Cloister of San Francesco
This 14th-century church and cloister is located next to the Villa Comunale (public gardens) overlooking the sea, and home to lovely painting depicting the pregnant Mary Magdalene. This delightful cloister is a popular venue for civil weddings, and the adjacent park offers some of the most beautiful sea views in town from the scenic overlook.
This villa is also known as Villa Fazzoletto (Handkerchief Villa) because it was once residence of Fiorentino Antonino and his wife Lucia Cuomo, known worldwide for their production of beautifully embroidered handkerchiefs.
The villa was built by the couple at the beginning of the 1930s on a 10,000 square meter parcel of land located between the city's main thoroughfare and ancient walls.
Completed in 1936, the villa is now located in the center of the city and has lovely grounds with a rose garden in front and citrus grove behind, and was furnished with elegant style and valuable antiques.
There is also an antique majolica tile dedicated to St. Francis in the villa garden.
Port of Marina Grande
The picturesque Marina Grande port is nestled in a charming cove just below the center of Sorrento, and is one of the most popular corners of the coastline due to its timeless fishing village charm. The Old World atmosphere and thriving local community is due to the harbor's sheltered position, created by the promontory which separates the center of Sorrento from this delightful hidden hamlet. The promontory was once home to an ancient Roman villa belonging to the nephew of Emperor Augustus.
Ancient walls of Sorrento
Sorrento has had a system of defensive walls encircling the town center since ancient Roman times, parts of which are still preserved and visible. The town was still using these defensive walls until the middle ages, when Sorrento's imposing walls guarded against attacks by Saracen pirates, who devastated much of southern Italy's seas and coastline until the 16th century.
In front of the cathedral's bell tower, follow Via Reginaldo Giuliani to the 15th-century Sedil Dominova, one of the two loggias where Sorrento's ruling aristocratics would gather in council. You can view the city's coat of arms, as well as those of the various families of the local aristocracy, displayed here. The loggia has a square shape with two corner arches in piperno (volcanic stone), through which you can see the interior of the cupola and the 18th-century frescoes decorating the end walls. The 17th-century cupola is topped by green and yellow majolica roof tiles.
The Duomo, or Cathedral of San Filippo and San Giacomo, on Corso Italia is Sorrento's most important church, dating to the 11th century but completely rebuilt in the 15th century in its current Romanesque style. The magnificent interior, with three naves separated by pillars and an ornate ceiling, houses rare 14th-century bas-reliefs, paintings of the 17th-century Neapolitan school, and a beautiful 16th-century archbishop’s throne in marble.
Bagni della Regina Giovanna
I Bagni della Regina Giovanna, or The baths of Queen Joan, is one of the most beautiful and little-known beaches near Sorrento. The beach is only accessible by foot, so never crowded, and was once the site of a majestic Roman villa dating from the first century BC. Today, you can still visit the ruins of this seaside residence, and swim just off the coastal cliffs. (Due to the rough terrain and difficult access, this is not recommended for children).
Torquato Tasso, Poet
Torquato Tasso (1544-1595) was a 16th-century Italian poet born in Sorrento and best known for his poem La Gerusalemme liberata (Jerusalem Delivered, 1581), in which he describes the conflict between Christians and Muslims during the siege of Jerusalem at the end of the First Crusade. The poet suffered from mental illness and died shortly before he was to be crowned King of Poets by the Pope. Tasso was one of the most widely read poets in Europe until the 20th century.
The Correale Museum is located in an aristocratic villa surrounded by a citrus grove, and has a beautiful scenic terrace overlooking the Gulf of Naples and a collection of 17th and 18th-century Neapolitan paintings. The museum also displays valuable Capodimonte and Sèvres ceramics, Murano glassware, Bohemian crystal, a collection of watches, and archaeological finds. The villa is furnished with fine antiques and inlaid jewel cases, and the library holds works by Torquato Tasso.