Day 1 in Sorrento
Welcome to beautiful Sorrento, tucked away on the beautiful Amalfi Coast. Travelers can get to this popular seaside destination in a variety of ways: by ferry, plane or land. Upon arrival, make your transfer to your destination, arrive at your hotel, check in and do not give in to jet lag! There is so much for you to see and do.
Start your afternoon strolling through the streets of town. Sorrento`s centro storico (historic center) is a maze of narrow streets which run back from the cliffside. These medieval alleyways twist and turn past bars and shops, and are great to explore hidden churches, flower-filled gardens or find a great spot to enjoy lunch. And don`t forget the gelateria scattered across town, or you can make you own gelato at Gelateria Davide.
Along with the usual tourist shops there`s also an artisan district in Sorrento where you can buy local crafts from workshops which make lace, leather or intarsia, a special type of inlaid wood carvings that are popular to Sorrento. To find out more about the wood-carving and see some impressive examples, visit the Museo Bottega della Tarsia Lignea in an 18th century palazzo.
The Museo Bottega della Tarsia Lignea (Wooden Marquetry Shop-Museum) is an art with a long history in Sorrento, and you`ll see examples in its churches artisan shops throughout town. In this 18th-century patrician mansion that is richly decorated in frescoes and hand-painted wallpapers, you`ll find inlaid wooden furniture, boxes, and pictures created by Sorrento`s 19th-century marquetry masters, as well as exhibits on the art.
Afterward, take a dip in the Bay. Sorrento doesn`t have a beach, but along the waterfront there are piers jutting out into the sea where you can swim or sunbathe in summer. Most are owned by hotels or restaurants so you might have to buy a drink or hire a deckchair to get a prime spot. There are also a few patches of sand in between where you can dip your feet in the Bay of Naples.
The two harbors, Marina Grande and Marina Piccola, stretch alongside the steep coast. From the busy Piazza Tasso, Sorrento`s main hub of activity, a road runs down to Marina Piccola, where the tourist boats come in. Here, you`ll find ferries and boat tours.
Several of the Sorrento coast`s nearly two dozen beaches are close to the Marina Grande. Marina Piccola is more interesting for tourists. Its waterfront has a boardwalk atmosphere, lined by seafood restaurants and terraces overlooking the water, and if you step away from the beach and swimming piers lined with sunbathers, you`ll find a little fishing village. Fishermen still unload their boats here in the morning to supply the restaurants.
As day turns into night, stay close to the water to catch the sunset, one of the biggest charms in Sorrento. When the sun goes down, the bustle of Sorrentine life stops as people gather along the cliffs to watch the sun dip into the sea. Head to the Villa Communale Park for the best views in Sorrento, looking across the bay towards Vesuvius. The park is directly above the Marina Grande, and views are down into the busy harbor filled with colorful boats. Beyond, looking east across the Gulf of Naples is Mount Vesuvius. Looking west, the view is toward the rocky point of Capo di Sorrento. A lift will whisk you from Villa Comunale down to the marina below, or you can take the winding pathway.
Finish your day at one of the many delicious restaurants in town feasting on the local specialties. Food and drink are an important part of life in Sorrento and this definitely shows in their dishes. Renowned for its seafood, the jewel in Sorrento`s culinary crown is the wonderful shellfish. One of the most popular dishes is Spaghetti e Vongole (spaghetti with clams) and also Frittura di Calamari and gamberi (lightly floured calamari and fresh shrimp). Many restaurants are often open late, and dining late is very common. Piazza Tasso has many cafes with outdoor seating, great for people-watching.
Finish off dinner by sipping on a Limoncello liqueur. Lemons are big business in Sorrento. They grow in pots or gardens wherever there`s space as well as in huge netted orchards on the outskirts. There`s even a local variety of giant lemons which are the size of a grapefruit. These lemons are made into soaps and bath oils, but their most famous use is in limoncello liqueur. Limoncello is made by soaking lemon peel in alcohol. It`s usually served chilled as a digestive after dinner, and at about 32% alcohol it has a bit of a kick. If the real deal is a bit strong for you, you can also find a gentler limoncello-flavoured gelato to give you the taste without the alcohol.
Day 2 in Sorrento
Wake up early continuing exploring beautiful Sorrento. If you are in town on a market day (every Tuesday), head to Via San Renato to the open-air market. This colorful market is a perfect place to taste the local flavor of life and grab some unique souvenirs in the process.
Spend some time discovering the Cloister of San Francesco. The monastery dedicated to St. Francis dates back to the early 8th century, and its highlight is the late 13th-century cloister. On two sides are crosses arches of Tufa, and the other two have round arches above octagonal columns. The adjoining church dates to the 16th century.
Learn more about the area with a visit to the Correale di Terranova Museum. Here you can enjoy an excellent fine arts collection from the many houses of the Correale family in Naples and Sorrento. It has described as `the most beautiful provincial museum of Italy.` Its collections are also known for European porcelains, Bohemian and Murano glass, reliefs from the Augustan era, furniture, and Neapolitan paintings. The gardens on the villa grounds are beautiful and also open to walk around.
Also make sure to explore the churches in town. The Basilica of Sant`Antonino, named after Sorrento`s patron saint, is the town`s oldest church. The interior offers Roman artifacts, dark medieval paintings, gilded ceiling, and the two whale ribs in the lobby by the front door. The story is that the much-loved saint performed numerous miracles, including one in which he rescued a child from a whale`s stomach. The saint`s bones lie beneath the baroque interior in the 18th-century crypt.
Also spend some time admiring the Cathedral and Bell Tower. From its early 15th-century beginnings through the early 20th century, Sorrento`s Cathedral of San Filippo and San Giacomo has been remodeled and updated continually, but the 1474 Renaissance side door remains. So does the 12th-century base of the older bell tower, where you can make out classic and Byzantine capitals on the columns. The upper tower was rebuilt or cut to its current dimensions in the 15th century. The interior also represents its continued growth over the years that with paintings from the Neapolitan school and beautiful wood marquetry by contemporary artisans.
Complete your afternoon with a swim at Bagni della Regina Giovanna (Baths of Queen Giovanna), that for a long time were erroneously identified with those of the villa of Pollio Felice (a member of a wealthy family from Pozzuoli). Located at the point of Capo di Sorrento are the ruins of a Roman villa, the Villa Pollio Felice, and one of the unique things to do in Sorrento is to swim in the beautiful natural pool below it.
Separated from the sea by a rock arch, the pool is surrounded by steep rock cliffs. You can get here by boat or by a path from the road (it`s a half-hour walk from the center of town); a walkway leads across the bridge formed by the natural arch. Although there are plenty of beaches in Sorrento, swimming here is an unforgettable experience!
After another busy day of sightseeing and activity, grab a relaxing bite to eat and head back to your hotel for a restful night sleep.
Additional Days in Sorrento
Should you be able to spend additional days in Sorrento continue exploring the sights of the Amalfi Coast by taking a tour outside the town. Sorrento is a perfect base for full day trips throughout the Bay of Naples region.
Take a trip to Pompeii from Sorrento to visit the ruins of the Thermal Baths, Veti`s House and other Pompeii highlights. A guided tour will provide added explanation of the area and explain the history of the area.
Another great option is a tour of the Amalfi Coast to enjoy the spectacular scenery from the coastal roads while making leisurely stops in the beautiful villages on your way, taking time to stroll through these villages.
Your Last Day In Sorrento
Depart your hotel for the airport for your return home. We recommend that you purchase a private transfer, if so a representative will meet you at the hotel in time to take you to the airport for your flight out.