Sorrento, a clifftop town that marks the beginning of the Amalfi Coast, is known for its fantastic food, genuine and warm hospitality and breath-taking views. While there is so much to love about this charming Italian area, two spots always stick out in my mind – the well-known city centre and the town’s best-kept secret.
Whether you want Baroque architecture and pavement cafes or ancient, abandoned structures that have been reclaimed by nature, this town has two iconic landmarks you’ll definitely want to add to your bucket list. Read on to find out more about two of the most sensational spots in all of Sorrento.
Piazzo Tasso, the main square in Sorrento, was constructed in 1866 and is a great spot for watching the world go by. In this enormous open space you will find everything from restaurants and cafes to statues and historic buildings with Baroque architecture. Order a coffee drink (espresso is a must) or a light snack at one of the nearby bistros, pull up a chair and spend some time people watching, chatting with your travel companion, reading up on the local history or just leisurely taking in your surroundings.
Throughout the square you will see many different statues including effigies of a locally-born Renaissance poet from the 1500s, St Anthony (the city’s patron saint) and Torquato Tasso, the man for whom the square was named. My favourite building here is the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine, a Baroque chapel with a yellow and white stucco façade, stained glass windows and gorgeous frescos.
Top Tip: When night falls, all vehicle access is restricted and Piazzo Tasso becomes the ideal place for a relaxed evening walk – a favourite Mediterranean activity.
The Deep Valley of the Mills
Behind Piazzo Tasso you will find what many consider Sorrento’s most hidden (but perhaps most exquisite) gem: Il Vallone dei Mulini or the Deep Valley of the Mills, a striking ravine with a flour mill from the 900s inside it. Now lush and overgrown, this gorge is a reminder of how nature always reclaims what is manmade.
The mill for which the Deep Valley of the Mills got its name was used to grind wheat up until the nineteenth century, when it was abandoned due to an increase in humidity that made conditions less than ideal for the millers. You will also be able to see a public washhouse in the ravine, where women once came to wash clothing in the natural trickling streams.
Top Tip: Early to midmorning are the best times to visit as the light is such that everything in the gorge can be seen clearly (once noon hits, the entirety of this valley’s beauty becomes more difficult to see due to the shadows the sun casts).
Where to Stay
Hotel Antiche Mura – Hotel Antiche Mura is ideally situated in Piazza Tasso. It is both elegantly sophisticated and innovatively technologically advanced, making it a fantastic accommodation option for guests who are in search of the perfect blend of traditional and modern. This comfortable hotel boasts an art nouveau style, a central setting in the heart of Sorrento and a peaceful atmosphere.
Hotel Villa di Sorrento – Hotel Villa di Sorrento was built in 1854 and is one of the first hotels ever constructed in the city. Its architecture is Romantic and includes vines snaking around the façade, wrought-iron balconies and tall shutters. This gorgeous three-star accommodation option is ideal for anyone looking for somewhere that is centrally located (it’s right off Piazza Tasso) and infused with rich history.
How to Get There
A flight from London to Naples International Airport (NAP) is about two and a half hours long. Once you touch down, a transfer to Sorrento takes just under one and a half hours by car. Personally, I always choose to pre-book an airport shuttle before I even leave the UK so that I know I’ll have reliable transportation to my accommodation waiting for me the second my plane lands.
My favourite company to use for this is Shuttle Direct. Not only are they convenient and affordable, they also tend to employ locals to be their drivers, many of whom speak English. That means that more often than not I find myself chatting with my driver and getting the inside scoop of the area I’m in, not to mention suggestions of what hidden gems to visit (how do you think I found out about the Deep Valley of the Mills?).
- UK to NAP Flight Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- NAP to Sorrento Distance: 53 kilometres
- Shuttle Direct Transfer Time: 1 hour 16 minutes
About Shuttle Direct
Here at Shuttle Direct we pride ourselves on being one of the top providers of airport transfers throughout Europe and North Africa. We have years of experience and a passion for giving our customers reliable, prompt and professional transportation to help make their travels as seamless and stress-free as possible. Wherever you’re going, we want to help you get there.