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What You Need To Know

Sorrento is a town overlooking the Bay of Naples in Southern Italy. A popular tourist destination, it can be reached easily from Naples and Pompeii as it is at the south-eastern end of the Circumvesuviana rail line. The Sorrentine Peninsula has views of Naples, Vesuvius and the Isle of Capri. The Amalfi Drive, connecting Sorrento and Amalfi, is a narrow road that threads along the high cliffs above the Tyrrhenian Sea. Ferries and hydrofoils connect the town to Naples, Amalfi, Positano, Capri and Ischia. Sorrento’s sea cliffs and luxury hotels have attracted celebrities including Enrico Caruso and Luciano Pavarotti.
Limoncello, a digestif made from lemon rinds, alcohol, water and sugar, is produced in Sorrento. Other agricultural production includes citrus fruit, wine, nuts and olives.
Sorrento and its sister towns, Sant’Agnello, Piano di Sorrento and Meta di Sorrento now spread all the way along the large plateau that was once primarily agricultural. The towns are all separated from the sea by low cliffs, and there are hardly any beaches – one of the most important things to realise for travellers planning a summer holiday. Sea access is mostly from wooden boardwalks built out over the water, although there are a few scraps of sandy beach along the coast, and enterprising visitors can find attractive coves and pebble beaches around the peninsula.
Sorrento is a pleasant town for pottering around; its pedestrian lanes, little tourist boutiques, limoncello tastings and restaurants all make it an easy and enjoyable place to dawdle and enjoy the holiday atmosphere. Tourists line the railings in the Villa Comunale park to enjoy grand views towards Vesuvius, Naples and Ischia and watch fiery sunsets behind the headland. Most visitors will catch a ferry for a day trip to Capri, or take a bus or boat to Positano or Amalfi. The more curious visitors will find their way down to old fishing quarter, Marina Grande, where you can eat seafood next to the harbour or take a boat trip with fishermen. There is a good range of things to do and sights to see – a few places of interest in Sorrento itself including the old town walls and a couple of museums, and more attractions a bus, train or boat ride away. Walkers will find a network of old mule paths and lanes across the peninsula which give the chance of enjoying the landscape close up.
Population: 16,547(2007)
Area: 9.96 km²

Currency

The Italian currency is the Euro. In Sorrento there are Banks, Post Offices and private offices, open from Monday to Saturday, to exchange money. There are also several ATM machines. Most of the commercial activities accept credit card payments.

Climate

Sorrento experiences a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa). with mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. The mild climate and fertility of the Gulf of Naples made the region famous during Roman times, when emperors such as Claudius and Tiberius holidayed nearby. Temperatures can get as high as 29 °C (84 °F) in April, as happened in 2013.

Getting Around

Walk – if you’re not in a hurry you can stroll from one end of town to the other. Most of the town is reasonably level except for the steep descent/ascent to and from the harbour & beach.
Local buses – the local bus service is good enough to visit all interesting places available in the area. You can also get a bus up & down to & from the beach/harbour area from town, if you want to avoid the short but steep walk.
Taxi
Lift – there is a lift to take you up and down between town (up on top of the cliff) and the beach and harbour area. The lift costs 1 euro and the bottom entry is located just to the west of the public beach, in amongst the private beaches. This is a few minutes walk to the west of the boat harbour (marina). In summer if you’ve had a nice cool swim and don’t want to get hot and sweaty walking up the hill this is a good option.
Bike – See the bike rental section in the Activities section.

Culture

Sorrento was the birthplace of the poet Torquato Tasso, author of the Gerusalemme Liberata. The town was quite famously featured in the early-20th-century song “Torna a Surriento” (Come Back to Sorrento) with lyrics by Giambattista De Curtis, brother of the song’s composer, Ernesto De Curtis. In the 1920s, famous Soviet writer Maxim Gorky lived in Sorrento. In the 1940s, widely renowned astro-physicist Ian Dickson lived in Sorrento. He owned one of the most expensive houses on the bay of Naples.
After the song “Torna a Surriento”, the second masterpiece, which has spread the fame of Sorrento in the world, is “Caruso”, a song composed in Sorrento, in the summer of 1985, by the Bolognese singer-songwriter Lucio Dalla, whose fifty-years ties with Sorrento are described in the novel by the Sorrentine writer, Raffaele Lauro, titled “Caruso The Song – Lucio Dalla and Sorrento”, which was released in December 2014.