One day in Sorrento | The Ultimate Guide + Suggestions
Magnificently situated on a tufa-stone platform overlooking the Bay of Naples, Sorrento offers matchless vistas, colorful and fragrant lemon groves, an unspoiled old town with historical churches, dramatic cliffside settings and amazing restaurants. Sorrento has a lot to offer and being just an hour south of Naples it makes an ideal place to stay to explore its Peninsula the jet-setting island of Capri, the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii ruins.
To assist you sightseeing and discover some of the intense and “local” experiences you can try in Sorrento, we’ve listed and prepared our ideal itinerary to make the most of your time in just one day.
9.00 a.m | Breakfast and espresso (Neapolitan Style)
We will start our day off with a unique southern Italian experience taking coffee in a Sorrento cafè, this is part of our culture. The Italian cafè is an omnipresent concept of a social gathering point appropriate for just about any time of day. In the mornings they offer Italian breakfast with the famous espresso: very aromatic, intense and excellently prepared. Piazza Tasso is the heartbeat of Sorrento when you are looking for a place to stay consider the main square as point of landmark to find well located accommodation, close to the train station, restaurants and the old town. The square is bordered by restaurants and cafès where people can relax with a coffee and watch the hustle and bustle of Sorrento. In Piazza Tasso there are five cafès, so it can be hard to choose. If it is sunny, and I want to enjoy the sun and have time to spare I sit down at a table. I choose the cafè with no shade. Otherwise, if I do not want to rest my feet, I order and drink coffee (my favourite type of coffee is espresso ristretto, with a small amount of sugar) standing at the Fauno Bar, one of the most popular cafes in Sorrento: it offers a wide selection of cornetti (croissants), sweet pastries and cakes, it serves an excellent Neapolitan coffee, tasty and creamy.
9.30 a.m | Departure from Piazza Tasso
After feeding the body and nourishing the soul, the day can officially start. All roads seem to lead to Piazza Tasso, it separates the pedestrian side of the Corso Italia from the side which allows traffic. It was founded during the nineteenth century, originally called Largo del Castello (Castle), where today is the statue of Sant’Antonino, there was a castle demolished in 1843 and dating back to the era of Ferdinand of Aragon. Subsequently to the demolition of the defensive walls that surrounded the valleys and of the access door to the city, the Municipality decided for the implementation and construction of the new urban plan.
9.40 a.m | Corso Italia and Sorrento Cathedral
Five minutes from Piazza Tasso, walking on the Corso Italia, is the large Cathedral of Sorrento, referred to as “Duomo”, immediately before on the left hand side of the Fauno Bar, there is the statue of Torquato Tasso: writer and novelist, Torquato Tasso was amongst one of the most famous citizens of Sorrento and he’s remembered in the heart of the square that bears his name.
In the mornings, it is relaxing to walk along the Corso Italia, the air is fresh, you can enjoy a stroll and go shopping without the chaos of the busiest hours. Heading towards the Cathedral, we first find the Bell Tower with the majolica clock and then on the left hand side the Cathedral with the episcopal palace of 1500 Century. It is worth taking some time to go inside and having a look.
10.00 a.m | Church of the Servants of Mary
Right around the corner on the left hand side of the Cathedral, we find the Church of the Servants of Mary or the Archconfraternity of Death, called from the Sorrentini the “Congregazionella”. Completed in the XVIII century, this church is one of the most emotional places for the local people. In fact, from here starts the black procession on the evening of Holy Friday, during which participants wearing black robes and hoods carry the statue of the dead Jesus Christ, an object of great devotion and conserved inside a wooden statue.
10.15 a.m | Stop at Apreda Delicatessen
After the cultural tour, walking on the Corso Italia and its countless paths, you will come across some local food shops and delicatessens that will make your mouth water, among these there is the famous Salumeria Apreda at number 27 of Via Torquato Tasso. Loved by the locals for the famous “treccia” (a local fresh mozzarella produced at a nearby cheese factory), the aromas of local meats and cheeses will envelop you as soon as you enter the front door. My piece of advice: get a sandwich prepared to take away with slices of fresh “treccia” and Parma ham, it might be the icing on the cake for your next stop the Baths of Queen Giovanna.
10.30 a.m | Capo di Sorrento and Bagni della Regina Giovanna
With your sandwich in your bag, keep walking straight up the Corso Italia in the same direction, on the left hand side you will find Villa Fiorentino that hosts a numerous number of exhibitions and artistic performances, at the end of the Corso Italia, right on the left, you will find the BUS stop. From here, catch the BUS – EAV Line A – or SITA bus and ask the driver to stop for the Bagni della Regina Giovanna (it takes approx. 5 minutes). Once you arrive at Capo di Sorrento, turn right and then take the easy path that leads you directly to the ruins, just at the end of the coast. After ten minutes walking the Queen Johannas’ Baths will greet you in all of its beauty. The stunning ruins of the Roman Villa at the top of the cliffs and its exclusive natural swimming pool with the Bay of Naples in the background, this is a favorite spot with locals for swimming.
What better place to take a break and eat the treccia and Parma ham sandwich before continuing the tour.
If you prefer having a tasty spaghetti with clams with a good glass of local wine, the restaurant La Solara is open from May to September and is a few meters from the Ruins of the Villa.
Calata Punta del Capo, 80067, Sorrento, Italia
+39 081 1965 4830
Italian, Mediterranean, Seafood, Fish, Bar
12.30 a.m | Return to Sorrento, The Old Walls and the Old Town
After you’ve satisfied your hunger with the best treccia in Sorrento and enjoyed one of the best views of the Bay of Naples, it is time to walk back the hilly path of the trail and catch the bus towards Sorrento. Ask the driver for the Bastione di Parsano stop on Via degli Aranci, the only part of the Greek defensive walls still remaining in Sorrento. Passing below the Porta di Parsano we are back on the Corso Italia street, and from here in the old town, walking down Via Tasso and turning right along Via San Cesareo. This is considered the heart of Sorrento, the old town is a mix of little streets, anchored by Piazza Tasso and Via Capo at each end, and nestled between Corso Italia and the coastline. This area is mostly pedestrianised and it still preserves some medieval buildings, Antichi Palazzi with facades typical of the 13th century, original decorations and ancient churches. The main streets are lined with lemon products and leather shops.
In the centre of the old Town, at the junction of Via San Cesareo and Via Padre Reginaldo Giuliani, you will find the Sedil Dominova, a 17th century loggia that used to be a meeting place for the towns nobles and now is a retreat for retired working class men. The old town bubbles with life and warmth and the craftsmen still work with their hands, the perfume of lemon and orange lingers in the air, and in the evening music, bars, cafes and restaurants come to life when locals and visitors mix and mingle.
12.45 a.m | Piazza Sant’Antonino and its Basilica
At the end of Via San Cesareo, heart of Sorrento Old Town, we arrive in Piazza Tasso and walking down on the left through Via Luigi di Maio, we arrive in the lovely and elegant Piazza Sant’Antonino, where the Town Hall its gardens and the Basilica of Sant’Antonino are located. The church, is among the most popular in Sorrento for the history and the devotion of the entire peninsula to Sant’Antonino Abate, Patron of the City. The legend of the miracle of St. Antonino is linked to the misadventure of a child devoured by a whale. When the Saint heard the screams of the companions, the fishermen and the mother of the unfortunate child descended on the beach and ordered the whale that disappeared into the ocean to return the child. The miracle happened and the child was returned safe and sound to the Saint and the mother.
13.00 a.m | San Francesco’s Church, The Cloister and the Public Gardens
Walking down from Piazza Sant’Antonino after one hundred meters on the right hand side we face one of the most fascinating places in Sorrento: San Francesco’s Church with its Cloister and the Villa Comunale (Public Gardens). San Francesco’s Church, developed along a single nave, at the bottom of which – on the high altar – we can admire a large canvas of the Saint. The cloister is a silent oasis in the heart of the city, it is one of the oldest and most visited monuments in Sorrento for its romantic and zen atmosphere, today it hosts numerous concerts of classical music, cultural events and celebrations of civil marriages. Built on the ruins of a 7th-century monastery, it has for a long time held great importance both for the religious history of Sorrento and for the administrative life of the city. You cannot miss a visit to the Villa Comunale, with its gardens and the marvelous terrace overlooking the Gulf of Sorrento, it is hard to find the words to describe the amazing view of the Gulf of Naples and his majesty the Vesuvius.
13.15 a.m | Piazza della Vittoria and Marina Grande
The road is lined with the great Sorrento hotels: the Hotel Tramontano, the Hotel Favorita and immediately after the panoramic Piazza Vittoria, there is the Hotel Syrene, awarded with the worlds sexiest bedroom in 2015. Next to the Hotel Syrene, there is an old path taking you down along the Coast, between Villas and panoramic spots, at the end, turn right and go down the steps, go through the 2500 year old Greek Gate and the marina greets you in all of its beauty. Considered by many the favourite place in Sorrento, Marina Grande is definitely worth a visit. The colourful and picturesque fishing village on the edge of the Bay, it is a great place to have a drink on the side of the dock and grab something to eat. You can find a lot of local trattorias with good meals at reasonable prices and waterfront restaurants with a buzzing atmosphere. During the summer, and especially on weekends, evenings are very busy for dinner. I do recommend to have lunch at Trattoria da Emilia, one of the most historic authentic restaurants owned by a local family from the Marina.
15.30 a.m | Museum of Tarsia
After a tasty spaghetti with fresh clams, sitting in the sun with a good Neapolitan espresso we have regained enough energy to walk back to Sorrento centre and visit one of the most noble arts of Sorrento craftsmanship, inlaid wood. The meeting point therefore is in Via San Nicola, where we find the “ Wood Inlay Museum” . Before going in and admiring the work, it is important to know that the Sorrento Peninsula boasts centuries-old tradition in the art of inlaid wood which is based on assembling small pieces of wood, cutting and shaping according to the design required. Even today, with new techniques, this old art form Sorrento is performed by artisans who have carried on the tradition since 1800.
17.00 a.m | Return and stop at Gelateria Raki
After visiting the Museum, we are again in the old town, exactly on a lower street called via San Nicola that is joined to Via dell’Accademia. About 10 minutes by foot from the Museum we are going to cross via Padre Reginaldo Giuliani and turning right another great sight to capture: the Bell Tower with the majolica clock with the background of Sedil Dominova, all framed by the fascinating buildings of ‘Nineteenth century that stand on the side of the road. After this long walk you cannot miss a delicious ice cream. Conveniently, the best gelato in Sorrento is only 30 seconds walk from the Sedile Dominova. Raki offers authentic and organic gelato, with selected high quality ingredients “. The owners say their ultimate ambition is getting visitors to fall in love with their gelato. You can trust me, I am in love and in my opinion, Raki ice-cream is by far, one of the best in Italy. So go there for a unforgettable experience and grab one of their hand-made cones, load it up with several scoops (vanilla, ginger and hazelnut are my favourite) and enjoy!
Once back at the starting point, Piazza Tasso, you can now return home or to your room, depending on where you are staying. Here we are at the end, or almost, of my “one day itinerary to visit Sorrento. I said almost, because there are still a few hours left and after some well deserved rest, the best is yet to come.
20.00 a.m | Aperitif at sunset with stunning views of the Gulf
It has been a long day and a few hours rest is well deserved, after taking a quick shower which helps you refresh, with a smile on your face while looking at the photos taken during the day. You cannot miss the best part, after this time get ready to enjoy a special evening. For those who stay in Sorrento during the summer time, there are two terraces that are worth spending sometime at and where we suggest to start off an unforgettable evening in Sorrento:
- Terrazza Bellavista, Hotel La Favorita:
Located on the top floor of the luxurious Hotel la Favorita, this amazing rooftop has got a fabulous atmosphere. You will be in front of one of the most beautiful views in the world. At non-prohibitive prices, in an informal setting but decorated in every detail, you can sip tasty cocktails and have a bite to eat choosing from the interesting Mediterranean seafood menu
- Terrazza Vittoria, Hotel Excelsior Vittoria
- Located in the most exclusive hotel in Sorrento, it is indeed the most famous terrace on the Sorrento Peninsula. It is open to the public, and is an exclusive spot where you can enjoy a fabulous evening, either sipping on a glass of wine or enjoying an Aperol Spritz with a magnificent view of the Gulf of Naples, this Terrace is priceless and breathtaking. The Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, is located in Piazza Tasso, it is award-winning luxury and it is really worth taking an unforgettable moment for you and your partner in a special location.