New Year’s Eve in Sorrento

Spending New Year’s Eve in Sorrento is something you should do at least once in your life: you will be overwhelmed by the beauty of the place but with less crowds and less noise. Christmas lights, popular songs, the “donkey” made of firecrackers are just some of the traditions that you can admire while walking around the centre of Sorrento and its surroundings.

Fireworks and the “ciuccio di fuoco”

Sorrento doesn’t settle for firing fireworks at midnight. The party starts much earlier, and ends long after the New Year arrives. And if the fireworks are an established international tradition, the Ciuccio di Fuoco is typically Sorrentine!


The Ciuccio di Fuoco, or “the fire donkey”, is an iron shape filled with firecrackers, rockets and torches. It has the shape of a donkey and is surmounted by a mannequin with the appearance of an old man who represents the old year now over. A few hours before midnight, the firecrackers are lit and they watch the Ciuccio and his rider disappears among a thousand explosions. In this ritual, the locals make their wishes for the future, “burning” the negativities of the past year.

After “sacrificing the donkey”, people go on the streets waiting for the arrival of the first day of the new year. Starting with the traditional fireworks at midnight.

Traditional New Year’s dishes in Sorrento

Sorrento has always had a rich culinary tradition that is not based only on fish. The fruits of the earth actively and abundantly participate in the Sorrento cuisine.

On the Sorrentine tables, on New Year’s Eve, fresh fruit is never lacking: tangerines, oranges, lemons (pride of the city!) and dried fruit. Sorrentine oil and excellent DOC wines compliment the holiday menu.

A New Year’s Eve dinner or lunch always opens with rich typical appetizers (cured meats, cheeses, local tomatoes) and continues with a first course with seafood, or with gnocchi alla sorrentina, or with the “maritata” soup, based on pork and vegetables. The typical second courses are the cuoppo fritto (fried fish), the octopus and potatoes and the Sorrentine scallops. And for dessert? The Sorrento zeppole, and the sapienze (the nuns’ sweets) accompanied by the inimitable limoncello.

What to do in Sorrento if it rains

If you chose Sorrento for your New Year’s holidays and it gets rainy, no problem. This magical city knows how to entertain its visitors even if it cannot offer sun and sea all year round. An umbrella and lots of curiosity will be enough to go and discover fascinating places.

Correale Museum

The Correale di Terranova Museum was born from the generosity of two noble brothers who donated their precious family collections to the city.

Here are exhibited ancient paintings (from the 15th to the 19th century), eighteenth-century furniture, refined porcelain and archaeological finds, as well as several manuscripts.

The Tarsia Lignea Museum

In the centre of Sorrento, a beautiful pink building houses handcrafted inlay woodwork dating from the 15th century to the early 20th century.

The art of joining wood to form colorful and time-resistant decorations has been the pride of Sorrento master craftsmen for centuries and this museum exhibits some of their best work.

Shopping 

The shops in Sorrento offer everything from crafts to good food. Buying a souvenir of the city is a must, but you can also do traditional shopping, window-shopping major brands in the very central Corso Italia, Via Correale and Piazza Tasso.

Visiting churches

The Sorrento churches are mostly of medieval origin, even if today their appearance has changed thanks to the restorations over the centuries. They are all beautiful and contain works of art that will allow you to spend even rainy days in beauty.

Visit the Cathedral of Santi Filippo and Giacomo, the monumental basilica of Sant’Antonino, the equally impressive San Paolo, the rich Sanctuary of the Carmine and the church of Santi Felice and Baccolo.

A visit, and perhaps a tasting, is a must at the Convent of Santa Maria della Sapienza where the famous Christmas sweets are born.

Visit a limoncello factory

There are several limoncello factories in and around Sorrento.

On a rainy day, instead of a walk by the sea, it’s a good idea to dedicate a few hours to a guided tour of one of them to follow the various stages of processing and refining the lemon juice on its path to becoming the excellent liqueur that makes Sorrento famous all over the world.

A visit, and perhaps a tasting, is a must at the Convent of Santa Maria della Sapienza where the famous Christmas sweets are born.

There will be markets and restaurants where you can treat yourself to a lunch or dinner based on local specialities.

Last but not least, there is the sea: walking on the beach in winter has a different, special, unforgettable ambiance. Imagine doing it on the evening of December 31st, with the sky illuminated by colourful fireworks.

To be part of the various initiatives or just to be able to move easily during your stay during New year’s eve in Sorrento, the best choice is to stay at one of our accommodation.

Hotel Central

Hotel Central

Hotel Cristina

Hotel Cristina Sorrento

Coltur Suites

Coltur Suites

Villa Cristina

Villa Cristina Sorrento