Sorrento Travel Guide
Watch artisans craft music boxes and elaborate inlaid tables in their ateliers. You can often buy direct from the craftsmen; otherwise comb the stores on the Via San Cesareo for a wider choice.
The domed 15th-century building was once a meeting place for nobles. Today, visitors can walk through the loggia and admire the trompe l'oeil frescoes, or just watch the locals sipping espresso and playing cards out front.
Sorrento’s main pedestrian street is lined with several shops handing out free samples of the Amalfi Coast’s famous sugary limoncello (lemon liqueur) and its creamy cousin crema di limone.
At the peaceful piano bar in this 1962 hotel, everything from the floor-tiles to the furniture was designed by Milanese legend Gio Ponti.
The recently opened gourmet store stocks everything from blood-orange marmalade and mozzarella to sauces and condiments. Raro also serves light lunches and snacks.
The 18th-century villa on the narrow Via San Nicola houses a museum that highlights even more woodwork. The gift shop sells high-end housewares and furniture by designer Alessandro Fiorentino and his three architect sons.
The Stinga family have been Sorrento’s masters of wood inlay since 1890. Third-generation brothers Franco and Roberto keep the family tradition alive, meticulously crafting marquetry jewelry boxes, picture frames, and tabletops in styles from classic to strikingly modern.
Sorrentinos and tourists rub shoulders at the blue-and-green Bisazza-tiled bar on the main piazza. Join them for aperitifs (sparkling white wine; fresh fruit cocktails) or after-dinner drinks (limoncello or finocchietto, made with wild fennel).
Sorrento's best address for locally made limoncello (lemon liqueur) is in a purple-and-green-walled store that also sells artisan-made products, like orange-scented olive oil.
The Romanesque cathedral features several examples of Sorrento's traditional craft of intarsio, or inlaid woodwork. There are also marble tombs and some gory saints' relics, several of whose bones lie interred in one of the chapels.
For a fraying-at-the-edges window into that exalted era of the 19th-century grand tour, pop into Sorrento’s “Foreigner’s Club” bar, home to the town tourist office and still patronized largely by English-speaking tourists for one very good reason: the view.
The village's most upscale boutique is in a small space opposite Le Sirenuse hotel. Must-buys include colorful leather ballerina shoes by Porselli, swimwear by hot labels Melissa Odabash and Laura Urbinati, and Le Sirenuse's own tangy Eau d'Italie toiletries line.
For a designer shopping fix, stroll down the streets around the quaint Piazza Umberto I. You'll find capsule collections by top Italian designers, from Loro Piana to Gucci to Gianfranco Ferré.
Polka-dot-handled cutlery, 1950's-style oil and vinegar cruets, and glass beakers in turquoise, yellow, and pink are just a few of the whimsical pieces at this colorful housewares store.