What to do in Sorrento
Are you spending your holiday in Sorrento, and you don’t know what to do?
Let’s take a look to this post, where we, from Di Nocera Service, make a list of the things we advise you.
What to see:
Vallone dei mulini
Just behind Piazza Tasso, a vertiginous natural phenomenon is on view from Via Fuorimura. Il Vallone dei Mulino is a deep mountain cleft that dates from a volcanic eruption 35,000 years ago. Sorrento was once bounded by three gorges, but today this is the only one that remains. The valley is named after the ancient wheat mills that were once located here. The weed-covered ruins of one are still clearly visible.
Cloister San Francesco
The Cloister of San Francesco is located in a beautiful position of Sorrento, near the Sant’Antonino square and the public gardens of the town, that overlooks amazingly the Gulf of Naples. The cloister has three main sections: the Monastery, the Church and the Cloister.
The monastery was built in the 7th century and is located next to the church.
The church was built in 14th century, has a rich baroque style and comes with one nave and various chapels, with the statues of various saints, such as the same San Francesco, Santa Rita, Sant’Antonio and the Mary Immaculate.
The cloister has different architectural styles from the various centuries, and comes with arches on the sides of the portico. During summertime the cloister hosts some events, usually concerts of classical music.
Sorrento’s Sedil Dominova has an interesting history: it was built amidst power struggles between the aristocratic families and notables of the city in Campania, but later transformed into a place where working class people could find peace and help each other.
The name comes from the Italian ‘sedile’, meaning “seat”, pointing to the ‘sedili nobiliari’ where the nobility assembled to discuss issues relating to the town’s administration in the Middle Ages. ‘Dominova’ comes from the Latin ‘Domus Nova’ – which was the name given to this seat when it was established in the Western part of Sorrento, after the local patricians (who until the 14th century had all met at the “Sedil di Porta”) engaged in an internecine feud over the management of public programs.
In 1877, the perfectly intact 15th-century structure was taken over by the Società Operaia per il Mutuo Soccorso (Mutual Aid Society for Workers). Workers peacefully occupied the magnificent building, decorated with 18th-century frescoes.
Marina Grande Sorrento
Port of Marina Grande: the fishing village
The picturesque Port of Marina Grande, nestled into a charming nook of the Costiera Amalfitana (Amalfi Coast), has the atmosphere of a forgotten world. Despite being one of the most popular holiday resorts in Italy, the Port of Marina Grande has maintained its rustic charm, original identity, and sense of community.
Restaurants, homes and shops, rising along the curve of the rocks and the colorful booths on the pier, are all architecturally consistent, creating a harmonious neon free scene. Thus it has remained one of Italy’s untouched treasures.
The port’s secluded atmosphere stems from its sheltered position, created by the promontory which separates the city of Sorrento from this delightful hidden harbor. The Promontory was once the site of a Roman villa belonging to the Emperor Augustus’ nephew.
The harbor’s community, unsurprisingly, is close knit, entrenched in time honored customs, and proud of its heritage, maintaining a “cottage industry” approach to its ancient and primary source of survival: fishing.
As with all ports, it was also a place of trade, connecting Sorrento and the sea.
Since the Third Century B.C. a city gate, constructed of limestone blocks, stood in Sorrento’s walls to admit traders and visitors from the harbor to the city.
Legend tells how, in 1558, late one night, a slave (since instilled into the city’s folklore as a traitor) in league with Turkish pirates, opened the ancient door between the port and the town, admitted the brigands and the town was mercilessly sacked.
The Gozzi Sorrentini, characteristic hand made wooden boats with triangular sails and light maneuverable structure, specifically adapted for fishing, were once crafted in the port. Although “Gozzo” is a generic term for wooden vessels; those made in Sorrento were the vintage version, in a boat-building tradition established over centuries.
The scene in the port at sunset, as fishermen clean their nets and wrap up their day is evocative of a pre industrial lifestyle which has all but vanished from shores across the world
Museo Correale of Terranova
There is a corner of Sorrento which deserves the interest and the participation of those who care about the values of art, history, culture: it is the small, but delicious and rich of works of art, Museo Correale of Terranova.
Walking through the rooms of this beautiful residence, decorated as an old mansion, with precious furniture, fine porcelain and Eastern European rare neapolitan and foreign paintings, you can still feel the extraordinary atmosphere made of lights, colors and scents for which Sorrento was famous in the past.
The museum was created by a private foundation built by the brothers Alfredo and Pompeo Correale Counts of Terranova, the last descendants of an ancient family of Sorrento. In their will they wanted their art collections, ordered in the Villa Correale, to make a museum entitled to their name. The collections are arranged on three floors with a total of twenty-four rooms and the attic arranged as an exposition space.
Antiche Mura Sorrento
The Hotel Antiche Mura is full of history, as from it you can admire ruins dating back the XVI century, and the “old walls” of the XV century, giving the name to the hotel.
The old walls protected Sorrento from the incursion of the saraceans for centuries, part of them are perfectly preserved at our outdoor area of the breakfast room.
On the right side of the ancient walls, you can still admire the beautiful San Renato Tower, armed with cannons, that the Sorrentine people used to defend their town from the dangerous incursions.
Of the same historical interest, below the hotel, is possible to contemplate a natural extraordinary spectacle: The Deep Valley of the Mills.
The Deep Valley originated about 35 thousand years ago, when a violent eruption of the Campi Flegrei, covered of debris the all area going from Punta Scutolo to Capo di Sorrento, creating the now called Sorrentine Peninsule.
The eruption creating a completely new and different environment, with several cliffs, and gorges, one of which the area called “Valley of the Mills”.
In that area, spring waters trying to find a new path towards the sea, progressively eroded the tuffaceous block, created 2 streams of low flow (later called Casarlano and Sant’Antonino).
The lack of water has contributed to form a gorge, only in between the two streams, where a Mills area where built at the feet of the Villa “La Rupe”.
The name Valley of the Mills, infact, comes from the existence of mills – functioning since the beginning of the XX century.
Two main mills were known to be operating, a wheat mill, used to grind the wheat for the production of flour and a sawmill, used in a later time, to manifacture the famous inlaid wood furnitures.
Becoming in no time a always more influent part of the town, soon a public wash-house were built from the local community.
The creation of Tasso Square in 1866, determined a gradual isolation of the mill area from the sea, provoking a sharp rise of the percentage of humidity, making the area unlivable and determining its progressive abandon.
The new micro-climate favored the development of a thriving and spontaneous vegetation in which the dominant element is the Phillitis Vulgaris, a splendid and rare plant of the fern family.
Where to eat:
Restaurants in Sorrento
Delfino Restaurant down Marina Grande (fish)
Zi ‘Ntonio Restaurant situate close to the made squadre (risotto special)
Antica trattoria situate in via Padre Reginaldo Giuliani ( fish)
Franco’s pizza situate 100 m from the train station ( Pizza very Good and chip)
La fenice situate in via degli aranci (fish) not expencive
Buco situate in Piazza San Antonino (fish) for a special night or event
Don Alfonso situate in Sant’Agata (2 ** Michelin)
Ice Cream in Sorrento
David ice Cream situate close to the train station (my favorite)
Rikki ice Cream situate in the old part ( they use a very good products)
La primavera ice Cream situate close to the made squadre (artist )
Bars in Sorrento
Fauno bar situate in the made square (*****service)
Syrenuse situate in the made square good service, a lot of local people go there
Insolito situate in corso Italia, very nice for the young people, start about 21,00 pm
Filou club situate close to the made square, is a piano bar, start at 1 am
Sorrento Cooking Class – Donna Rita will guides you trough the traditional and authentic way of preparing a very good pizza dough form the rising to the topping, she will tell you in her friendly and professional way, how to use all the right ingredients and techniques to create a real home made Neapolitan pizza.
Donna Rita is a Neapolitan woman with years of experience in cooking, the speciality of the house in fact is called the pizza “Donna Rita” , which secret and appetizing stuffing you will discover during the class.
Waiting for the dough to rise, Donna Rita and her stuff will be glad to offer you fresh drinks, snacks and appetizers and she will also show and describe you how to do another famous typical Neapolitan recipe: the egg plants parmesan or the stuffed peppers, according to the seasons’ fresh ingredients available.
When pizza will be ready to be eaten we will sit all together to taste what we prepared during the cooking class lesson drinking a very good wine, the home speciality wine and peaches named percoche ( kind of peach typical of the region ).
Donna Rita will also offer you a delicious sweet pizza topped with hazelnut cream as a dessert, together with her home made limoncello.
You will also receive a certificate of attendance and a little souvenir.
Sorrento Cooking Class Donna Rita is held in an enchanting villa with gardenlocated in the heart of Sorrento with a breathtaking panoramic view on the Gulf of Naples.
The Cooking class lasts from 6 pm to 9.00/9.30 p.m. approximately, but we are very flexible and more than happy to welcome you in the morning if you book your class in advance.
If you have accommodation in Sorrento we can even come to pick you up at your hotel.
You can booking your cooking class on our site!
How to arrive in Sorrento:
Italian businessman, operating in the tourism sector in Sorrento form more than 15 years, owner of Di Nocera Service and Sorrento Luggage.
Passionate about soccer and sailing, he loves to go around the Amalfi Coast by his motorbike.
He also writes articles about news, tips and tour ideas on this blog!