One day in Sorrento | The Ultimate Guide + Suggestions
by Giuseppe Morvillo
by Giuseppe Morvillo
One Day in Sorrento
Looking to visit and discover the beautiful coastal town of Sorrento on your trip around the Amalfi Coast but limited for time? Not to worry, we have curated the perfect one day itinerary for you to truly see Sorrento in all its glory. From the breathtaking panorama, the bright green and yellow lemon groves, the coast that embraces the Gulf of Naples, the Old Town to the amazing food and wine. Sorrento has so much to offer you as well as being in the perfect location, an ideal base for also visiting the Island of Capri, the Amalfi Coast, the ancient ruins of Pompeii and the city of Naples, with this guide you will spend a day in the heart of Sorrento.
9AM | Breakfast Neopolitan Style and Coffee
Yes, if you want to indulge in a whole day in Sorrento it must of course start early. Your first stop on our itinerary to experience Sorrento isn’t a place of nature or archeological site but instead you will first enjoy a typical Neapolitan style breakfast, a cup of espresso to kick start your day is mandatory alongside one of the many delicious freshly made pastries. The main square of Sorrento is Piazza Tasso, here you can find four of the main bars of the Peninsula which are all perfect for breakfast, take your pick. Whenever I have a few spare moments I love to take a seat outside of the bar to enjoy my morning coffee and enjoy the sun on my skin, the sun heats up some areas in the square more than others and if you want to enjoy the warm mornings we recommend stopping at a bar located in the sunshine. However if you want to enjoy a coffee at the counter, Bar Fauno has always been one of the most popular bars in Sorrento in addition to a wide choice of croissants, brioches, pastries, local desserts and cakes, you must enjoy it with an excellent Neapolitan coffee.
9:30AM | Depart from Piazza Tasso
After you have awakened your senses with your breakfast you are ready to start your day. Piazza Tasso is perfectly located in the centre of Sorrento and from here we will pass all of the various streets. Founded in the 19th century and originally called Largo del Castello, where the statue of Sant’Antonino is located today, you will find a castle that was demolished in 1843 which dated back to the time of Ferdinand of Aragon. After the demolition of the defensive walls and the main access door to the city, the Municipality decided to build the new urban plan. To better orientate yourself, with your back to the Bar Fauno and with the flags in front of you: on the right, continuing on Corso Italia, you can reach the train and bus station, Piazza Angelina Lauro, the Agruminato and the Correale Museum. Opposite, going down the steps and continuing towards the sea, you will reach the Port of Sorrento, the Marina Piccola from where hydrofoils leave for Naples, Capri, Positano, Amalfi and Ischia. Behind you, along the road in via Fuorimura, along the taxi rank, you will reach Vallone dei Mulini, the village of Santa Lucia and the hills of Casarlano. And finally, on the left, along the other part of Corso Italia, to reach the Cathedral of Sorrento, the Church of the Servants of Mary, the Baths of Queen Giovanna. To the west that you will then head to reach the first leg of our itinerary.
Immediately on the left, we find the statue of Torquato Tasso: The most famous among the citizens of Sorrento is remembered in the heart of the square that bears his name, with a statue subjected to a recent restoration which restored the marble to its original colour. If you continue the walk along Corso Italia, the local area wakes up slowly, with the shops opening around 9.30am, it’s possible to enjoy the walk without the chaos of the busiest hours. On Corso Italia, you can also find first the bell tower with the majolica clock and then on the left, the Cathedral with the episcopal palace of the 1500s. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary ascended into heaven and the apostles Philip and James, the cathedral was enlarged several times and after the terrible invasion of the Turkish in 1558, it was entirely rebuilt, to be definitively transformed into a Baroque style, as currently admired. Of the ancient facade only the 14th century entrance is preserved, adorned with two pink marble columns, remains of ancient pagan temples.
10AM | Visit to the Church of the Servants of Mary
A short walk from the Cathedral, you will find the Church of the Servants of Mary, also known as Congregazionella, one of the most expensive and religious places for the people of Sorrento. In fact, it is from here that the heartfelt black procession of Good Friday kicks off, giving life to one of the most ancient, followed and religious rites that characterises the Easter week in Sorrento. The Church is rich in works of art, in addition to the wooden statue of the Dead Christ, object of great devotion by the faithful and which is carried in procession on Holy Friday, there are various paintings by Carlo Amalfi, a nativity scene with shepherds from the ‘600 and’ 700 and two very rare shepherds of the ‘400.
10:15AM | Stop at the Apreda Delicatessen
After the cultural stop, walking on 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 Apreda delicatessen at number 27 in Via Torquato Rate. Loved by the locals of Sorrento for the famous braided cheese ‘Treccia’, produced in the nearby dairy, the scents and aromas of local salami and cheeses will invite you in as pass by the entrance. A word of advice: have a sandwich prepared with fresh Treccia and a cold cut of your liking, it can be the icing on the cake for your next stop: the Bagni della Regina Giovanna.
10:30AM | Bus to Capo di Sorrento and Visit to Baths of the Queen Giovanna
Return back to Corso Italia and continue in the same direction, on the left you will find Villa Fiorentino, home to numerous exhibitions and artistic performances, at the end of the Corso here is the bus stop that will take you to the Bagni della Regina Giovanna with EAV Bus Line A or SITA bus. You can ask the driver to stop at the Bagni della Regina Giovanna, from Capo di Sorrento there is a short well-marked and rather easy path that leads directly to the ruins at the end of the coast. After about fifteen minutes, the scenario that will open before your eyes is extraordinary, a legendary swimming pool with wonderful pristine seabed, a natural arch that separates the lagoon from the sea, the ruins of a Roman Villa that overlook the limestone rocks of Punta del Capo. The spectacle of the Gulf of Naples is life something from a fairytale. The ruins of the Villa owe their name to Giovanna d’Angiò, the legendary queen of Naples, who went on holiday to this villa and enjoyed the emerald waters, the breathtaking view and the privacy. According to legend, it is precisely in this natural pool that the meetings of the sovereign took place with her lovers, in the summer months this splendid body of water is ideal for taking a nice refreshing dip: in fact, in the summer the cliff is filled with swimmers and visitors who enjoy a few hours of sunshine. What better place to take a break and enjoy your sandwich before resuming the tour?
12:30AM | Returning back to Sorrento, Bastione di Parsana and The Old Town
After an hour or so, and having enjoyed the breathtaking landscape, take the path and the return bus towards Sorrento. This time the next stop will be on the Via Degli Aranci, at the Bastione di Parsano or the ancient defensive walls of the Greek walls that access Via Sersale, at the beginning of the historic centre. Restored for a few years, the ruins of the ancient walls can be visited today. Passing under the Porta di Parsano, you will find yourself on Corso Italia again and from here in the historical centre, taking Via Tasso and then turning right along Via San Cesareo. The street, crowded and crowded with visitors, owes much of its charm to the period buildings with their wooden and wrought iron doors, to the many churches that open their doors to the faithful, to the original facades of the buildings and to their atriums interiors that hide gardens and green areas, wells and historical relics. On the sides, dozens of souvenir shops, limoncello, chocolate, jewellers and artisan shops recall the crafts of the past (famous antique dealers and inlayers from Sorrento).It is precisely at the crossroads between via San Cesareo and Via Padre Reginaldo Giuliani that we meet the Dominova Seat, an ancient noble seat (the only remaining evidence in Campania) which dates back to the 16th century. The Dome and the frescoes on the internal walls are fascinating, today it houses the Società Operaia Sorrentina, whose associates are often engaged in board games and long chats.
12:45PM | Walk in Piazza Sant’Antonino and visit of its Basilica
Continuing along via San Cesareo you will find yourself in Piazza Tasso and on the left, walking via Luigi di Maio, here is Piazza Sant’Antonino, an elegant area that in addition to the Palazzo Comunale and its gardens, houses the Basilica of Sant’Antonino. The church, among the most popular in Sorrento for the history and devotion of the entire peninsula for Sant’Antonino Abate, patron of the city. The legend of the miracle of Sant’Antonino is linked to the misadventure of a child devoured by a whale. To the screams of his companions, the fishermen and the mother of the child, Saint Anthony replied, then abbot of the monastery, who went down to the beach and ordered the whale to return the child, returning him to the saint safe and sound.
3PM | Walk in Via San Francesco, visit to Cloister of San Francesco and the Villa Comunale
From Piazza Sant’Antonino we continue along via Vittorio Veneto and on the right, after a hundred meters we find ourselves in front of one of the most fascinating places in Sorrento: the Church of San Francesco with its Cloister and the Villa Comunale. The church of San Francesco develops along a single nave, at the bottom of which – on the main altar – you can admire a large canvas just St. Francis of Assisi. Its Cloister, on the other hand, is a silent oasis in the heart of the city, it is among the oldest and most visited monuments in Sorrento for its romantic and reflective atmosphere: today it hosts numerous concerts of classical music, cultural events and civil wedding celebrations. Built on the remains of a 7th century monastery, it has long been of great importance both for the religious history of Sorrento and for the administrative life of the cities. A jump in Villa Comunale, the terrace overlooking the sea of Sorrento, where words are not suitable to describe the panorama of the Gulf of Naples and the embrace of Vesuvius which extends over the Sorrento Peninsula.
1:15PM | Walk in Via Vittorio Veneto and Lunch in Marina Grande
On the right side of the road, the large Sorrento hotels parade one after the other: the Tramontano Hotel, the Favorita Hotel and immediately after the panoramic Piazza Vittoria, the Syrene Hotel which houses the most romantic rooms in the world. Continuing for a hundred meters we finally reach the stairways that lead to the Marina Grande: the ancient seaside village of Sorrento. After the first flight of steps, we pass the oldest of the doors after the demolitions of the 19th century. In the fifteenth century the door of the Marina Grande was the only access to the city from the sea side. After the door, a few steps and the umpteenth cover landscape will open before us. Marina Grande is one of my favourite neighbourhoods. Here you can breathe the sea air, authentic Sorrento and fishermen’s, with trattorias that offer traditional dishes and caves where goiters, nets and lines are worked to go fishing. I recommend taking the necessary time to stroll along the pier, browse the buildings and take selfies and photographs from the two most distant points of the Marina: from the quay, where you can admire an interesting glimpse of the Marina Piccola and the Shkoder Coast and on the opposite side, where you can admire the whole bay, including the Marina Grande. Here time seems to have stopped and it will be very pleasant to relax here without being surrounded by too many tourists, so it is here that I recommend having lunch in one of the historic trattorias or in the most sophisticated restaurants, enjoy the fresh fish and seafood, the homemade atmosphere and the scent of the sea.
3:45PM | Museum of Marquetry
After refreshing yourself with a tasty spaghetti with clams and having regained energy with yet another coffee, the time has come to go again to Sorrento centre to devote some time to discover one of the most noble arts of Sorrento craftsmanship, the inlay of the wood. The next stop is therefore in Via San Nicola, at the Museum of inlay. Before entering to admire the works, it is necessary to know that the Sorrento Peninsula boasts a centuries-old tradition in the art of inlaying on wood which is based on assembling together small pieces of wood, first cut and shaped according to the design that is want to reproduce. Still today, with new techniques, Sorrento marquetry is carried out by craftsmen who carry on a tradition from the 1800s.
5PM | Sorrento Old Town
After visiting the Museum, we find ourselves again in the historical centre, but continuing on a lower decuman, that of via San Nicola which annexes to Via dell’Accademia. Between inlay shops and typical shops, we cross via Padre Reginaldo Giuliani and turning to the right here is yet another cover photo: the bell tower with the majolica clock that serves as a backdrop to Sedil Dominova, all framed by the fascinating buildings of the ‘Nineteenth century that stand on the sides of the road. After this long walk you cannot miss the opportunity to enjoy a delicious ice cream and here we are just a stone’s throw from Raki, an ice cream shop who pride themselves on 100% natural ingredients and working with personally selected high quality ingredients.
5:15PM | Return to your Accommodation
Walking while enjoying the delicious ice cream, you will find yourself again in Piazza Tasso. Here we are at the end of our day, or almost, of this itinerary to visit Sorrento in one day. Almost, because there are still a few hours and after a little rest, the best is yet to come to enjoy your evening in Sorrento.
8PM | Enjoy an Aperitif at Sunset on a Sea View Terrace
After a few hours of rest, a refreshing shower and more looking through the photos you captured during the day, the time has come to get ready to spend a special evening in Sorrento. In the summer period, there are two spectacular hotel terraces that we suggest to have an unforgettable evening in Sorrento.
Terrazza Bellavista at Hotel La favorita
Located on the top floor of the luxurious Hotel la Favorita, the Bellavista terrace displays a breathtaking view and a fairytale atmosphere. At great and affordable prices, in an informal but luxurious environment, you can sip tasty cocktails and continue your dinner at the restaurant on the terrace, simply amazing.
Vittoria Terrace at Hotel Excelsior Vittoria
Located in the most exclusive hotel in Sorrento, Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, the most famous terrace of the Sorrento peninsula is open to the public to enjoy a fairytale evening: sipping a glass of wine with the magnificent view of the Gulf of Naples from Terrazza Vittoria really has more than an extraordinary atmosphere. The Excelsior Vittoria hotel, located in Piazza Tasso, is an award-winning luxury hotel in the heart of Sorrento, it is truly worth treating yourself to an unforgettable moment in a special location and get some great pictures of the view.
9PM | Dinner at O’Parrucchiano
If you’re looking for that restaurant you’ve seen all over Instagram, surrounded by lemon trees and Mediterranean flowers and plants, magical lights and colourful ceramics, then you’re in the right place. O’Parrucchiano, as well as being a cornerstone of traditional cuisine in Sorrento, is a restaurant with a stunning and authentic atmosphere where you can eat divinely. Here you can take amazing pictures of the most authentic dishes of our traditional cuisine under a sky full of lights and lemons. Simply fantastic.
Our Top Tips
Arriving by Car
We advise you to arrive early and avoid morning traffic and park your car at the de Curtis parking lot, an economic and central solution.
Arriving by Train
The Santa Maria Novella station is a couple of minutes walk from the historic centre and the train is therefore the optimal solution to get to the city, without having to go crazy to find parking, among other things at prices exorbitant. Also consider that, with only one day available, you can think of arriving early in the morning and leaving after dinner, without having to worry about driving.
Book entrance tickets
Especially for the most famous attractions, most importantly the Uffizi Gallery, make sure to buy your ticket in advance, by relying on the official sites or for example at Musement.com, the booking portal online that offers guided tours and convenient skip-the-line options, which can also be booked on the same day. You don’t want to spend hours standing in line, right?
Where to eat
Be careful and avoid the classic tourist-catchers, which offer menus at very low prices where perhaps the Milanese cutlet stands out. We recommend you to lose yourself in the alleys and stop in the true traditional taverns of the past, where you can taste the typical Florentine cuisine that is mouth-watering. The rooms with dark wood furnishings, perhaps with the cured meats and the garlic crests hanging from the ceiling, those that offer tomato soup, ribollita or a beautiful Florentine steak and that will make you conclude the meal with delicious cantucci made in home, this is where you will enjoy the best dinners of your life.