‘Picture Perfect!’ That’s what anyone who’s been to the idyllic Sorrento Coast has to say about this popular Italian destination. Located in Southern Italy, this seaside resort is dotted with rolling green hills bursting with the fragrance of flowers and lemons, cobbled pathways and breath-taking views of Mount Vesuvius and the bay of Naples. Small wonder, it was the preferred destination for famous stalwarts such as Dickens, Shelley, Goethe and Nietzsche.
Soak in the Sights at Marina Grande
Marina Grande is a long, sandy stretch and the closest you’ll get to a beach in Sorrento. Reaching this traditional fishing village involves a long steep walk down ancient steps and passages lined with bougainvillea, which makes the journey well worth the effort. But, for those who find the walk too tedious, there’s a regular bus service to get you right there.
Marina Grande is also the best location to make the most of your camera’s memory. As yet untouched by the ravages of the modern world, the harbour is lined with pastel coloured houses outside which hang the day’s laundry. The azure blue sea is dotted with the gentle bobbing of brightly-coloured wooden boats, while its shores are busy with fishermen hauling in the day’s catch from their nets. You can join the locals and other tourists lounging on bathing decks shaded by colourful umbrellas, or enjoy the stunning views of Naples and Vesuvius in the horizon, dining on a selection of traditional snacks and fresh fish dishes at one of the several restaurants and cafes.
Delve into History at Duomo Cathedral
Going back in time as far back as the 11th century, the Duomo Cathedral is also known as the Cathedral of San Filippo and San Giacomo. Situated in the centre of the town, this cathedral is a work of art characterised by a magnificent exterior fresco, a majolica clock, a triple-tiered bell tower and four classical columns. It was rebuilt in the Romanesque style during the 15th century and is a famous Sorrento landmark.
The interior of the cathedral are equally stunning and consist of three naves that are separated by pillars and ornate carvings on the ceiling. It houses some rare 14th century bas-reliefs and paintings from the 17th century by artists of the Neapolitan school. Marvel at the 16th century archbishop’s throne in marble, as well as the beautifully inlaid woodwork on the choir stalls in the intarsio style, which a Sorrentine artisan tradition.
Explore Surrounding Coastal Towns
If you have more time on your hands, why not take a day trip to the nearing towns of Amalfi and Pompeii. Beautiful, yet beguiling, Amalfi is a vertical landscape with picturesque towns situated on craggy ledges amidst lush forests. Between the 9th and 12th centuries, Amalfi used to be a maritime powerhouse and the evidence can be seen today in the design of the Arab-Norman cathedral and the cloisters of the Cathedral of Saint Andrew. Amalfi is also considered a key hiking spot in Italy and has well-marked trails for those interested in travelling off the beaten track.
An archaeological treasure-trove, Pompeii captures for posterity the life of citizens in 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried this Roman town in volcanic ash. While it blotted out life, it also preserved this town including chariot-rutted streets and frescoed villas in suspended animation. To get the most out of the history of this place, take a guided tour of the main Pompeii attractions.
Enjoy Sorrentine Cuisine
Savour the simple yet satiating fare of coastal food that Sorrento has to offer. Local ingredients including olive oil, basil, mozzarella and tomatoes are combined to create dishes such as cannelloni ripieni, gnocchi alla sorrentina and caprese, a dish with fresh tomato bits, mozzarella slices and milk. If you’d rather have a takeaway, the delicacies on offer include gateau di patate (potato pie) and crocchè di patate (potato croquettes), fried pizza stuffed with ricotta cheese and a variety of fillings to crusty eggplant or arancini (fried rice croquettes).
Pair your meal with a wide selection of quality Sorrentine wines or locally produced quality beers. Wash it down with a cup of coffee, which is an ancient Neapolitan tradition, or some limoncello, a digestif prepared from lemon rinds, water, sugar and alcohol, or nocino, an aromatic dark-coloured liqueur created by infusing unripe walnuts. For those with a sweet tooth, opt for lemon cream filled pastries such as the babà, the bigné or the sciù.