18 Sorrento top sights
A small but nevertheless widely known resort town – lemon trees, upscale hotels and sheer cliffs cutting right into the heart of the historic center.
Sorrento’s long-standing popularity is due to its fortunate geographical location – on the western approach to the Amalfi Coast. Moreover, trains to Pompeii pass through the town, as well as regular and fast ferry service to Naples and Capri.
Tourism in Sorrento has a long history. In the 19th century the town was part of the “Grand Tour”, a mandatory educational trip for the offspring of aristocratic families. The first to show interest in Sorrento was the poet Byron, who inspired other literary geniuses – Dickens, Goethe and Tolstoy – to relax here, enjoying the wonderful air of the sea coast.
The love of vacationers to this city has not yet dried up. What to see in Sorrento? The list of significant places, indeed, is huge. Therefore, we present a brief overview of the most famous sights of Sorrento.
Correale di Terranova Museum
Correale di Terranova Museum.
This amazing museum, just east of the center, is worth a visit even if you’re not a watch collector, an archaeology expert, or a lover of fine ceramics. In addition to works of fine and decorative art of Naples in the 16th and 19th centuries, including ingenious works of wood inlay masters, there are extraordinary ceramics from Japan, China and Europe, as well as antique clocks, fans and other fascinating exhibits.
On the first floor of the museum are ancient and medieval artifacts, among them a fragment of ancient Egyptian carvings found in the vicinity of the Cathedral of Sedile Dominova in Sorrento.
The main part of the collection, along with the 18th-century villa, was given to the city in 1920 by Counts Alfred and Pompeo Correale, the last representatives of the aristocratic Terranova family. The museum is surrounded by beautiful gardens with rare species of flowers and plants as well as a breathtaking view of the coast.
Address: Museo Correale di Terranova, Via Correale, Sorrento, Naples, Italy.
Museum of wooden intarsia
Since the 18th century Sorrento has been famous for its furniture made of inlaid wood. This museum exhibits the work of the old masters of inlay (intarsio), many of them engraved with subjects in the then fashionable genre of picaresque.
The Museum of Wooden Intarsia is housed in an 18th century palace. Inside you will find beautiful old frescoes, a rich collection of pictures by artists of the 19th century, as well as old prints and photographs depicting Sorrento and its surroundings.
Address: Museum Shop of Wood Inlay, Via San Nicola, Sorrento, Naples, Italy
The Church of the Monastery of St. Francis
The Monastery Church of St. Francis .
The church, situated next to the Park of Villa Comunale, is most known for the quiet cloister of the XIV century, to which a small door leads directly from the church. The inner courtyard, with its Arabesque portico with openwork arches resting on octagonal columns, is extraordinary. All this is complemented by the abundance of blooming bougainvillea and birdsong.
The complex, which includes a church and a monastery, was built on the ruins of a 7th-century chapel. On the upper floors, at the Sorrento International School of Photography, the Celentano Gallery presents a collection of black and white works by Raffaele Celentano, a contemporary photographer originally from Sorrento. The images depict Italian life and its amazing landscapes.
Address: Chiostro di San Francesco sorrento Via San Francesco.
Basilica of Sant Antoni
Basilica of Sant Antoni.
The church is named after the patron saint of travelers, St. Antonio, whose relics rest in an 18th century crypt under the vaults of the baroque interior.
Externally, the basilica bears little resemblance to a typical temple, unlike the interior, which is decorated with Roman artifacts, somber paintings by medieval artists, a gilded ceiling and two whale ribs, a strange exhibit in the vestibule near the front door. Apparently, the revered saint performed many miracles, including rescuing a baby from the stomach of a whale.
The crypt contains hundreds of silver medallions, many of which are from sailors who survived a shipwreck.
Address: Basilica di Sant’Antonino, Sorrento, Naples, Italy
Marina Grande Cove
Marina Grande Cove.
Quite removed from the main part of the city the Marina Grande bay is the area of a quiet fishing village. It is not crowded with boats and ferries like Marina Piccola harbor, and the marvelous sea air is not at all like that of Marina Coricella harbor on Procida island.
Fishing boats swaying in the water and pastel-colored houses give a special flavor to a coastal neighborhood known for its family-run seafood restaurants. The rocky harbor protects the closest beach (spiaggia) to the center of Sorrento from the wind.
Address: Via Marina Grande, 80067 Sorrento NA, Italy
Historic center. | Photo: Elliott Brown / Flickr.
Once a pedestrian street, Corso Italia is now the main thoroughfare through the bustling historic center (centro storico) from east to west. This is where most of the city’s stores, restaurants and bars are concentrated.
But if you head slightly north, you’ll find narrow alleyways framed by houses with traditional green shutters. Occasionally you come across old mansions (palazzo), squares or cathedrals. Souvenir and antique stores, trendy boutiques and trattorias also crowd into this labyrinth of cobbled alleyways.
The address is Corso Italia, Sorrento, Naples, Italy.
The Valley of the Mills
Valley of the Mills | Photo: Pikakoko / Flickr.
Via Fuorimura offers a magnificent view of an amazing natural phenomenon located just behind Piazza Tasso – a deep mountain crevice that was formed by a volcanic eruption 35,000 years ago.
The city was once bounded by three gorges, but only one has survived: the Valley of the Mills. It got its name from the ancient ruined mills that once processed wheat here. Despite the overgrown weeds covering the ruins, some of the mills are still clearly visible.
Address: Vallone dei Mulini, Sorrento, Naples, Italy
Sedile Dominova Mansion Palace
The palace-mansion of Sedile Dominova.
In this 15th-century palazzo, wedged awkwardly between racks of souvenir products, you’ll find gorgeous, though faded by time, authentic ancient frescoes. The domed terrace overlooks the street on both sides.
In the Middle Ages it was the meeting place of the city’s aristocracy, but today it is the workers’ club, where the local retired men like to play cards.
Address: Ristorante Sedil Dominova Via San Cesareo.
This elegant neoclassical villa, built in the mid-1930s, was recently restored. Interesting art exhibitions and music concerts are now often held there.
Address: Villa Fiorentino, Corso Italia, Sorrento, Naples, Italy.
House of Cornelia Tasso
At the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th century Cornelia Tasso, the sister of the famous Italian poet Torquato Tasso, lived in this palazzo.
Suffering from a mental illness, the imprisoned poet fled Ferrara in July 1577. Fearing persecution, he disguised himself as his messenger and went to his hometown of Sorrento to visit his sister. The poet stayed with her for a while and then went north to Rome.
The mansion is notable for its intricate central balcony, which is decorated with carved figures of bizarre creatures – these are more typical of the architecture of Sicily and Puglia than of Campania. When the doors of the house are open to visitors, it is definitely worth descending to the basement room decorated with the military coats of arms of the early seventeenth century, trophies and inscriptions left by the poet himself.
Address: Casa di Cornelia Tasso, Via San Nicola, Sorrento NA, Italy.
Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie
The Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
In the oldest part of this 15th-century church, the apse, above the altar is a polyptych by Silvestro Bruno, created by the artist in 1582. Its central panel depicts the Virgin Mary with Child, St. John the Baptist, St. Dominic and the founder of the church, Bernardine Donnorso.
The paintings framing the altar were painted in the late Baroque style by the Neapolitan painter Nicola Malinconico, and the adjacent paintings in the niches are attributed to the painter Belisario Corencio.
Look closely at the seventeenth-century wooden statue in the niche near the cross aisle, the figure of Christ wearing a crown of thorns. It has been considered miraculous since in 1720 and 1858 when parishioners saw a strange phenomenon of blood draining from the statue’s right leg.
The church is part of the convent built for the nuns of the Dominican order.
Address: Chiesa S. Maria delle Grazie, Via Santa Maria delle Grazie, Sorrento, Naples, Italy.
From the Church of St. Francis, a staircase leads directly to the Galleria Celentano, where expressive works by Raffaele Celentano, a contemporary photographer who spends most of his time in Sorrento and Munich, are on display. Among the gallery’s permanent exhibitions is a retrospective of his photographs from the last quarter century, in which the master tries to reflect the enigmatic soul of Italy.
The terrace offers a breathtaking view of the Bay of Naples, and you can buy limited edition copies of Celentano’s photographs in small stores.
Address: Chiostro di San Francesco, Via San Francesco, Sorrento, Naples, Italy.
The outside of the Cathedral of Sorrento is decorated with stunning frescoes, a three-tiered bell tower, four classical columns and an exquisite majolica clock. Inside, the bishop’s pulpit made of marble (1573) deserves special attention, as do the reclining wooden chairs in the choir and the images of the Stations of the Cross, designed in the traditional intarsio technique of the area.
Although the original design of the cathedral dates back to the fifteenth century, the structure has been changed several times, most recently at the beginning of the twentieth century, when the facade of the building acquired its present appearance.
Address: Cathedral of Sorrento, Via Santa Maria della Pietà, Sorrento NA, Italy.
Church of Our Lady of Carmine
Church of Our Lady of Carmine.
Built at the end of the 15th century on the site of an older church, the one-nave church of the Madonna Carmine is crowned with a majestic ceiling painting of the early 18th century by Onofrio Avellino, depicting the Virgin Mary with St. Simeon and the angels.
In the church you can also see an unusual 16th-century painting of a swarthy Virgin Mary, reminiscent of the Madonna della Bruna on a 13th-century icon in the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Carmine in Naples.
Address: Santuario del Carmine, Piazza Torquato Tasso, Sorrento, Naples, Italy.
Ancient Greek Arch
On its way to the Marina Grande Bay, Via Sopra le Moura passes through a large stone archway. It was once one of the Greek gates built in Sorrento in the 4th century BC.
Other remnants of ancient Hellenic walls can be seen by walking down the south side of Via Antonino Cersale, south of the Duomo Cathedral. The last time similar ancient ruins were found was in 1921 just outside the city walls of the eighteenth century Porta Nuova Parsano.
Address: Greek Gate – 4TH century B.C., Via Marina Grande, Sorrento, Naples, Italy.
The palace of Veniero
Tucked away on one of the ancient Greco-Roman main streets (decumani) of Sorrento, Palazzo Veniero is considered a rare and exceptionally valuable piece of Arab-Byzantine architecture in southern Italy.
Despite significant changes since the palazzo was built in the 13th century, its geometric gray-yellow volcanic tuff arches have retained their distinctly Middle Eastern flavor.
Address: Palazzo Veniero, Sorrento, Naples, Italy.
Villa Comunale | Photo: Elliott Brown / Flickr.
This is not only a majestic park buried in greenery, but also a beautiful viewing platform – from the top of the famous Sorrento cliffs, on which Villa Comunale is located, you have a stunning view of the vast area from the bay to the volcano Vesuvius. There is an elevator on the west side of the villa that takes you down to the port.
The park is especially popular at sunset, when street opera musicians sing and small bars are open.
Address: Villa Comunale, Via San Francesco, Sorrento, Naples, Italy.
A distinctive feature of Palazzo Correale, built in the 14th century, is its attractive Gothic-Catalan façade decorated with huge windows with dark volcanic tuff medians.
The windows overlooking the Via degli Archi are particularly beautiful – their capitals are decorated with stucco acanthus leaves.
History and scenic beauty: the sights of Sorrento
A small and picturesque little town in Italy, Sorrento has gained enormous popularity in the tourist environment. Its uniqueness lies in the natural harmony of the blue sea with high mountain ranges, impressive valleys of citrus and olive orchards. But its main value is the peaceful and always friendly inhabitants.
The city is located on the Amalfi Coast of the Apennine Peninsula. Sorrento is considered one of the treasures of the cultural heritage of the Italian Republic. Theaters, museums, architectural structures and monuments of antiquity are not only the pride of local people, but also do not leave indifferent any visitor.
Sorrento is part of the Campania region, and is directly subordinate to Naples. Its area of 9 km square is home to almost 18,000 thousand inhabitants. Its moderately warm climate allows travelers to enjoy the weather to the fullest. Rains are extremely rare here and only abound in winter.
This resort gem on rugged and precipitous terrain has become one of the centers of the world’s tourist pilgrimage.
The Sorrento coast is divided into an area of beaches (Marina Grande) and a harbor area (Marina Piccola).
What to see?
San Giacomo and San Fillippo Cathedrals
One of the city’s memorable architectural structures. Like most similar temples in Italy, it has been regularly rebuilt over the centuries. Various architectural trends can be seen in it. There is the Neo-Gothic school, Romanesque style, Renaissance period, Neapolitan Baroque and Byzantine culture.
Inside you can see the works of Neapolitan painters, the creations of Sorrentine craftsmen and the famous marble throne.
On the left side of the cathedral is an icon of Our Lady of the Mammoth Mother of God. The right side is famous for the font in which Torquato Tasso, the famous sorcerer of the pen, was baptized.
The beautiful building of the bell tower is separate from the church. It additionally performs the duties of a watchman’s lodge. Original majolica decorates the clock face.
- The Duomo is open daily from 7:30 am to 12:00 pm and from 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
- To the delight of tourists, admission is free.
- Location: Via Santa Maria Della Pieta, 44.
Basilica of St. Anthony
Erected in honor of the Great Saint, the city’s patron saint of heaven, the three-aisled basilica is Sorrento’s most famous landmark. Its construction at the beginning of the second millennium indicates a brilliant expression of architectural creativity.
Filled with peculiar finishes, the temple bears no resemblance to any of the town’s churches.
The Catholic church of the same name is small in size, as is the number of parishioners, which is no more than a hundred. However, the splendor of the structure attracts travelers to familiarize themselves with its merits.
Here you can enjoy the restored paintings of famous architects of Italy from the medieval period and later, and the paintings of the temple conquer with their originality. Shrines of Christianity and the achievements of the art of jewelry are on display.
The Catholic shrine is very popular with local newlyweds. It is considered an honor to be married in the bosom of this church.
- Opening hours: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
- There is no admission fee, you can leave it in the donation box.
- Located on St. Anthony Square.
The Valley of the Mills
Above all, it is a chance to enjoy one of the most romantic parts of the resort. More than a century ago, an abandoned windmill structure has become covered not only with vegetation, but also with many legends and myths. All this fills this place with a certain mystery associated with anomalous phenomena.
The ancient buildings are located in the heart of Sorrento at the bottom of a deep gorge that divides it into two halves. In the old days, such valleys acted as markers for cordons. Unfortunately, the 100-meter gap can only be admired from above, as the possibility of descent has not been thought out to date.
The Royal Baths of Giovanna
This site is associated with the history of ancient Rome. The only thing that has survived to this day are the ruins of a palace building located on the outskirts of Sorrento. In good condition only the bathing complex with a small pool, built back in the 1st century BC.
The popularity of these baths was brought not by the aristocratic class that regularly visited the place, but by Queen Giovanna of Naples. Her fame was due not so much to her rule as to her many marriages and love affairs. According to accounts that have survived to this day, it was in this place that she indulged in carnal pleasures.
The natural beauty here is combined with the remains of antiquity, and the beautiful views are simply indescribable. Afterwards, you can just relax here, taking a dip in the blue of the sea.
Museum of Archaeology in Piano di Sorrento
Villa Fondi houses the historical artefacts collected by the famous archaeologist George Vale, who laid the foundations of the museum. His whole life was linked to the archaeological research of the peninsula. A certain period of his activity forced him to systematize and attest to the artifacts he found.
There is much to see here, from finds touched by our prehistoric ancestors to the fall of the empire of Rome. The restored building is an example of neoclassical architecture. Beautiful views of the bay and Vesuvius volcano add a certain charm to its appeal.
- The museum is located at Via Rippa di Cassano, Piano di Sorrento.
- Opening hours: 9.00-13.00, 16.00-19.00.
- Monday is the day off.
- Ticket price: 15 euros.
Museum of wooden intarsia
It is located in the central part of the city. This seemingly inconspicuous small building in dark pink colors, which houses a unique exhibition of works of famous woodcarvers. For centuries, Italian craftsmen have glorified their country with a variety of inlays, which later became works of art.
Even with a non-professional look you can appreciate the versatility of the executed works. Carved bed with millimeter patterns, caskets with the finest facets, a variety of tables, woodworking machines, tools and many other exhibits on display.
- The museum is located: Via Sant Nicolas, 28.
- Opening hours: 10.00-18.30. Working hours: 10 am to 6 pm.
- Price for admission: 8€.
Correale di Terranova Museum
This ancient art building dates from the 18th century. It is located in the central part of the city park. The famous Correale family used to live in the three-storey house and exhibited their personal possessions. These are statuettes from ancient times, works of famous Sorrento inluminators.
Mirrors that amaze visitors with their shapes and facings are the jewels of the halls. The exhibits on display show products made of Murano glass and Bohemian crystal. The furniture has an air of antiquity about it that makes you want to pay tribute to the people who made this marvel. An amazing collection of clocks makes you forget for a while. There are works of Italian artists from the Middle Ages to the present day. Majolica is just a fairy tale.
At one time in this museum visited: Chernyshevsky, Turgenev and Leo Tolstoy, as evidenced by the sign at the entrance.
- The museum is located at Via Correale, 50.
- Open from April to October: 9.30-18.30.
- Sundays: 9.30-13.30.
- November through March: 9.30-13.30.
- Entrance fee: 8 euros.
An attractive urban landmark. It was named after the first minister of the kingdom of Sicily in the second half of the twelfth century. A member of the lower classes, who proved himself a business leader and won the trust of the king. He served the Sicilian ruler with devotion and was brutally murdered during one of the revolts.
The street is original in that it runs along the bottom of one of the Sorrento gorges, which arose after an earthquake. It starts from the famous Piazza Tasso and ends up on the city promenade. The 500-meter sidewalk is located between the steep cliffs. Pedestrian paths are built at different heights. Tropical plants falling from the cliffs resemble green streams of water rushing down.
The attraction is located at Via Luigi di Maio.
The ancient city walls of Sorrento
During the reign of the Roman Empire, defensive fortifications began to be built. Before the Middle Ages, most of them were destroyed. It was decided to install more powerful structures in their place to repel Saracen raids. Certain areas were reconstructed, with gates and several fortifications with loopholes.
The sea side was protected by the tower with the famous Marina Grande Gate. The fortifications at the top of the valley served as dwellings.
Today there are several restored sites open for tours. You can walk through them and enjoy an unforgettable panorama.
- Location: Via Sersalle.
- Open from 10.00 to 23.00.
Piazza Torquato Tasso
It is the main square of the city. It is surrounded by beautiful historic buildings, with lots of exotic vegetation emitting fragrant aromas. In tandem with the breath of the sea here are born those inexpressible feelings that are impossible to convey in words.
On the square there are two statues: one of the famous minstrel Torquato Tasso, the other of St. Anthony, the main patron of the city.
There are many restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels, and souvenir stores. This is usually the starting point for visits to the stores.
It is easy to find it at Piazza Tasso.
Where to go with the kids?
If you want to bring your kids to Sorrento in the middle of June at the earliest so they don’t shiver in the chilly water. Weather here is favorable and will only make you happy throughout the vacation. The only drawback is the steep approaches to the sea. You will have to look for sandy beaches for kids on the outskirts of the city.
In general, the town has everything you need for a good holiday with children, and believe me, there is something to see. Many attractions are able to not only impress the younger generation, but also leave an indelible mark in their formative years. And the city, buried in verdure over the white steep cliffs, will always be remembered as one of the wonders.
- Svetlana, Arkhangelsk
This is my favorite city on the Apennine Peninsula. The sun and the sea are always here. The people are friendly and the food is wonderful. Amazing shopping, emotional lift and a variety of adventures. In Sorrento there is a peculiar atmosphere, which in my memory cannot be compared to anything else. And on the whole – a great vacation.
- Vyacheslav, Samara
My wife and I were just passing through for one day. We liked it very much. Nice mild climate. There are quite a lot of tourists, but the townspeople are probably already used to such phenomena. There is simply not enough time to describe the sights in detail. It is all incredibly beautiful and interesting. Even one day was enough for us to remember it for a lifetime. And, of course, there were dozens of pictures to remember it by.
- Kristina, Moscow
Amalfi Coast – this is something out of the world of fiction. Such a miracle, I just have not seen. I would like to have wings, just to take off and fly. To see this picture of nature from above and admire it forever. I can not put my beloved Voronezh in comparison, as this city is very dear to me. But Sorrento….
For dozens of centuries, charming Sorrento with its mesmerizing natural scenery has been admired by millions of people from all corners of the globe. You too should decide soon, you just have to visit this cozy and beautiful town!
Useful maps and videos
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