But Sorrento is much more than a just a jumping-off point for getting to other places. It is a lovely, laid back little town that (in my opinion) is best visited in the early fall months. The weather is still warm, the lemon and orange trees are ripe with fruit, and there are much fewer tourists packing the cobblestone streets. Although you won’t find any world famous sites like the Pantheon or Coliseum in Sorrento, there are definitely things that are worth your while to see and do!
What to see and do in Sorrento
Basilica di Sant’Antonino
Built in the 11th century, this is a small but pretty church dedicated to Sorrento’s patron saint, Saint Anthony the Abbot. Located in Piazza Sant’Antonino, it’s rather plain looking on the outside, but very pretty inside.
In the lower level crypt is the tomb of Sant’Antonino along with hundreds of silver votive offerings that are in the shape of whatever the person was asking for help with (legs, heart, hands, etc.). A very worthwhile visit.
Stroll along the streets
Don’t forget to pick one of the cafes located on Piazza Tasso (which becomes pedestrian-only in the evenings), grab a bit to eat or just sip a cappuccino, and just watch the world go by. Remember…Sorrento is all about the sweetness of doing nothing!
What to buy in Sorrento
You will find many beautiful items at A. Gargiulo & Jannuzzi, which is located right off Piazza Tasso. In business since 1863, this huge shop sells things like linens, jewelry and ceramics. But one of their main specialties is inlaid wood. You will find gorgeous, hand-made furniture, music boxes, jewelry boxes, etc.
But one of the really cool things is that you can watch the master craftsmen at work to see just how involved the whole process is and how they get from the plain pieces of wood to the detailed finished product. Definitely worth your time and you can walk away with a beautiful keepsake (or have it shipped home to you).
It would be madness to leave Sorrento without buying limoncello to bring home with you (and don’t forget to drink it liberally while you’re there). You will find bottles of all sizes in many of the stores, but my favorite is Limonoro, located on Via San Cesareo. At this bright and welcoming shop, they not only sell many different flavors and types of limoncello in beautiful bottles – but they also make it right on site.
The owners are friendly and they are generous with samples of their delicious product. Trust me…you won’t leave without a bottle or two (or more).
Where to eat in Sorrento
Open since 1930, this small restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating. I highly recommend sitting in the upstairs outdoor area – covered by a pergola of grape vines, you’ll feel like you’re sitting in the middle of a peaceful garden. Service is friendly and the fresh-made pasta will leave you wishing for more!
Neither the food nor the service is remarkable at this place. So why am I saying it’s one of our favorites?? Because its prime location right on Piazza Tasso makes it a wonderful place to go and have a drink or some gelato (or both) and people watch. On our second trip to Sorrento, we went here every night after dinner (except one) just to chill out and enjoy our surroundings before heading back to the hotel for the night.
Ristorante San Antonino
Located at Santa Maria delle Grazie 6, be prepared to climb a number of steps to get to the restaurant. Upstairs you will find indoor seating as well as outdoor seating among lemon and orange trees. Both the food and the service are simply outstanding.
Trattoria Da Gigino
Where to stay in Sorrento
Il Nido Hotel
Our first trip to Sorrento, we stayed at Il Nido. The hotel, whose name translates as “the nest”, is up in the hills of Sorrento with a breathtaking view of the Bay of Naples and Mt. Vesuvius (on clear days).
Due to its location in the hills, you cannot walk into town. However, the hotel offers a free shuttle (about a 10 minute ride to town) that runs like clockwork. On our first day, we made the mistake of assuming that the bus would pick us up at the same place it dropped us off…wrong! After waiting and waiting, we called the hotel and they explained that it picks up in a different location, but they immediately sent the shuttle down to where we were waiting and brought us back to the hotel.
Hotel Antiche Mura
If we get back to Sorrento for a third time, we would definitely stay here again.
How about you? Have you been to Sorrento? Did you enjoy it? In my next post, I’ll be covering the other places we visited while based in Sorrento: Positano, Amalfi, Ravello and Capri.