If you have decided to book a holiday in Sorrento, and you do not know what period to choose, listen to our advice and choose February! Maybe it will seem a risky choice, since Sorrento is famous for the sun, the sea and the summer life, but seeing it in winter, with less crowd and all its beauty entirely at your disposal, is a unique experience.
In fact, during winter, in February, the feast of the patron saint St. Anthony takes place in Sorrento.
About St. Anthony from Sorrento
The patron saint of Sorrento was born here. His name was Antonino Cacciottolo and he lived in the village of Campagna and in Sorrento, where he died on February 14th, 625.
This is the reason why, on St Valentine’s Day here in Sorrento they celebrate another saint: Sant’Antonino.
He became a monk when he was very young and then became one of the men of the bishop of Castellammare di Stabia who sent him back to his hometown. He became a hermit here, and then the abbot in the local Benedictine monastery. It seems he did miracles long before he died!
Two celebrations of St.Antonino in Sorrento
His town reminds him with two celebrations, both very heartfelt. The first takes place on February 14th and after the ritual masses and the anointing of the devotees with the holy oil, the relics of the patron are taken out of the wall of the crypt in which they rest – incorporated into the structure of the Basilica itself – and placed inside a 16th century silver statue.
So they are carried in procession to the sea, following a precise route that changes during the other feast.
This second one takes place on the first Sunday of May and involves, in fact, the part of the town that had been excluded in winter.
Also in this case, the evocative procession reaches the sea from where the fireworks will be fired at the end of the day.
Interesting things to know about this celebration
Some curiosities that could make tourists like you happy: Sant’Antonino loved his hometown so much that he wanted to be buried in Sorrento, but also loved his hermitage, which was outside the walls.
So at the time of death, not knowing what to decide, he asked to be buried “neither inside nor outside the walls of Sorrento”.
That is why his body lies in a niche carved into the same wall of the ancient convent, today part of the Basilica church.
The saint is credited with an important miracle: he would have saved a child from the assault of a “sea monster”.
It is not known what kind of fish it was, actually.
The huge tusk hanging inside the Basilica, as evidence of divine intervention against “the monster”, is not matched with any aquatic animal known today even though many claim it is a “whale bone”.