15 Fun Things to Do in Sorrento Italy
Sorrento is one of the most beautiful places on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. This coastal town overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and is known for its panoramic views. Here are 15 of the best things to do in Sorrento.
Fun Things to Do in Sorrento Italy
As Sorrento is quite a compact town at 3.8 square miles, it’s easy to fit in a visit to most of the main sights below. However, you’ll ideally allow at least a week for relaxing, seeing Sorrento’s attractions and touring nearby Amalfi Coast towns such as Ravello and Positano.
1. Basilica Sant’Antonino
Dating from the Middle Ages, Basilica Sant’Antonio is the oldest church in Sorrento. The basilica is named after the patron saint of Sorrento.
It was thought that Antoninus of Sorrento rescued a child from the mouth of a whale. In the basilica lobby, there are two whale bones, placed as a homage to this rescue.
The basilica exterior is quite austere, however inside the basilica you’ll notice an ornate gilded ceiling and paintings by Giovanni Bernardo Lama. Also of interest are the silver medallions in the crypt. These were votive offerings by sailors who had escaped shipwrecks.
As this is a place of worship, it’s advisable to dress conservatively by covering your shoulders.
Address: 80067 Sorrento, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy
2. Cannelloni at O’Parruchiano La Favorita
This beautiful Sorrento restaurant is the place where cannelloni was invented! The famous pasta dish was originally named strascinati.
O’Parruchiano is a very large restaurant, enabling lots of space between each table. You can dine in the Historical Rooms, with their stone walls, the Veranda Halls, the Sala degli Archi with its arched ceiling or the Lemon Garden.
The restaurant can also be hired out and is a popular Amalfi Coast wedding venue. Part of the Grand Hotel La Favorita group, it’s a beautiful place by day and at night when you can dine under the stars.
Address: Corso Italia, 71, 80067 Sorrento NA, Italy
3. Cathedral of Saints Philip and James
Also known as Sorrento Cathedral or the Duomo di Sorrento, this Roman Catholic place of worship was built in the 11th century. It was rebuilt again in the 15th century in the Baroque style.
Located just off Corso Italia, the cathedral has an impressive 16th century marble altar and Sorrento wood inlay choir.
Address: Via Santa Maria della Pietà, 46, 80067 Sorrento NA, Italy
4. Chiostro di San Francesco
One of the most enchanting Sorrento attractions, Chiostro di San Francesco is a good place to escape the Summer heat. The Cloister of San Francesco was built in the 14th century on the site of a 7th century monastery.
In the Summer months, musical events are held in the courtyard. Civil weddings can also be arranged here. Next to the cloisters you’ll find the Church of San Francesco, which dates from the 16th century.
Address: Via S. Francesco, 12, 80067 Sorrento NA, Italy
5. Corso Italia
This pedestrianized road is the main street in Sorrento. There are many boutiques lining this busy Sorrento road, as well as ice cream parlours such as Momi Gelateria.
If you’re hoping to do some shopping in Sorrento, bear in mind that most of the boutiques close at lunchtime. The usual opening hours are from 9.30 or 10 am to 1 pm and then from 4 pm to 9 pm or 10 pm.
You can stroll all the way down Corso Italia to Piazza Tasso, or explore some of the cobbled little alleyways off the street.
Address: Corso Italia, 80067 Sorrento NA, Italy
6. Day Trip to Capri or Ischia
You can easily take a day trip from Sorrento to Capri or Ischia. The ferry from Sorrento to Ischia leaves from Marina Piccola at Sorrento Port.
There are regular ferries, jetboats and hydrofoils to Capri, Ischia and Naples. In Summertime, you can also take ferries from Sorrento to Amalfi, Positano and Salerno. Another good option is to take a small-group or private Capri boat tour with a guide.
Address: Via Marina Piccola, 43, 80067 Sorrento NA, Italy
7. Gallery Raffaele Celentano
Tucked away above San Francesco Cloister, you’ll find Gallery Celentano. Specializing in Italian photography, this gallery showcases the work of Raffaele Celentano and others from the the Sorrento International Photo School.
Raffaele splits his time between Sorrento and Germany. His gallery has a charming roof terrace, with a swing overlooking the Bay of Naples and a cut out car that you can sit in for photos. It’s a nice place to see the sunset in Sorrento.
Address: Via S. Francesco, 12, 80067 Sorrento NA, Italy
8. I Giardini di Cataldo
The best place to buy limoncello in Sorrento, I Giardini di Cataldo is a family owned business using artisanal techniques. They produce many delicious lemon flavored goods including liqueurs, jams, marmelades and lemon gelato.
Sorrento lemons are renowned for their exquisite taste. Known as Ovale, they have an elliptical shape.
At I Giardini di Cataoldo you can see the production process on a guided factory tour. Afterwards, treat yourself to a lemon ice cream on their shady terrace.
Address: Via Correale, 27, 80067 Sorrento NA, Italy
9. Leonelli’s Beach
Taking its name from the Leonelli family who have run this bathing establishment for three generations, Leonelli’s Beach is located on Via Marina Piccola. Next to the Port of Sorrento, the color of the water is an incredible turquoise blue.
As well as the beach, there are several terraces with deckchairs, sunbeds, cabins and beach umbrellas for hire. They all have stairs leading directly into the sea.
You’ll also find a water gym course, children’s swimming pool and water-polo field. It’s possible to rent canoes and pedalos too.
For refreshments, there’s a beachside restaurant, and also Snack Bar Piaggia.
Address: Spiaggia San Francesco, 80067 Sorrento NA, Italy
10. Marina Grande
Despite its name meaning large sea port, Marina Grande is actually a small but charming Sorrento harbour. Used by local fishermen for over 2,000 years, Marina Grande also has several good seafood restaurants.
To get to Marina Grande, you can either take the Sorrento Lift down from Villa Communale on Via S. Francesco or walk down via the arched Greek Gate. It costs €1 per person one-way to use the elevator, or €1.90 return.
We suggest walking down and taking the Sorrento Elevator back up. Be prepared to queue at peak times.
Marina Grande is very atmospheric in late afternoon when the fishermen bring their boats in. It’s also a popular bathing spot when the boats are out, although there’s no sand or beach to speak of.
11. Museo Correale
This imposing building is the Summer residence of the Correale family. The Correale Museum was founded by brothers Alfredo and Pompeo Correale, Counts of Terranova.
The museum opened in 1924 in an 18th century residence. Spread over four floors, it showcases a collection of Italian and European porcelain, archaeological finds and antique furniture.
Don’t miss the view from the Belvedere terrace on the top floor over the Gulf of Naples. There’s also a pleasant garden in the museum grounds.
Address: Via Correale, 50, 80067 Sorrento NA, Italy
12. Piazza Tasso
The main square in Sorrento, Piazza Tasso is a busy traffic thoroughfare during the daytime. At night, vehicular access is limited and this is a popular destination for a passeggiata or evening stroll.
Piazza Tasso was built in 1866. Named after the Italian poet Torquato Tasso, this spacious piazza is lined with brightly colored buildings and pavement cafes.
In the middle of the square, you’ll notice a statue of St. Antonino Abbate. Also on the piazza is the Baroque Church of Santa Maria del Carmine.
A white mini tourist train departs from Piazza Tasso, close to the Grand Excelsior Hotel. It takes you on a 30 minute trip around town and down to Marina Piccola.
13. Villa Fiorentino Park
This elegant neo-classical villa can be found just off Corso Italia. The former residence of Mr and Mrs Fiorentino, the three storey building was bequeathed to the town of Sorrento after their passing.
The villa is now managed by the Fondazione Sorrento as a center for the arts, with some interesting temporary exhibitions. In the basement there’s the fascinating Enrico Salerno collection of music boxes, while there’s a children’s playground to the rear of the property.
Address: Corso Italia, 53, 80067 Sorrento NA, Italy
14. Vallone dei Mulini
This abandoned valley is also known as the Valley of the Mills. Located close to Piazza Tasso, this crevasse houses a 19th century industrial mill.
It looks very atmospheric on photos and you can take a good one from Viale Enrico Caruso, above the valley. Sorrento municipality have voted to repair the buildings, however for now you cannot visit the site itself.
Address: Viale Enrico Caruso, Sorrento, 80067, Italy
15. Villa Communale
This clifftop square is the largest public garden in Sorrento. The views of Mount Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples are stunning.
There are park benches and a cafe on the corner. You can take the lift down to Marina Piccola from Villa Communale for €1, or €1.90 for the return fare.
To get to Villa Communale from Piazza Tasso, take Via Luigi de Maio, then cross Piazza Sant’Antonino and walk down Via San Francesco. The entrance to Villa Communale is next to the Church of San Francesco.
Address: Via S. Francesco, 80067 Sorrento NA, Italy
Here are 3 restaurants in Sorrento that we have personally tried and would recommend:
- Acque e Sale – for some of the best pizzas in Sorrento, by the port.
- Bagni Il Delfino – fresh seafood dishes at Marina Piccola.
- Tiffany Restaurant – fine dining inside Grand Hotel La Favorita.
Getting to Sorrento
The Sorrentine Peninsula is easily accessible from Naples or abroad. From Naples International Airport it’s a 50 minute transfer by car.
There’s also a train station in Sorrento, and you can take the Campania Express from Naples to Sorrento. This scenic Amalfi Coast train journey takes around 45 minutes.
Another way to get to Sorrento from Naples is to take a hydrofoil ferry. Those run by NLG take around 35 minutes and those by Alilauro take 45 minutes.
There are some fantastic 5 star hotels in Sorrento, with panoramic sea views. These include:
If you’re staying as a group, you might prefer to rent a Sorrento villa. Here are some of our favorites:
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