Posted by: Debra Kolkka | October 27, 2011

Come back to Sorrento

If I had to find a single word to describe Sorrento I would have to say cheerful. It is a fun, vibrant place to be. The streets are full of people, the shops are full of colourful ceramics and coral jewellery to buy and the restaurants are set prettily waiting to serve you some delicious food.

I took the boat from Napoli to Sorrento. It leaves from Molo Beverello at the port and is a far more pleasant way to arrive than the Circumvesuviana train that leaves from Stazione Centrale in Piazza Garibaldi and you get to see the gorgeous coastline along the way.

leaving Napoli – look at the size of that cruise ship!

Vesuvius look beautiful from the sea. Let’s hope she stays asleep for a while longer.

a beautiful day in the Bay of Naples
Vesuvius look harmless today
so much better than the train
coming into Sorrento
the cliffs of Sorrento
this is for you Caroline

Fortunately there is a bus which runs from the port to the central square in Sorrento as it is quite a hike .

Piazza Tasso – the main square in Sorrento

The square was named after Torquato Tasso. The poet was born in Sorrento in 1544 and died in 1595 just before he was to be crowned poet laureate. He stands watch over the square.

Torquato Tasso by sculptor Giovanni Carli in 1870

At the other end of the square is the Church of Maria del Carmine with its yellow wedding cake facade.

looking towards Maria del Carmine

The town is split by a narrow ravine formed by a mountain stream, which is now just a trickle.

looking into the ravine

Villa Comunale is a large park that sits on the clifftop overlooking the Bay of Naples. Steps lead from here down to the Marina Piccola.

from Villa Comunale
the Bay of Naples from Villa Comunale
looking down to the marina

Near the Villa Comunale is the Convento di san Francesco with its beautiful 14th century cloister.

the 14th century cloister

Just outside the Villa Comunale gardens was a cranky little man selling fruit and vegetables from the back of is tiny truck. I hope his fruit was sweeter than his disposition.

the crabby fruit seller

On the way back to the centre I spotted this pretty restaurant getting ready for the evening.

I wouldn

I wandered back to Via S. Cesario and found another pretty church.

the pretty pink church in Via S Cesareo

Not far from here is the Largo Dominova, the little square that is in the heart of Sorrento’s historic centre. The showpiece here is the Sedile Dominova, a beautiful open loggia that will be the subject of a post all of its own soon.

Sedile Dominova

A little further along the street from here is my neice Rosa’s shop. If you are going to buy coral in Sorrento, you must buy it here.


I don’t think it is possible to leave Sorrento without buying ceramics.

a ceramic shop on Via S. Cesareo

The centre of town comes alive in the evening for passeggiata.

Piazza Tasso in the evening
Albergo Vittoria – I want to stay here
the pretty yellow church at night
evening in Sorrento

Sorrento is a great jumping off point for Capri, Positano, Amalfi and Ravello. I spent an afternoon in Ravello on this trip and I will share my findings with you soon. Sorrento has been popular for centuries since it became part of the Grand Tour and deserves at least a few days of your time.


  1. Beautiful! Thank you Debra! You even have ‘my’ hotel in your pics! I’ve been a bit afraid to go back, thinking Sorrento might not now live up to my romantic honeymoon memories but in your photos it looks just as I remember. Now we really do need to get back there.

    • That hotel was there when I lived near Sorrento 39 years ago I am sure and I think it will be there for many years more.

  2. Ciao Debra:
    THIS is one of my favoite cities in Italy. I’m planning on renting an apartment their for a month or 2 when i retire. for anyone that wants to go down the amalfi coast i have a friend who lives their full time and drives you down the Amalfi Coast in him Mercedes to Positano and Amalfi. ita about a 5 hours trip but he stops in those 2 cities and explains everything your looking at instead of taking a bus or driving yourself which can be a nightmare. wonderful food, great people. i love it. ciao
    anyone needs to know the name and email of the person i can provide you with it. also their are beautiful places to stay but my wife and i like to stay in the heart of the city and their are bed and breakfast’s that are inexpensive if you dont have to have a 4 or 5 star. i like traveling the rick steeves way as you get to know the staff and to me they are almost most helpful in a warm hearted and caring way.
    my email is

    • Thanks for the tip George. The drive along the coast is spectacular, but you are right, it is quite treacherous.

  3. debra: also i know you can go from namples to sorrento but is it by ferry? that is truly the way to go for sure.

    • I took the ferry. There is also a hydrofoil in summer I think.

  4. Beautiful photos, thank you Debra. I love that cloister….

    • It is quite beautiful in the cloister, a quiet haven away from the bustle of Sorrento.

  5. Wow, what can I say Debra… I’ve never been south of Rome and now I am just itching to visit this part of Italy! I love how Vesuvius looms over the bay, with all that development creeping up to its base I wonder if residents are aware that it’s still active…

    • I’m sure they are aware of the dangers of Vesuvius, but are hoping there will be enough warning to get out in time. The area around the Bay of Naples and the Bay of Salerno is some of the most beautiful country in the world, and you just have to get to Napoli.

  6. What great memories you have stirred up for me. We stayed at the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria with that magnificent view and very handy to the ferry boats which took us to Capri I am sure. Anyway the memory which is strong is first time I ever order Spagetti alla Vongole and then years later a Brisbane chef Angelo(see him in another blog entry) served that same delicious dish in a restaurant in Brisbane and we all went mad for it- tasted wonderful but never the same as when on the Amalfi Coast somehow.
    Love this blog

    Di Cant

    • The Vittoria is a beautiful hotel, I would love to stay there.

  7. We usually stay in Positano and somehow manage to run out of time before visiting Sorrento. You have convinced me that I need to make it a priority.
    The Sedile Dominova looks interesting

    • Sorrento is wonderful and there is actually more to do there than Positano.

  8. Another wonderful post.

    • Thank you, Sorrento is a great place to be.

  9. Wow, great photos. Another place I’d like to visit—–

    • The whole Amalfi Coast is stunning.

  10. You always bring us such beautiful, romantic views! 🙂

  11. Hi Debra, I was in the Amalfi Coast last year and I love it. I want to go back. It’s very beautiful! So lucky you are to be there now! Hugs, Rose

    • I am back in BdL now. My visit to the south was excellent.

  12. Looks like an awesome town to visit. I just love those cliffs.

    • Sorrento is a wonderful place, more than just a setting off point to the rest of the Amalfi Coast.

  13. Wowwwww, amazing Sorrento, we loved it so much even though we just stayed for a couple of hours. as you said it’s vibrant, full of life and colors. We ate there for the first time in Italy, gnocchi alla sorrentina in a nice resto in the narrow street of Maria del carmine. it was sooo delicious and the tiramisu. we also got few colorful souvenirs, and limoncello and a sfoglia. the view overlooking the sea is wonderful. Nice memories, nice pictures.

    • You will need to go back. A few hours is not enough in Sorrento.

  14. *sigh* beautiful… I haven’t visited this part of Italy before but would dearly love to.

    • The coastline is one of the most beautiful in the world.

  15. This brings back memories – we had a ball in Sorrento, ‘cheerful’ is a great description of the place.

    • It is a happy place. It seems to be always lively.

  16. So beautiful… You did a great set again dear Debra, I am sure I would be lost in this ceramic shop! What a beautiful cliff… Fascinated me. Thank you, have a nice weekend, with my love, nia

    • The ceramics from the area are very beautiful.

  17. Are there still cameos in Sorrento? Did you do the Amalfi drive?

    • Yes there are cameos in Sorrento and you can buy them my neice Rosa’s shop. I went to Ravello, so there will be a post soon on this gorgeous place as well as some photos of the coast.

  18. One of the owners of the farm we rent here in Tuscany has done all the decorative painting and art restoration at Hotel Vittoria. It is goregous inside. And it is on that property that we think my grandmother lived before she married and was disowned for marrying a seaman and not following her opera career. Thanks for the great pics. It is wonderful to see from someone esle’s point of view. I wish we could afford to live there and both were still able to cope with all the steps. It is such a beautiful area.

    • I would love to see the inside of the hotel. I love Sorrento. I am lucky I have a very good reason to go back often.

  19. Great blog with lots of beautiful pictures..Congratulations!!!Sorrento is fantastic and I love it so much!!

    • I love Sorrento. I hope to be back soon.

  20. […] of Napoli   Click here and here to see my adventures in Naples.   In S’Agata, near Sorrento I visited the family of my first husband. I lived in S’Agata nearly 40 years ago and when I […]

  21. Such a delightful place to explore, Deb! We were there for only a day and wished we could have stayed longer. Perhaps next time…?

Leave a Reply