Sorrento and the Sorrentine Peninsula Travel Guide
  • Plan Your Sorrento and the Sorrentine Peninsula Vacation

    Photo: Khirman Vladimir / Shutterstock

Plan Your Sorrento and the Sorrentine Peninsula Vacation

As a hub for visiting must-see sites—Pompeii and Naples to the north, Capri to the west, and the Amalfi Coast and Paestum to the south—the beautiful resort town of Sorrento is unequaled. The rest of the peninsula, with plains and limestone outcroppings, watchtowers and Roman ruins, groves and beaches, monasteries and villages, winding paths leading to isolated coves and panoramic views of the bays of both Naples and Salerno, remains relatively undiscovered.

Gently faded, Sorrento still exudes a robust appeal. Because it is relatively free of the urban grit found in Naples, the town's tourist industry that began centuries ago is still dominant, although the lords and ladies of bygone days have been replaced with tour groups.

The Sorrentine Peninsula was first put on the map by the ancient Romans. Emperors and senators claimed the region for their own, crowning the golden, waterside cliffs of what was then called Surrentum with palatial villas. Modern resorts now stand where emperors once staked out vacation spots. Reminders of the Caesars' reigns—broken columns, capitals, and marble busts—lie scattered among the area’s orange trees and terraces. Sorrento goes as far back as the Samnites and the Etruscans, the bons viveurs of the early ancient world, and for much of Sorrento's existence it has remained focused, in fact, on pleasure. The Sorrentine Peninsula became a major stop on the elite’s Grand Tour itineraries beginning in the late 18th century, and by the mid-19th century, grand hotels and wedding-cake villas had sprung up to welcome the flow of wealthy visitors.

Eons ago, when sea levels dropped during glaciations, the peninsula's tip and Capri were joined by an overland connection, and today it still seems you can almost make it in a single jump. Separating Sorrento from the Amalfi Coast, this hilly, forested peninsula provides the famed rivals breathing space, along with inviting restaurants and an uncrowded charm all its own.


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Top Reasons To Go

  1. "Torna a Surriento" Sorrento's old quarter is one of the most romantic places in Italy—be sure to dine in front of the Sedile Dominova, a 16th-century frescoed loggia which is a colorful backdrop for cafés and serenading waiters warbling "Come Back to Sorrento."
  2. A room with a view Splurge on Sorrento's grand Belle Epoque hotels perched by the Bay of Naples.
  3. Shopping along Via San Cesareo Sorrento's regional goods are world-famous, and this charming street is just the place to find embroideries, inlaid wooden objects, music boxes, leather items, and lemon products.
  4. Passeggiare Join the passeggiata at Piazza Tasso and follow the locals as they make the rounds of Sorrento's historical center to gossip, strut, and see and be seen.

When To Go

When to Go

Summer is filled with festivities and offers the best weather for sunning and swimming, bringing dense crowds and higher prices, especially...

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