As one of the Amalfi Coast’s main tourist hubs, Sorrento offers visitors plenty to do. To help you out plan your trip, we’ve come up with a list of the 10 best things to do in Sorrento, Italy.
Sorrento itself is full of bustling public squares, incredible buildings lining the busy streets, endless food options, and easy transportation to many other great destinations. There are all sorts of ways to have the perfect Sorrento vacation, but it comes down to knowing what to focus your time and energy on while there.
So without further adieu, here are the 10 best things to do in Sorrento, Italy!
Walk Through the Villa Comunale Gardens
Located in the heart of historic Sorrento, the Villa Comunale Gardens are something that you don’t want to miss while visiting. The bayside park is full of lush greens, beautiful wildflowers, incredible fountains, and breathtaking views of the Amalfi Coast.
One of the most popular parks in Sorrento, it’s easy to see why as soon as you head there. With St. Franceo’s Chuch looming in the distance, walking through the gardens is a must-do either before or after you visit the church. It’s a quiet, relaxing park that will take you out of the city’s touristy center and into a whole new world of calm and beauty. It is also close to serval budget-friendly hotels in Sorrento.
Visit Piazza Tasso
The main social center of all of Sorrento, Piazza Tasso, is the place to go when you aren’t sure what you want to do next. Lined with little shops, tasty restaurants, and quaint coffee shops, Piazza Tasso is perfect for grabbing a coffee or a meal and taking in the culture of Sorrento all around you.
Piazza Tasso is located on the edge of Old Sorrento — more on that later — and is welcoming with its open space and bright sunlight. Look around at the many historic buildings all around, or go on a tour around the square and neighboring areas in a horse-drawn carriage. Piazza Tasso is where you go to people-watch or be seen yourself and is a necessary place to stop by during any trip to Sorrento.
See the Cathedral of Sorrento
Also known as Il Duomo, the Cathedral of Sorrento is a must-visit while you’re in the city. Dominating the skyline of the city, Sorrento’s cathedral is more of what you’ll expect from big cathedrals as you travel around more parts of Italy. Robust size, stone construction, intricate details, and incredible architecture. These are all things that are perfectly encapsulated by the beautiful Cathedral of Sorrento.
The cathedral was originally constructed nearly a millennium ago in the 11th century before being updated and rebuilt 400 years later to match the new architectural style of the day. Naturally, the church is still used for worship services, but visitors and locals alike can stop in to admire the amazing artwork and architectural design within.
Visit St. Francesco’s Church & Cloister
As you’re making your way to the aforementioned Villa Comunale Gardens, you’ll nearly walk right into St. Francesco’s Church as you approach. Both of these activities are worth doing in their own right, so knocking out two back to back is the best way to experience the city of Sorrento.
St. Francesco’s Church and Convent is perhaps most well-known for its beautiful covered walkway — the cloister. Inside the cloister, you’ll find priceless works of art lining the walls and displays showing the history of the church. The church itself is a sight to see, with its exterior lined with perfect landscaping and pristine Italian architecture. No matter how long you’re planning on staying in Sorrento, checking out St. Francesco’s Church and adjoining cloister is a must.
Explore the Ruins of Pompeii
Although not technically in Sorrento, the Ruins of Pompeii are usually visited from Sorrento due to their proximity to the city. In any case, exploring the Ruins of Pompeii is a must-do for any trip to Italy in general, not just to Sorrento! Laid to waste in 79 AD by the eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius, the ruins of this ancient city remain today as a great way to spend half a day while visiting Sorrento.
The Ruins of Pompeii consist of the remains of the ancient city that are still standing today. You’ll find parts of buildings, entire structures, stone sculptures, and plenty of preserved walking paths to keep you busy. You can explore the ruins all on your own, but there are also guided tours to help you get the full experience. They’ve added a restaurant to the center of the ruins as well, so don’t be afraid to spend a bit more time here. It’s a once in a lifetime experience!
Stroll Through Old Sorrento
If you ever start to tire of the city’s busier parts, full of crowds of both locals and tourists alike, consider taking a walk through Old Sorrento for a different perspective. The aforementioned St. Francesco’s Church is one of the area’s highlights, but it certainly isn’t the only thing worth seeing in Old Sorrento.
Just spend some time walking down the streets and through the alleys, taking in everything around you. The architecture. The construction. The artwork. Everywhere you look, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse into the history of not only Sorrento but of Italy as a whole. It’s worth spending a few hours just exploring and letting yourself wander through the old part of town.
The Ruins of Herculaneum
Another option to explore the ruins of an ancient city a short distance from Sorrento is to visit the Ruins of Herculaneum. Like its sister city of Pompeii, Herculaneum was also destroyed by the devastating eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Due to it being located further away from the volcano that Pompeii is, more structures have survived in Herculaneum, including even some made out of wood.
To add to the somber and eerie experience of exploring ancient ruins, Herculaneum even has human skeletal remains. Preserved in the ash and lava stone of the eruption, these remains are visible nearly 2,000 years later. Spending some time at Herculaneum will give you a different perspective on the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, an event that will live in infamy forever among Italians.
Walk Along the City Walls
During the heyday of Sorrento, back in the days of the Roman Empire, the Greeks before them, and even before the Greeks, walls were built to protect the city. These walls, initially constructed nearly 2,400 years ago, were eventually fortified further by the Greeks and expanded by the Roman Empire many years later to protect the entire city.
Since then, many sections of the walls have been taken down, fallen, or destroyed, but some places still remain. Go for a walk along the city’s outer edges and take a look at these impressive fortifications. It will take you back to a time when cities were constantly under attack, and you needed massive stone walls around them before the locals could be safe. It’s a surreal experience that you don’t want to miss.
Grab Dinner and Franco’s Pizzeria
It’s not exactly easy to find, nor is it very well advertised throughout the city. Travel down Corsa Italia in Sorrento, and eventually, you’ll come upon the best pizza place around, Franco’s Pizzeria. A hidden gem deep in the city of Sorrento, Franco’s Pizzeria should be at the top of your list for grabbing some authentic Italian pizza during your visit.
It’s a small, quiet, and easy-to-miss pizza joint that just so happens to serve the best pizza anywhere on the entire Amalfi Coast. You’ll be able to enjoy a dinner with the whole family without the troves of tourists and at a much better price than all of the more well-known pizza places. So if you’re going to plan any dinners out while in Sorrento, be sure to include a visit to Franco’s Pizzeria!
Get Dessert at Gelateria Davide
After you finish the best pizza of your life at Franco’s Pizzeria, make your way to Gelateria Davide for a delicious dessert. As the name suggests, Gelateria Davide specializes in the Italian take on ice cream — gelato.
Serving some of the best gelatos in town, Gelateria Davide is the best place to end a day in Sorrento. Eating some creamy gelato and watching the world go by, you’ll be in a state of bliss sitting at one of their cozy outdoor tables.