Discover Sorrento
A favorite vacation spot of the Rome patricians
A beautiful resort with a gentle sea and healing air made for blissful idleness and enjoyment of life

Population

As of 2018, 16,405 people are living in the city. Sorrento covers a small area (about 9 square kilometers), so it is rather densely built up, with narrow, winding streets. As in all Italian cities, the majority of the population is Catholic.

Brief history

The first Phoenician colony was founded on the site of Sorrento during the reign of ancient Rome. Later, the village grew and became a port, thanks to the lively trade of the Greeks with Naples and other cities of southern Italy. The Greek sailors called it Sireon (land of the sirens). During the war with the Phoenicians, the Romans captured the city and were so impressed by its beauty that many patricians began to build their villas there.

In the 90s B.C., civil disturbances broke out in Rome, provoked by Sulla. During the same period, the village was given the status of a municipality. It was mainly inhabited by war veterans who received their land plots as rent.

Sorrento received its autonomy in the VII century. It became a duchy under the protectorate of Naples. The Middle Ages was a very turbulent period for the city. It was ruled by Byzantines, Goths, Saracens, and even one of the Germanic tribes (Lombards).

In the X century, the Maritime Republic existed here for a while, but the Normans defeated it in the end. Then the Aragonese ruled the city, and in the XVI century, the Turks came, who were eventually expelled by the troops of Naples.

In 1860, during the Risorgimento (unification of the country), Sorrento became part of Italy. That was the end of Sorrento's troubles.

In modern times, the town became very popular as a resort. Such celebrities as Goethe, Nietzsche, Wagner, Byron, Dickens, Stendhal, and Gorky loved to stay here. In the late XX and early XXI centuries, Sorrento became a favorite holiday destination for tourists worldwide.

The best time to visit Sorrento

In this resort, you can vacation at any time of the year. Winter here is very mild (+16-17°C during the day and a little cooler at night), and summer is clear and warm. Officially, the tourist season lasts from early April to late September. The peak of the heat is in July and August — the average daytime temperature in these months is +35°C. The best time to swim in the sea is from May to September when the water gets as warm as +22-24°C.

At the beginning of summer, there is a real feast for gourmets — Festa a Vico. The event is held not in Sorrento itself but nearby, in the small town of Vico Equense. The best chefs from all over Italy come here and present their special recipes. And many newcomers, striving to attract the attention of the masters, cook original dishes that are unlikely to be tasted in a regular restaurant. The event usually attracts not only tourists vacationing in the region but also guests from all over Italy.

At the end of July, Sorrento hosts a colorful and noisy festival honoring the town's patrons, St. Anne and St. Joachim. The festival begins in the evening and consists of a procession to the Parrocchia di Sant'Anna church. After the solemn service and traditional rites, the religious part of the celebration ends, and the secular program begins. It is interactive with games and contests interspersed with musical performances and concerts. The celebration ends with a grandiose fireworks display.

Useful notes

In Sorrento, you can learn how to cook the most popular Italian dishes, even the famous ice cream. There are courses in the city where you can learn all the secrets without any problems. The best studios are considered Old Taverna Sorrentina Cooking School and La Cucina del Gusto.

It is better to look for inexpensive hotels in the interior of the city. Lodging closer to the steep slopes of the cape is significantly more expensive.

You can easily get lost in Sorrento, so a detailed map will do you good. Many hotels give it to guests for free.

The beaches here are all artificial, and you will need to use special platforms or ladders to get into the water. Some have comfortable piers, which will appeal to lovers of swimming.

You will need special shoes and a thick mat for recreation on the beach. You do not need to bring them with you. You can buy everything you need in the city stores.

Things to do in Sorrento

  • Take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. This journey can be taken from Piazza Tasso, the central square of the city. Before the ride, you can visit Villa Correale and the Church of Chiesa del Carmine, both located here.
  • Take a walk in the garden of the St. Francis' Cloister. The park is small but very cozy, and it also has a beautiful view of Marina Grande Bay.
  • Visit the main attraction, the Duomo Cathedral. It was built in the XI century. But during the numerous restorations, various architectural styles were added to the overall composition of the building.
  • See the flower galleries of the church of San Francesco. The garden here is small, but the alleys are very picturesque. After a walk, you can go up to the observation deck overlooking the sea.
  • Head to the liquor factory I Giardini di Cataldo, where the famous Limoncello liquor is made. There are lemon groves nearby, a walk through which is usually part of the tour program.
  • See the Valley of the Mills. It got its name thanks to the huge building of the mill, constructed in the Middle Ages. This amazing attraction is located in the heart of the city, at the bottom of the gorge that divides Sorrento in two.

Map Sorrento

Hotels in Sorrento

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