Sorrento is a beautiful town in Southern Italy’s Campania region, in a wonderful location on the Amalfi coast, presiding over scenic white steep cliffs. It offers unrivalled views of the Gulf of Naples and Salerno and is close to the island of Capri and historic site of Pompeii. Its natural beauty and accessibility mean that it’s popular, both with local and foreign visitors. Expect to find classy Italian style, chaotic driving and relaxed carefree attitudes, but not necessarily peace and tranquility – unless you know where to look!
Many historic locations by the sea cliffs are now occupied by a mixture of older characterful and modern hotels that offer both exclusivity and exquisite views – the prices can be high but the accommodation and private beaches are well worth the extra expense.
Walking through the town is an experience to be savoured. Roman inscriptions still adorn the modern streets, which seem to be untouched by the passage of time. Via S. Cesareo and scenic squares such as Piazza Antica and Piazza Tasso at the heart of Sorrento are examples that you’ll come across. Greeks, Romans, Byzantians, Ottomans and Spaniards occupied the town in the past and have all left their mark, adding to its present day splendour.
Shopping is fun here, with Sorrento offering some of the keenest prices and selections on the Amalfi Coast.. Choose from locally produced lace, table linen or hand-crafted pottery. For some real bargains visit the colourful Tuesday market.
Hiking along the walled paths dividing the valley to the East with outstanding views of the countryside and the sea is recommended. It’s especially lovely during hazy, dew-filled spring mornings when nature comes alive. You should be able to spot the amazing local large lemons and fragrant oranges for which the region is famous.
The food is wonderful here, with lovely fish restaurants along the waterfront and many typical eateries spread throughout the town. The region is famous for the different varieties of gelato (Italian-style ice cream, usually fruity and low in fat), limoncello, a very tasty lemon rind digestif (liqueur) and other lemon products such as lemon chocolate.
If you’re looking for some peace, silence and relaxation in, or close to the town, you can find it at the local monastery garden, the municipal and museum gardens and at private hotel beaches.
Day trips and short excursions from Sorrento are varied. You can choose from the pretty nearby fishing harbour Marina Grande with its many beachside restaurants. You could also hop on the Circumvesuviana narrow-gauge train line, connecting towns to the south-east of Naples. Its tracks circumvent the base of Mount Vesuvius and go past locations such as Pompeii and Herkulaneum. Additionally, you can visit Ischia and Procida by speedboat, even Capri from Sorrento’s Marina Piccola. For a unique driving experience, the Amalfi Drive curves along steep cliffs with unrivalled views to the Tyrrhenian Sea and also goes through Salerno and spectacular Postitano.
Posted : Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 at 12:57
Karen Bryan is the founding editor of the UK based, multi author Europe a la Carte Blog which features Europe travel tips about the best places to visit in Europe.