Situated on the Sorrentine Peninsula, overlooking the Bay of Naples and the Tyrrhenian Sea, the city of Sorrento is a natural first stop en route to the Amalfi Coast, and the gateway to a dream Italian vacation. Bathed with sunshine and dotted with weathered palms, Sorrento’s position between Naples and the Amalfi Coast makes it the gateway to a treasure trove of Italian pleasures. Replete with gastronomic delights, architectural wonders, Sorrento was shaped by the footsteps of ancient civilizations, and continues to preserve its unique coastal lifestyle.
Many civilizations have succumbed to Sorrento’s charms over the centuries, and the city’s history is unfurled piece by piece. The town is perched at the tip of the peninsula that divides the bay of Naples from the Gulf of Salerno. The views are truly spectacular, with many vistas over the sea, to Naples, and of Mt. Vesuvius. The old center of Sorrento shows signs of the Greek and Roman presence with arches and an urban grid plan with parallel and intersecting streets still used today. The Romans built beautiful villas and ponds here, and the remains of an antique wall remind visitors that while they were once designed to keep people out, doors are now open and the local hospitality is as warm as the southern sun. A must for Sorrento trips is a visit to the temple the Greeks dedicated to the goddess Athena on the Punta Campanella (the extreme point of the peninsula). Over the centuries, Sorrento has seen the Byzantines, the Lombards, the Normans, and the Aragons pass through its city walls, each making a mark, leaving behind pieces of their history.
Sorrento hotels feature timeless architecture and showcase the region's famous hospitality. Sorrento travel is a favorite with Napolitanos eager to escape the hustle and bustle for a tranquil holiday, lounging under an umbrella at one of the city's hundreds of relaxed cafes with tables that spill out onto busy squares. One of the most popular is Piazza Tasso, a perfect place to watch the world go buy, as has been done here, no doubt, for centuries. The marble statue of poet Torquato Tasso is here and is the namesake of the piazza. The well-known writer was born in Sorrento in 1544 and died in Rome in 1595, just before he was to be crowned poet laureate. Sorrento’s parks, villas, palm trees, picturesque streets and quaint alleyways harbor many discoveries, from artisan workshops to local bakeries whose windows brim with flaky temptations. However, no visit is complete without a taste of the area’s most famous tipple: Sorrento limoncello.
Life gave Italy lemons (Italy is the world's largest producer of the citrus fruit), so it’s no surprise that the Italians developed a delicious way to use them. Limoncello is a liqueur that gets its flavor and bright yellow color from the infusion of locally grown lemons (rinds only) with water, sugar, and pure alcohol. Limoncello has long been the beverage of choice along the Amalfi Coast, and Sorrento lemons are famous among connoisseurs the world over. Refreshing on a hot summer day, Limoncello is served ice-cold in a small glass and is typically offered after a meal. A local legend says that limoncello was produced in convents and in the 18th century the nuns of the Santa Rosa monastery in Conca dei Marini used Limoncello to create a pastry known today as sfogiatella Santa Rosa, the lemony, shell-shaped sweet and the most sublime of all Neapolitan pastries. Another legend says that when King Ferdinand first tasted the sfogliatella Santa Rosa, he believed he had found the key to the royal courts of Europe. After all, what king or queen could resist such culinary ambrosia? We must concur. The flavors of Sorrento, like everything else here, are very hard to resist.
Sorrento: Amalfi Coast Gateway
As you leave Sorrento and embark along the Amalfi Coast, every new discovery seems more beautiful than the last. In the comfort of our limousine, with Sorrento in your rear view mirror, you’ll round the tip of the peninsula and believe in fairy tales anew. As the entire Amalfi Coast comes into view, as if waking from the cobalt waters, it will take your breath away whether you’re seeing it for the first time or for the hundredth. Sorrento's ancient charm and the staggering beauty of the Amalfi Coast are linked by a thread of a road that cuts and curves along the cliffs above the Tyrrhenian Sea to a place that has been heralded as the most beautiful coastline on earth, and it’s easy to understand why writers and artists, musicians, writers, mermaids, Gods, and dreamers have immortalized the Amalfi Coast over the centuries.
If dreams could travel, we imagine they’d land in a place exactly like this one, dotted with lemon groves and olive trees, colored with ancient villages and legends, and washed with sunshine and the open sea. The Amalfi Coast is that place, which makes Sorrento the portal and you the holder of the key.