Legend has it that the seaside town of Sorrento, Italy, was originally founded by Odysseus to honor the mythological Sirens who took the form of mermaids and lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music. In the centuries since, countless visitors to the area have also been enticed by the beauty, culture and luxury that Sorrento has to offer.
Set on a cliff in the Bay of Naples, Sorrento is a perfect destination for enjoying all that this part of Italy has to offer. Greek, Roman and Spanish roots give Sorrento an international flavor, while blues and greens from the shimmering sea interplay with colorful orange and lemon groves and colorful palazzi and noble buildings. Look out over the bay and spot Mt. Vesuvius in one direction and the island of Capri in the other. Don’t forget to sample limoncello, a tasty citrus-flavored digestif that originated here and is now one of Italy’s most popular liqueurs.
Planning Your Trip
Temperatures in Sorrento are tolerable year round, though the average highs in the summer months reach the mid- to high 80s. Late spring and early fall are lovely months to travel without encountering the bigger crowds in the summer tourist season.
You’ll likely arrive in Naples en route to Sorrento. From Naples, the fast hydrofoil boat can get you by water to Sorrento. Rent a car only if you’re confident navigating the winding coastal roads; otherwise, take a taxi or hire a driver. For a truly high-end experience, you can travel within Sorrento via limousine.
Places to Visit
Several churches are worth visiting in Sorrento, and at first glance, the unassuming exterior may not make the Duomo appear to be one of them. But this cathedral, which dates back to the 11th century, boasts a gorgeous interior with ceiling paintings, an ornate nativity scene and artwork throughout that makes it a must-see stop. The small chapel at the back of the cathedral is open for Mass should you wish to experience a service.
Sorrento’s main square is perfect for people watching while getting a drink at one of the many bars situated around the perimeter. The streets surrounding the piazza are on a grid that mirrors the original Roman settlement’s roads and offer fun shops and charming cafés to explore.
From this lovely garden, you can get excellent views of the bay and Mt. Vesuvius, known for its tragic eruption that decimated nearby Pompeii in 79 A.D. Get a drink and enjoy the scene; after relaxing a bit you can choose to walk down stairs to the Marina or visit the nearby Cloisters that also feature colorful gardens and pretty archways.
Gardens of Cataldo
Sorrento provides an ideal climate for lemons and other citrus fruits, and this family-owned garden and farm store makes the limoncello that the area is known for as well as a variety of other liqueurs, candies and jams. Don’t leave without buying some limoncello-flavored gelato to enjoy on the shaded terrace.
Bagni della Regina Giovanna
This pretty lagoon area is actually the ruins of an ancient Roman villa and swimming area; it sits just a 20-minute walk from Sorrento (or you can take a bus for just a couple of Euros). The hike down to the small cove takes another 15 minutes and is steep, so make sure you’ve got suitable footwear and are up for taking the steps. Though the area is rugged and doesn’t offer a lot of amenities, the endeavor is well worth it. There’s a small snack bar if you need a bite to eat or a drink after your walk.
Need more help planning the perfect trip to Sorrento? We can help you find the ideal place to stay and can advise you on places to see both inside the town and nearby, like a tour to the ruins of Pompeii. Contact us to begin planning your custom Mediterranean experience!