated as it manages to blend the flavors and aromas of the sea with those of the mountains.
Typical dish that you cannot avoid trying are the “gnocchi alla sorrentina” a type of pasta topped with tomato, basil and stringy fiordilatte, or delicious cannelloni with ricotta, boiled lobster or cooked in tomato, eggplant parmigiana, sautéed or fried shrimp and octopus in casserole.
These are simple dishes with an explosive flavor to accompany with some white or red Sorrento.
Last but not least, the local bakery, characterized by a main product: citrus fruits.
You can then enjoy an exquisite sorbet with limoncello, a delight with lemon (sponge cake coated and filled with soft lemon cream) or a limoncello flavored baba.
Obviously after a rich lunch, there is nothing better than a good limoncello to digest your meal, which comes served cold in small glasses, or a nocino, another typical liqueur of Sorrento.
In short, a city to taste!
Thanks Grace for your lovely review about our Hotel Cristina:
A lovely stay in Sorrento at Hotel Cristina (English version at the bottom of the page).
Looking forward to have you again as our guest!
Sorrento is a town located in the Province of Napoli in the South-Western of Campania region. The town was built on cliffs over looking the Mediterranean Sea. The most spectacular views can be seen from every where you drive or walk. Cars can pull off to the sides of streets so people can take the pictures of their dreams.
The summer starts in May with daily temperatures rising in the high 20’s celsius or high 70’s fahrenheit. The nights cool down 10 degrees. During the peak summer months of July and August the weather goes into the mid to high 30’s celsius or high 80’s fahrenheit.
The town has so much architectural buildings, churches, shops, cafes, ice cream parlors and restaurants. You may sit inside the air conditioning or sit outside on the terraces. The nights are comfortable after sun set. The views over looking the sea whether in the day or watching the sunset are breath taking.
The beaches are small and get crowed, however, the sea is calm and wonderful for swimming. The beaches have dark sand or small pebbles,rather than the typical beige sand. The mountains are filled with lemon gardens and olive tree groves. The old town is very historic with narrow streets that were built by the Romans and are attainable only by foot.
The Correale museum was built by two brothers that came from one of the first families of Sorrento and it has an assortment of great neapolitan exhibits.
The main street that crosses all of Sorrento and the neighboring towns called Corso Italia is closed off to vehicles in the summer evenings, therefor there are many pedestrians walking safely on the street watching freelance performers, having ice cream, coffee, desserts or a great glass of wine while eating and watching all the events.
While visiting Sorrento you will have the opportunity to visit the nearby paradise of Italy which is the Amalfi Coast. The town of Positano and Amalfi are also built over cliffs and are far to beautiful to even describe. The buildings are colorful, the shops are quaint and the fresh ice cream and coffee smells will keep you energized. Sorrento is also close to Pompei, where you can visit the ruins.
Sorrento is also a one hour train ride to the beautiful city of Napoli. The history that lays behind these towns are so presently seen through the building and streets of bricks. The narrow roads where only horses were able to pass are still well kept and standing strong with stone walls and streets.
Small cars can sometimes drive through these streets by tucking-in their side mirrors. This is why scooters are countless. They can surpass traffic and drive through any small alley or street. It has become the most practical and easiest way to arrive at a destination.
Off the coast of Sorrento there are two beautiful prestigious islands to visit. Capri is a 30 minute hydrofoil or ferry ride over. The departures leave from the Sorrrento Marina. You may simply take the trip over or buy an all exclusive package that will give you an organized tour of the Island. The other Island is Ischia, which is a 50 minute ride over. This Island is like a little town built on a larger rock sitting in the middle of the crystal clear mediterranean sea. Both these Islands are well worth to see.