5 things to see in Sorrento

Located just over 20 kilometers from our boutique hotel, Sorrento is the most famous resort on the Sorrento Peninsula. On a trip between the Amalfi Coast and Naples, the town is definitely worth a visit, if only for a few hours. Beloved since ancient times, it fascinates visitors with its enchanting views and charming historic center, where stores selling typical local products teem. As for things to see, there are so many. We have selected 5 of them not to be missed.

The Cathedral of Saints Philip and James

In the heart of the historic center is the Cathedral of Saints Philip and James, the main place of worship in the city of Sorrento. The building was entirely rebuilt in the 16th century, after the terrible invasion of the Turks, and took on its present Baroque appearance in the 18th century. The main facade, in neo-Gothic style, was redone in the first half of the 20th century, following a cyclone that damaged the structure. The cathedral holds a valuable historical and artistic heritage. Notable works include: a valuable panel by Silvestro Buono (1573); paintings of the Assumption and St. Philip and James by Giacomo del Po (1700); and the Baptismal Font in which the poet Torquato Tasso was baptized in 1544.

The Valley of the Mills

Although it can only be admired from above, we could not fail to include in this list the Vallone dei Mulini, a gigantic fissure in the rock created about 35,000 years ago that owes its origin to the most violent eruption in the history of the Phlegraean Fields and subsequent erosion processes. It extends on the southeast side of the historic center and is so named because of the presence of a mill, the ruins of which are visible, used until the early 20th century to grind grain. This is the best preserved valley on the peninsula (there are four others). The best vantage point is from Via Fuorimura, a short walk from Tasso Square.

The Church of St. Francis

Another religious building not to be missed is the Church of St. Francis. It was built in the 14th century on an oratory founded by St. Antonino and later modified in the Baroque style. Several works of art can be admired inside, including: a painting of St. Francis receiving the stigmata made in 1735 by Antonio Gamba; and a wooden sculpture, also representing the saint, donated in 1663 by the Vulcano family. Next to the church, a door leads to the charming 14th-century cloister, where plants and trees are accompanied by a characteristic play of arches. All around the monumental complex is the beautiful Villa Comunale park.

The Correale Museum of Terranova

Foto © Museo Correale di Terranova

A stone’s throw from the Villa Comunale park is the Correale Museum in Terranova, called the most beautiful provincial museum in Italy. It was opened in 1924 at the behest of Count Alfredo Correale and his brother Pompeo, the last descendants of a very old and noble Neapolitan family. Set up in an 18th-century villa surrounded by a marvelous garden with a terrace overlooking the sea, it houses more than 10,000 pieces including archaeological finds, paintings, furniture, porcelain, clocks, fans, figurines from the traditional Neapolitan nativity scene, and wooden objects. Notable is the collection of still lifes from the Neapolitan school of the 17th – 18th centuries, while among the antiquities, the fragment of an Egyptian sculpture found near the Dominova Seat stands out.

The Museum Workshop of Wood Inlay

Foto © Salvatore De Stefano

Housed in the restored Palazzo Pomarici Santomasi, the Museo Bottega della Tarsia Lignea – MUTA is dedicated to the famous Sorrento school of marquetry, its history and the evolution of techniques and materials. Inaugurated in 1993, over the years it has developed exhibitions and initiatives to confirm Sorrentine marquetry over time and enhance it in a modern artistic key. Prominent among the countless pieces on display are the works of the great Sorrentine masters of the late 19th century: Luigi Gargiulo, Michele Grandville and Giuseppe Gargiulo. The museum also offers inlay courses.