Are you on a cruise around Italy and stopping for a shore excursion in Sorrento? Planning a boat tour to the mainland from Capri? Or maybe you're visiting the Amalfi Coast and want to dedicate a day to this historic coastal town on the Sorrentine Peninsula before moving on to nearby sights?
Here are some tips about what to do and see during a day trip to Sorrento, Italy.
Things To Do in Sorrento in a Day
From Piazza Lauro to Piazza Tasso
Regardless of whether you arrive by car or train, your starting point for your one-day itinerary in Sorrento will probably be the modern Piazza Lauro. From here, walk down Corso Italia to Piazza Tasso, Sorrento's main piazza. Take a few minutes to walk a few meters up Viale Enrico Caruso, and take in the view over the railing down to the dramatic "Valley of the Mills" in the gorge below.
Piazza Tasso was built above one of the many "valloni", or small gorges, which have been carved out over time by streams rushing from the hills behind Sorrento down to the Mediterranean sea. At the very bottom of the gorge, you can still see the ruins of one of the many water-powered mills that once lined these gorges, with a lumberyard adjacent.
Piazza Tasso is the perfect place to stop for an espresso or cocktail.
Grab an outdoor table at one of the many cafés which line the square and spend some time people-watching.
From Piazza Tasso, continue your walk down Corso Italia, the main shopping thoroughfare in the center of Sorrento, where locals go to see and be seen. Along the Corso, stop to visit Sorrento's cathedral, then, at the end of the Corso, turn right and then right again...you'll find yourself in the charming historic lanes of Sorrento's old town.
The Museo della Tarsia Lignea (Inlaid Wood Museum)
You will probably have noticed the breathtaking inlaid wood panels decorating Sorrento's Cathedral. To get a better idea of the history and importance of this local craft, visit the local museum of inlaid wood. The collection includes pieces of furniture crafted over the last century, and a wing dedicated to contemporary pieces of modern design.
The Lanes of the Historic Center of Sorrento
Walk along Via San Cesareo, one of the oldest streets in town, until you reach Sedil Dominova. This was once the gathering place for Sorrento's high society and is now the headquarters of the Società di Mutuo Soccorso. From here, take Via Reginaldo Giuliani down to the entrance to the Villa Comunale park, where you'll find the Church of San Francesco on your right.
Don't miss the lovely cloister here, dating from 1300 and one of the most picturesque spots in town for weddings and photography exhibitions.
Once you've visited the cloister, take a walk through the lovely Villa Comunale, and snap a few pictures of the breathtaking view from here over the Sorrento coastline with Mt. Vesuvius looming in the distance. From here, you can walk down to the port and beach clubs in Marina Grande below, or take the elevator.
We suggest, however, continuing your walk to Piazza Vittoria, another beautiful scenic overlook, and then following the road down to the historic fishing village of Marina Grande.
If you would like to join a guided tour to learn about Sorrento's culture and history, book a two-hour sightseeing walking tour.
Marina Grande is the perfect place to stop for lunch. (Don't confuse it with the bustling ferry port of Marina Piccola.) There are numerous waterfront eateries here, specialized in local cuisine featuring fresh fish and seafood.
Our favorite restaurants and trattorias in Marina Grande are:
Da Emilia: traditional cuisine in a family-run restaurant
Bagni Sant'Anna: fish and seafood with a contemporary twist
Bagni Delfino: classic dishes and an unforgettable view
If you don't feel like walking back up the cliffside to Sorrento above after lunch (though, to be honest, it's not that long of a walk), you can take a bus back up to the center of town.
To fill your afternoon, consider:
- Spending a few hours shopping along the lanes in the old town. Be sure to stop at the shops along the way to browse for souvenirs like local Limoncello liqueur made from the local lemon trees.
- Enjoy a gelato at one of the excellent artisanal shops.
- Take a local cooking class to learn how to make Neapolitan dishes and other specialties from the region of Campania.
- Visit the Museo Correale di Terranova.
- Relax for a bit on one of Sorrento's beaches.
Before bidding farewell to Sorrento, stop for a last cocktail in bustling Piazza Tasso and take in the festive, resort atmosphere that has drawn visitors to this charming Italian town for centuries!
Sorrento Day Tour Bucket List
- The Museo della Tarsia Lignea - inlaid Wood Museum
- Museo Correale di Terranova - archaeological finds, paintings, prestigious porcelain.
- Corso Italia - fashionable shops and boutiques.
- Piazza Tasso - aperitivo and people-watch.
- Vallone dei Mulini - see the ruins of a water-powered mill.
- Villa Fiorentino - are often held exhibitions.
- Villa Comunale - Bay of Naples and Vesuvio views
- Cloister of San Francesco - a Medieval cloister dating from the 1300's.
- Basilica di Sant'Antonino - dedicated to the city's patron saint
- The Lanes of the Historic Center - historic streets in Sorrento with artisan workshops.
- Sedil Dominova - frescoed cupola.
- Marina Grande - Sorrento's fishing village.
- Bagni della Regina Giovanna - a flight of stairs down to Roman ruins in a small lagoon.
- Christmas in Sorrento - holiday events and concerts are scheduled each weekend.
Things to do Near Sorrento
If you have some extra time, here are some suggestions for other things to do near Sorrento Italy
- A Boat Tour of Capri and Blue Grotto - book a Capri boat tour from Sorrento
- A Boat Tour of Positano, Ravello, and the Amalfi Coast - book an Amalfi Coast boat tour from Sorrento
- A Tour of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and/or Mount Vesuvius - book a tour of the archaeological sites and volcanic peak