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Topping the rocky cliffs of its peninsula, there’s no better or more alluring southern Italian resort than Sorrento, whose location and mild climate have drawn travelers for two centuries. Ibsen lived and worked here for a while, as did Wagner, and the Russian writer Maxim Gorky lived for a decade in the town. These days it’s mainly the haunt of (principally British) package holidaymakers, but it’s none the worse for all that, with a bustling main square in Piazza Tasso, a wanderable old town and the bright, vigorous feel of a place that is unashamedly devoted to pleasure. Its only real drawback is that it has no real beach. But you can swim ...

Topping the rocky cliffs of its peninsula, there’s no better or more alluring southern Italian resort than Sorrento, whose location and mild climate have drawn travelers for two centuries. Ibsen lived and worked here for a while, as did Wagner, and the Russian writer Maxim Gorky lived for a decade in the town. These days it’s mainly the haunt of (principally British) package holidaymakers, but it’s none the worse for all that, with a bustling main square in Piazza Tasso, a wanderable old town and the bright, vigorous feel of a place that is unashamedly devoted to pleasure. Its only real drawback is that it has no real beach. But you can swim from the rocks and jetties of Marina San Francesco, or from the tiny strip of sand at the town’s waterside quarter of Marina Grande, or make your way out of town to more enticing prospects, bathing among the ruins of an old Roman villa or relaxing on the restaurant-fronted strip of sand at Marina di Puolo, just beyond. As for sights, well, there aren’t many to speak of, but it’s worth looking in on the local museums, one of which, housed in an ancient mansion in the heart of the old town, is a shrine to Sorrento’s craft of inlaid woodwork – modern examples of which you can see in all the town’s gift shops. After that nurse a drink at one of the cafés on Piazza Tasso and join the throngs in the passeggiata along the main Corso Italia before retiring to one of Sorrento’s many excellent restaurants.

Martin Dunford
About the Expert

Martin Dunford is the author or coauthor of eight Rough Guides: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Brussels, Belgium & Luxembourg, Italy, Rome, Naples & the Amalfi Coast, and New York City.

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Martin Dunford for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Region of Campania, on the Bay of Naples, southern Italy
  • Language: Italian
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    May, June, September, October