“A strip of land that extends towards Capri and the Mediterranean, south of the Gulf of Naples. A succession of cliffs overlooking the sea and small pleasant bays, overlooking an enchanting blue.”
This is the Sorrento coast. An inaccessible coast of terraces sloping down to the sea where orange trees, vines, olive trees and lemons are grown, from which, in spring, a heady scent of flowers rises and from whose fruits the famous limoncello is obtained. Man has been fascinated by this place since ancient times: the Greeks thought that this sea was inhabited by sirens (according to legends, the ancient Surrentum was born in a place sacred to the cult of these creatures). The Romans built splendid villas, roads, docks and thermal baths, the remains of which can still be admired, especially in Sorrento. Also inhabited in medieval times, despite the raids of the Saracens, in the nineteenth century together with the nearby Amalfi coast, the Sorrento coast was one of the favorite destinations of the Grand Tour.
Sant’Agnello with its dream villas, Meta with the Basilica of Santa Maria del Lauro, Sorrento with its citrus groves and the ancient center, Massa Lubrense, the extreme point of the peninsula, are just some of the towns that overlook this strip of Tyrrhenian. A small natural paradise that still offers one of the most intense views in the region today, between lush vegetation and a sea of turquoise shades. The most important city of the peninsula is Sorrento, born on a tufaceous plain overlooking the sea. The historic center, partly surrounded by sixteenth-century walls, is crossed by streets that show the layout of the ancient Roman town hall. To visit the Sedile Dominova, an ancient loggia (15th century) of the Sorrento nobles and the Correale Museum. Also of interest are the Cathedral with its neo-Gothic façade, the Basilica of Sant’Antonino (14th century) and the church of S. Francesco d’Assisi, with a small 14th-century cloister. The beauty of the place and the mild climate have made the city one of the most important tourist destinations in the region. Also worth seeing is Vico Equense, with its necropolis, the ancient village of Equa and the evocative church of Santissima Annunziata overlooking the sea.
What to do
Shopping enthusiasts are advised to take a tour in the center, among the buildings from the 1700s and the shops displaying the beautiful inlaid woodwork typical of the city’s crafts. For nature lovers, however, a visit to the nearby natural areas of Baia di Ieranto and Punta Campanella is a must. On the first Saturday of each month, the “Mercatino dei Ricordi” takes place in Piano di Sorrento. An opportunity to take a dip in the past by visiting the stalls displaying antiques, modern art, collectibles and curiosities from the past.
Not to be missed: the limoncello
Among the traditions that have been handed down for generations in these lands, there is the ancient recipe of limoncello, a liqueur that derives from the infusion of lemon peels in alcohol, and which is a must to taste when visiting the Sorrento peninsula. Having become common throughout the peninsula and produced in other Italian areas rich in citrus groves, the true limoncello is however the one obtained from lemons from Sorrento and throughout the Sorrento peninsula, with the addition of Capri. It is not just any lemons but a variety that sees them large and fragrant, grown in an “organic” way without the help of fertilizers. The gradation of limoncello is 30-35 ° and the color between yellow and pale green, depending on the ripeness of the lemons; it should be served very cold after a meal. Also worth tasting is the provolone del Monaco DOP, the buffalo mozzarella from Campania DOP and many other typical products of the area.