On Monday I shared our 5-day itinerary for the Amalfi Coast (which you should definitely go check out if you’re planning a holiday), but for my next few posts I’d like to go a little deeper and share about each town we visited, starting with where we stayed – the charming town of Sorrento, Italy!
While not technically on the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento often gets lumped in with the other towns and villages on Amalfi thanks to how easy it is to access other places along the coast from here. Situated on the Bay of Naples, many popular tourist destinations including Amalfi, Positano, and Capri are all just a quick ferry ride away from Sorrento. It was the convenience of Sorrento’s location and its slightly less expensive accommodations that originally convinced us to choose it as our homebase, but it was the charm of the town and the happy, relaxed Italian vibe we encountered there that made us never want to leave.
The award for best beaches and prettiest scenery would go to its coastal neighbors, but what Sorrento did better than any of the other places we visited was offer us a glimpse of real Italian daily life – a woman hanging wet laundry from her open, upper story window, motorbikes everywhere, people enjoying their morning coffee and cigarettes at an outdoor cafe, a couple arguing in Italian in the street, gesticulating wildly with their hands, everyone gathering at their windows or balconies to watch the sunset over the bay every evening. That is what made Sorrento stand out so much for us. It was our first time in Italy and to see it come to life like that was an incredible experience.
We spent two half days and most evenings of our trip exploring Sorrento and it wasn’t nearly enough. We stayed in an apartment just off of Piazza Sant’Antonino, which I preferred to the busier, more touristy Piazza Tasso. Every morning we’d walk down the narrow alleys off the piazza, exchanging smiles and buongiornos with friendly shop owners while taking pictures of everything on our way to the bus station. We’d return to Sorrento at the end of the day once everyone had closed up and headed home or out for the evening, and despite spending our days at some of the prettiest beaches in the world, I’d feel a little sad knowing that I’d missed all the goings-on in Sorrento that day. (There is just never enough time when you’re traveling!)
One of my favorite places in Sorrento was the Marina Grande. If you’re looking for a good place to watch the sunset, this is it! There is so much to watch here, so if you’ve got the time, I recommend sitting down at one of the outdoor cafes and not leaving for at least a couple hours. It’s loud and busy, yet peaceful at the same time.
Boats are constantly coming and going, servers run back and forth from restaurants to tables along the waterside, groups of tourists wander through, and people living in homes above the marina shout to each other from their balconies. It’s a fascinating scene to watch unfold as an uninvolved observer, and the views of Mount Vesuvius and the delicious Italian food served in the cafes only made it that much better! (We liked Trattoria Da Emilia. Their seafood and pasta is molto bene!)
We didn’t get the chance to spend any time at Sorrento’s beaches other than to take a few photos as we were passing through. The beaches in the Marina Piccola are small, but incredibly colorful and unique. Unlike most beaches, there isn’t very much sand here, so Sorrento’s beaches have wooden platforms stretching out into the ocean for sunbathers to relax on. The water is so clear, just like along the coast, and if we hadn’t been leaving every day to explore other places, underneath one of those blue umbrellas is where you would have found me before it got too hot to be anywhere other than in the water!
Even though I’ve got a long list of other places I’d like to see in Italy first, I hope we’ll return to this part of the country again someday. (Because one trip to the Amalfi Coast is never enough!) And when we do, I wouldn’t hesitate to make Sorrento our homebase for the second time!
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