Sorrento is a chic and elegant sea-side town with many shops, cafes and restaurants. The Corso Italia is the main street through Sorrento and one part of it is newly pedestrianised. This has led to the old bars and street-cafes spreading out with more tables and chairs outside creating a buzzing, family orientated nightlife. New restaurants and bars are springing up all over and some of them stay open until the early hours but there is never any noise or rowdiness in Sorrento whatsoever.
The Corso Italia is a very pleasant place for a stroll, or passeggiata, now that the traffic is gone along with the scream of motor scooters and bikes. Street entertainers often perform here and musicians, dancers, singers and human statues keep us all entertained for free. The locals often start their passeggiata in the early evening especially at weekends and usually wear their finest clothes while stopping for ice cream or a glass of wine along the way. Whole families including great grandparents, parents, children in prams and dogs on leads walk the walk around Sorrento. A couple of years ago, a local man stopped to talk to me with a freshly bought ice cream in his hand. He looked resplendent in his tight red trousers, immaculate tailored jacket with padded shoulders, plucked eyebrows, bling, designer sunglasses and his jet-black hair was slicked back with hair gel – he was 85 years old!
One renowned restaurant on the pedestrianised part of the Corso Italia is O’Parrucchiano. Almost everyone walks straight past the unimposing entrance without a second glance, and has no idea it exists, yet the staircase opens up into a beautiful and huge restaurant with tables in the garden which is full of lemon trees and flowers.
Wine can be very cheap in Sorrento especially in the supermarkets and you can expect to pay about €5 s for a glass of house wine in a café or bar. A favourite local wine is Lacryma Christi (Tears of Christ,) grown on the super-abundant slopes of Vesuvius. There are several variations of the old story but it’s said that when God was floating over Vesuvius on a cloud, he saw the spectacular views and wept tears of joy. The tears fertilised the ground to grow the grapes to make the delicious wine.
A favourite liqueur in Sorrento is Limoncello and you can buy locally produced bottles everywhere especially Via San Cesareo which is a narrow and mainly traffic-free street running parallel with the pedestrianised part of the Corso Italia. Limoncello flavoured chocolates are also incredibly popular along with ice cream or gelato. This area is known as the "old town" and sometimes affectionately called “The Drains” by tourists although not by the locals. It’s a warren of narrow alleys, packed with cafes and restaurants. It is well worth looking at some of the prices on the menu boards because most of them can be very reasonably priced. Of course, there are restaurants in Sorrento to suit every budget and some of them are Michelin starred, and some have spectacular sea views.
There are also clothes shops everywhere including superb leather goods, hand-made shoes and artisan workshops producing traditional inlaid wood and ceramics. Sorrento has it all!
Keep coming back to this website for more views, news, updates and advice about sizzling Sorrento.
To see my photos of Sorrento please see the link to my Flickr page at the end of my blog profile.
Sorrento is a city of orange and lemon trees and boasts the most spectacular views of Mount Vesuvius and the Bay Of Naples. It’s known as the land of Mermaids, mysteries, myths and legends where Ulysses was tormented by the Sirens sweetly singing.
As well as a beautiful holiday destination in its own right, Sorrento also has great transport links to Pompeii, Herculaneum and Naples; the Amalfi Coast, the Sorrento Peninsula and the Islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida. In 1544 the poet, Torquato Tasso, was born in Sorrento and the main square in the centre of town, Piazza Tasso, was named after him.
The famous song, "Torna a Surriento", or (Come Back To Sorrento), was written here in 1902 by Ernesto De Curtis. His brother, Giambattista De Curtis, wrote the words. The Hotel Tramontano, on the cliff overlooking Marina Piccola, has a plaque on the wall where the song was allegedly written. It’s said that the enchanting views of Sorrento inspired him to write the song.
The Greeks founded Sorrento in the 6th century BC and called it “Surreo” which means to “flow together” and it may refer to the flow of the two ancient rivers. The Greeks laid the foundations of the city before the Romans built over it and called it “Surrentum.” It was occasionally known as “Sirrentum” which means, "Land of the Sirens". The term "Surriento" is still used to this day in Neapolitan dialect. The layout of the historic centre of Sorrento has not changed much since Roman times and it was united with the Kingdom of Italy in the year 1861.
No visit to Sorrento is complete without a meander around the Marina Grande. The marina is a working fishing village with a small coarse-pebble beach lined with swish restaurants and cafes. It has great sunsets and crimson streaks often adorn the sky as the sun goes down. The beguiling lap of the waves against the shore gives the marina a timeless rhythm as you tuck into delicious pasta, pizza, meat or fish dishes.
There are buses to the Marina Grande and three walking routes. You can walk down the old path between Hotel Bellevue Syrene and Hotel Continental. After about ten minutes, turn right at the bottom and go down the steps, walk through the 2500 year old Greek Gate and you are almost there. Or you can go down the staircase to the left of the hospital on the newly pedestrianised part of the Corso Italia and keep going straight ahead until you arrive at the Greek Gate. You can also walk down the bus route but it’s not as pleasant as the other two routes.
I hope you enjoy every minute of your Sorrento visit and if you want to see even more pictures of Sorrento, Ischia, the Amalfi Coast and the whole area click here to see my photo album on Flickr - see my profile for the link.
My name's Eddie Best. I'm from the North-East of England and a self-confessed Sorrentophile. After countless visits to Sorrento and the surrounding area I'm here to share my knowledge and insight to hopefully enrich your upcoming trip. You can also see my photos of Sorrento and the surrounding area on my Flickr page here.