The earliest evidence of human settlement in the Sorrento Peninsula indicates Greek and Phoenician activity, however, this fertile land was soon taken over as a Roman colony, until the final collapse of the Empire. In the Middle Ages (c. 9th century AD), Sorrento managed to release herself from outside control, including Naples, and thus the Duchy of Sorrento was born. The Duchy of Sorrento covered the whole of the peninsula, and was soon to become a prosperous economy based on ship chandlery, and the sale and production of citrus fruits and wine. The Duchy later (1100) relinquished its independence to become a protectorate of Normandy, with the advantage of receiving protection against attacks from pirates and the Lombards. 1544 is an important date in Italian and European culture, for it is the year that the poet Torquato Tasso, was born in Sorrento, renowned author of "Jerusalem Delivered" and other poems. In 1558 Sorrento underwent a violent invasion by the Turks. The town was sacked and the population suffered severe losses.
At around the start of the 18th century, after a period of bitter struggles between the peasant population and rich landowners, Sorrento began to emerge as a popular tourist resort, much loved by visitors from all over the world for its mild climate and flourishing countryside. By 1800, Sorrento's economy was based primarily on tourism and the wood inlay industry, which gradually took over from the production of silk textiles. Over the years Sorrento has been the favourite destination of such luminaries of European culture as Lord Byron, Keats, Goethe, Dickens, Wagner, Ibsen and Nietzsche. At the start of the 20th century, agriculture was given a second wind, thanks to intensive cultivation of citrus fruits, which were exported throughout the Italian peninsula and overseas.
In Sorrento an aperitif in Piazza Tasso in the heart of the town is a must, followed by a romantic dinner of one of the local specialties in one of the many Sorrento restaurants, to the soothing tones of live traditional music. After dinner and a glass of limoncello, take a walk around the stores in Via San Cesareo, which are open late. After that, there are numerous possibilities to continue the evening, from elegant wine bars with lounge music, glamorous nightspots popular with celebrities, and classical music concerts in the charming Cloisters of Saint Francis.
Museum Correale di Terranova an ancient aristocratic villa, surrounded by a citrus grove; built over 3 storeys, with 24 rooms containing artistic masterpieces and unique exhibits, a breathtaking belvedere over the bay of Naples.
This is the finest provincial museum in the whole of Italy.
Museum - Workshop of Wooden Intarsia. In a splendid VIII c. palace there is a historic collection of XIX c. furniture and objects that sheds light on the technique of inlay and in particular the uniqueness of Sorrento intarsia, through an unusual and educational exhibition layout.
Trekking Sorrento Peninsula
The 150 miles of trails that cross the entire Sorrento coast are a great attraction for trekking fans. Along these trails you can discover enchanting places rich in history, view points, ancient farmhouses and go through lemon groves, olive groves and landscapes populated with Mediterranean scrub. The routes are signposted near major intersections and in urban centres, providing additional information such as hiking and walking distance. Based on ones level of training and experience, you can choose from dozens of different trips.
In summer, when the sun lingers longer before surrendering its place to the moon, there is nothing more pleasant than to wander through the Marina Grande fishing village; especially if the path allows you to merge into this timeless world with its own pace and traditions. It seems almost to be a small universe of its own, not easily allowing itself to be touched by the often frenetic development animating nearby areas. Here life has its own rhythm, the strongly united community tenaciously anchored to its family principles and working and religious traditions; it loves the sea and lives in symbiosis with it, here time seems to … move more slowly than anywhere else!
Rites of the Holy Week: "White procession", at dawn Good Friday, "Black procession" in the evening of Good Friday.
Feast of the Patron Saint: St. Anthony. If you ask anyone from Sorrento what is celebrated on February 14th, do not be doubtful about the answer! Forget Valentine’s Day, on this day all around the town of Sorrento, people celebrate the death of the Patron Saint of Sorrento, St. Anthony Abbot, which occurred on the 14th of February, in 265 a.c.
"Sorrento Musical Meetings" September - October.
Meetings with music in a town that has a strong and well-established musical tradition. The "Sorrento Summer of Music" Festival takes place every year in the cloisters of the monastery of Saint Francis in Sorrento, and its honorary President is the famous cellist Uto Ughi. Against the attractive backdrop of the Saint Francis cloisters, great names from the international music scene perform alongside emerging talent throughout the summer. Plenty of classical music and chamber music, but also jazz and other genres.
Festival of Santa Maria del Soccorso, August 15th procession with amazing fireworks from the sea.
Visited every year by thousands of tourists, Sorrento is a town with a breathtaking landscape beauty. Steep on the sea, rich in historical and architectural beauties, Sorrento has always been a destination for those who wish to spend an unforgettable holiday in Italy. A holiday in Sorrento will allow you to relax in a unique atmosphere: sun, sea, characteristic lanes full of shops, churches, museums and monuments. During your holiday in Sorrento you’ll have the chance to enjoy delicious meals with thanks to the tasty Neapolitan and Sorrento gastronomy: pizza, pasta, babà, Neapolitan pastiera, Lemon Delizia, limoncello liqueur, Nocino liqueur and so much more. A holiday in Sorrento will allow you to reach easily the enchanting neighbouring centres: you’ll have the possibility to visit Capri, the wonderful island immersed in the green and in the crystal-clear waters of the Gulf of Naples; Ischia, the island famous all over the world for its beneficial thermal waters and Procida, another isle in front of Mt Vesuvius. Thanks to the frequent local Circumvesuviana trains, in almost an hour you will be in Naples, Parthenopean chief town with a bright life and extraordinary beauty. The local railway line to Naples stops also in the archaeological sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum, towns which were completely buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Easily to be reached, in few minutes, is Positano, the most famous crib village in the Amalfi Coast together with Amalfi and Ravello.
Market day in Sorrentoo is Tuesday !