1. Explore Piazza Tasso
Piazza Tasso was established in 1866 and is the central hub of Sorrento, the heart of the city. It was named after the poet Torquato Tasso. It’s a terrific spot to soak up the Sorrento atmosphere and watch Italian life glide by (and Italians do like to dress well) whether it’s on foot, motorbike, train or Mercedes-Benz car. There are several cafes which line the square and it’s a bustling hive of activity. You can grab a seat at one of the tables at any of time of the day. We enjoyed an aperitif at Fauno Bar on our first evening in town. We stopped at Bar Ercolano to take a breather from sightseeing and rest our weary feet – have a drink and just chill out for a bit – on another day. We also hopped onto the Sorrento City Train from here to do an official train tour of Sorrento City which was lots of fun. The tour lasts for 30-35 minutes and tickets can be purchased at the city train official tour ticket office which sits overlooking Via Luigi de Maio.
2. Visit Marina Grande & Marina Piccola
Marina Grande and Marina Piccola are two ports in Sorrento. Contrary to the names, Marina Piccola is the larger port where the ferries berth for day trips to Capri and Positano, while Marina Grande is the little fishing village on the other side of Sorrento. You can catch a lift from Marina Piccola up to the centre of Sorrento. There is a lookout there with a cafe and beautiful views out across the ocean. It’s a great spot to visit and capture the sunset or to have a refreshing cool drink mid day in between visiting other sights.
3. Visit the Church, Cloister of San Francesco and the Gallery Raffaele Celentano (a hidden gem).
When you step off the narrow laneways of downtown Sorrento into the Cloister of San Francesco, it’s as if you’ve stumbled into a secret garden. It’s just so green, serene and peaceful. I was tempted to take a break from sightseeing and sit and meditate for the afternoon.
Then, just when you’re feeling introspective, in the midst of a spiritual awakening, you come across a staircase which leads to Gallery Raffaele Celentano housing a fascinating photographic exhibition called, ‘The Italians.’ Here you encounter many artistic black and white photographs, a glimpse into the Italian way of life, sense of humour, sense of style and celebrating everyday life. We also enjoyed the Sophia Loren exhibition, a salute to the character and beauty of the Italian celebrity film star and femme fatale. It’s a fabulous cultural experience!
On his website renowned photographer, Raffaele Celentano, who was born in Sorrento, writes:
Photography is as essential to our lives as eating and drinking. It enables us to better understand the world around us. Pictures, whether big or small, calming or busy, create new windows into our living spheres. It is as if we looked through the surface of the picture into the picture itself, thus looking into its soul. Photography has positive influences. It creates oases for moments of self-reflection and inspiration. A picture unveils itself intuitively to us at the very first contact, in the blink of any eye. It is only then that it’s second life as our long-term companion starts.Raffaele Celentano
4. Take a day trip to the Isle of Capri
You must visit the Isle of Capri, the Island of dreams. This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip to this region. Take a day trip from Marina Piccola.
Once on the island enjoy a coffee overlooking the harbour and stroll along the waterfront. Then, for a bit of real exercise, commence your ascent on foot up to La Piazzetta, the beating heart of the city. There is a brilliant spot for taking photos and capturing splendid views overlooking the ocean from Belvedere La Loggetta. You can jump on a bus to save time and head across the island to enjoy breathtaking views from the chair lift ride. If the weather permits, visit the blue grotto by boat as well.
5. Take a bus tour to Positano and the Amalfi Coast
We hadn’t pre-planned things to do on our trip before we arrived at our Hotel on purpose, we like a degree of spontaneity. Instead we asked for advice on where to find Day Tours. Heading to a tourist office near the train station we collected a handful of brochures on day trips in and around Sorrento. Since the weather was superb we quickly decided that a Day Trip to Positano was our top priority and arrived back at the station to depart on our bus journey. It was recommended that we take the bus to experience the ‘cliff-hanging feeling’ as the bus meanders along the narrow roads of the precipitous coastline.
Positano is a beach village and is one of the most picturesque spots on the Amalfi Coast. With it’s colourful buildings, pink, salmon, apricot and terracotta built into the hilly landscape and it’s breathtaking sweeping coastline, it is a scenic hot spot. Photographers, hikers, honeymooners and even fashionistas look for photo opportunities to pose against this magnificent backdrop. From the time of departure, this day trip was non-stop, jaw dropping excitement. This region is one that uplifts your soul as it’s dramatic, daring, romantic and postcard picture perfect. It’s totally unique and unforgettable.
As an optional extra with the bus tour we highly recommend that you take the exquisite boat tour from the town of Amalfi to experience the unique coastline, turquoise sea and amazing views. One of Sophia Loren’s homes, is visible from the water, on this tour.