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Soak Up Sorrento - From Ancient Ruins and Old Churches, to Sunny Beaches, and Parks

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A southern Italian coastal town that overlooks the Gulf of Naples, Sorrento is a popular holiday destination that offers stretches of sandy beaches and the warm, clear waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Its historic city centre houses labyrinthine streets characterized by ancient ruins and stunning architecture, along with restaurants and bars serving up local delights.

A town of churches

 

A deep reverence for the Roman Catholic faith is felt throughout Sorrento, which offers architecturally stunning and richly adorned churches. The Duomo di Sorrento cathedral has imposing doors that display some of the region's most impressive inlay woodwork, with Neapolitan artworks dating from the 18th century inside. The Basilica of San Antonio holds the remains of Saint Anthony, Sorrento's patron saint, and has marble columns from the Roman age, while the San Francesco church and convent features a lush and visually stunning 14th-century cloister that doubles as a live music venue.

 

  • Duomo di Sorrento, Via Santa Maria della Pietà 44, Sorrento 80067; Tel: +39 81 878 2248; Website: Duomo di Sorrento
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  • Chiesa di San Francesco, Piazza Gargiulo 8, Sorrento 80067; Tel: +39 81 878 1269; Website: Chiesa di San Francesco

Stunning Beaches

 

While you can catch vistas from virtually anywhere in the city, there's nothing quite as viscerally delightful as gazing upon the crystalline Gulf of Naples from a stretch of sandy beach. Sorrento has 2 beaches; Marina Grande and Marina Piccola. You’ll also find family-friendly Meta beach within 6 km, and picturesque Cassano beach at about the same distance. Hot-spot Bikini resort and beach is 13 km away. For a swim through history, you can head 2 km west to the Bagni della Regina Giovanna, a rocky cleft with iridescent waters set amid the ancient ruins of a Roman villa.

 

 

Sorrento's ancient ruins

 

First inhabited by the ancient Greeks, Sorrento is replete with historical sites that date back centuries. In the city centre, you'll find the relatively modern "Valley of the Mills" ruins. Located in a crevasse that was formed during an eruption some 35,000 years ago, it houses ancient mills that were built in the 13th century. Take a stroll through town and you'll see the defense walls that were built by the ancient Romans, but if you pass through Porta Parsano Nuova at Via Sopra le Mura, you'll spot remnants of the original Greek walls from the 4th century BC.

 

 

Parks and gardens in Sorrento

 

The streets of Sorrento are a natural paradise, with bougainvillea and orange blossoms dripping off bushes, and lemon trees and towering palms throughout. You can head to the Villa Comunale landscaped park in the city centre that's bustling with buskers in the summer months and take in views of Mount Vesuvius. Then walk 10 minutes east to I Giardini di Cataldo, which are laden with citrus trees that are used to make refreshing drinks and liqueurs, or take the kids to Villa Fiorentino, which houses a playground as well as camellia gardens.

 

  • I Giardini di Cataldo, Via Correale 27, Sorrento 80067; Tel: +39 81 878 1888; Website: I Giardini di Cataldo
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  • Villa Comunale, Via San Francesco, Sorrento 80067; Tel: +39 81 533 5111; Website: Villa Comunale