Romantic Sorrento, the elan vitale of the peninsula it takes its name from, stands on the grey tufa rock on the southern side of the Gulf of Naples, enjoying a splendid, panoramic location.
Birthplace of the poet Torquato Tasso born there in 1544 and intextricably linked to Homer's legendary sirens who, thwarted by Odysseus, turned into the Li Galli rocks, over the years Sorrento has been ruled by the Byzantine, Normans and Aragonese, and invaded by the Turks before it went through a period of cultural, economic and social regeneration in the 18th and 19th centuries, becoming also a de rigeur stop in the Grand Tour.
The preferred destination of nobility and more so of artists, men of letters and musicians who enjoyed the mild climate and amazing scenery, finding renewed inspiration for their works, Sorrento continues to attract visitors from all corners of the globe. The illustrious visitors of the past, the likes of Enrico Caruso, Ibsen, Benedetto Croce and Goethe, have now been replaced by contemporary travellers of the present seeking the kind of leisure and experience that only the fragrances and colours of this land can give them.
With a blanket of green olive orchards and terraces of olive and lemon trees, jagged, unreachable cliffs dominated by watchtowers, caves and enchanted bays, set against the deep blue of the crystal clear sea, Sorrento is the ultimate creation of nature's magic. It's a place that invites trekking (the trail from Punta Campanella to Monte San Costanzo and Baia di Ieranto is world-famous) and watersports whilst savouring the delights of the cuisine enriched by the excellent local ingredients (tomatoes, DOP extravirgin olive oil, citrus fruits, walnuts, cheeses such as the "treccia" and "provolone", nassa and pezzogna shrimp, and local Gulf fish).
But Sorrento is also a place of history and culture, commencing from the Greek-Roman town plan that has been preserved to modern times, consisting of parallel roads spreading out from the main axis of Via San Cesareo and fulcrum Via Tasso. There are numerous archeological relics exhibited in local museums or along the roads of the town centre, as well as beautiful churches and aristocratic palazzi: notable among these are the 14th century Cloister of St. Francis featuring Arab travertine interlacing arcades and used as a venue for the Sorrento Festival concerts, and the Sedil Dominova, ancient nobliary seat dating to the 16th century.
Visitors to Sorrento can enjoy the many restaurants and bars in their free time, as well as and most importantly, shops, craft workshops and exclusive boutiques for all tastes and needs: from lace to coral ornaments, inlaid boxes, hand-painted ceramics and mouthwatering sugared almonds and citrus liqueurs. And not forgetting the leading labels of Italian haute couture present with their own private label stores or in specialist shops.