It’s important to honor the different cities, towns, and villages found in and around the Amalfi Coast. With this said, many people fail to recognise that the ‘Amalfitan Coast’, Sorrento, and Capri are all individual places. Each has its own unique way of life from culture to cuisine and for this reason, each should be independently explored.
If you’re planning a trip to the Amalfi Coast, you’ll undoubtedly be awaiting the glamour and picturesque scenes found in the most popular towns of Amalfi and Positano. However, there are many reasons why you should consider visiting Sorrento while in the region.
A Convenient Location
Sorrento is conveniently located in a prime position near Naples which makes traveling to and from the city extremely easy. You can choose to visit Sorrento from Naples via a high-speed train (taking under an hour) or, you can travel to the city from other larger cities including Rome and Florence. Sorrento makes an excellent base for those who want to explore the Campania region. From Naples international airport, you can reach Sorrento via a local bus service in just two hours and during the summer months, Sorrento is very well connected by the sea too. Its large port offers local departures to and from Naples, Ischia, Capri, and Amalfi 3 times a day.
Picturesque Sunset Panoramas: Sant’Agnello
As a high-cliff location, Sorrento is the perfect location for picturesque panoramas out across the Bay of Naples and across to the Amalfi Coast. There are a number of popular sunset spots, which offer the perfect setting to soak in the rays of the Mediterranean sun and watch the natural spectacle unfold. For a luxury sunset experience, head to the small nearby village of Sant’Agnello and visit La Marinella. Here you can enjoy a refreshing cocktail on the hotel’s terrace.
Piazza Tasso: Sorrento’s Meeting Spot
The main square in Sorrento, Piazza Tasso, is the town’s most energetic spot. A meeting place for locals, there is much to admire about the open square that was named after the 17th-century poet, Torquato Tasso. Framed beautifully by an array of pretty pastel-colored shops and cafes, this space also gives an insight into Sorrento’s history. The baroque Basilica Santuario del Carmine Maggiore is one of the most attractive buildings in the square, with its yellow and white stucco facade. Across from the church, you can see the deep gorge the piazza is built on, allowing you to witness the gaping chasm that runs through the town’s centre.
Deep Valley of The Mills: Unexpected Ancient History
Located in the heart of the town, lies a hidden treasure that is known as Il Vallone dei Mulini. This ancient and overgrown ruin located next to Piazza Tasso lies in a ravine surrounded by lush forestry. Because Sorrento’s landscape is formed of deep valleys carved out by water thousands of years ago, there are a number of gorges to see. If you look down into the floor of this narrow gorge an old flour mill that was used from the 900s can also be seen. For over a thousand years, the mill was in use before being abandoned in the 19th century. Today, this spectacular slice of history can be easily reached from Sorrento’s main square, giving an insight into ancient life here.
Marina Grande Harbour And Beach: The Oldest In The Town
The charming port of Sorrento, Marina Grande, has been the town’s connection to the sea for longer than 2,000 years. Dating back to the Roman era, it is still used to this day by fishermen. The traditional port sits perfectly tucked under the limestone cliffs of the old town. Nestled quietly from the energy of the main town centre, here you’ll find a calm pace of life where you can enjoy a swim. This is the town’s oldest marina and as such it still maintains much of its historical architecture. Enjoy a coffee or alfresco breakfast in one of the many sea-side restaurants here while viewing the fishing boats and fishermen at work.
Chiesa di San Francesco: Architectural Splendour
The ancient Chiesa di San Francesco originally stood as a place of private worshipping, however, during the 14th-century Franciscan Friars transformed it into a church for all. Founded in the early 8th-century, the church’s architectural style has been influenced and modified throughout history. While the exterior of the church takes on a less ornate style than the other buildings found in Sorrento, inside you will marvel at the splendour on display. On the top of the church, you’ll see a statue of the Immaculate Virgin which dates back to the 1500s, while the chapels are adorned with fine works of art which include depictions of Christ and St Francis. It is in the courtyards of the church, where true solace can be experienced, here interconnected stone archways and columns are naturally decorated with climbing plants marking the true power found in nature.
Bagni della Regina Giovanna: A Natural Pool
The Baths of Queen Giovanna (Bagni della Regina Giovanna) is the name given to a stunning pool of emerald water found in Sorrento. Surrounded by limestone cliffs and rocky landscape, this spot is certainly appealing to royalty. The protected natural pool features a natural archway formed by the cliffs leading out to the open sea. Named after Giovanna d’Angiò, it is said that the legendary queen from Naples used the secluded pool frequently. Today, the spot is perfect to escape the summer heat and enjoy a refreshing swim in the shallow waters. You can also follow the tip of the peninsula to explore the Roman ruins of a large Pavillion that dates back over 2,000 years.
What’s Sorrento Famous For?
Sorrento is most famous for its small boutique shops that sell local ceramics work and marquetry, also known as woodwork. These unique shops are often owned by families who have perfected their trades over the years and years. Each shop comes with its own unique charm and you’ll find them dotted all over the city.
Outside of its arts and crafts, there is much more that makes this town a must-visit. The Sorrentine Peninsula offers outstanding views across the Amalfi Coast, Naples, Mount Vesuvius, and Capri thanks to its prime cliff-top location. Add to this an abundance of locally-sourced limoncello, ancient historical sites, and stunning beach locations for a perfect insight into La Dolce Vita.