Information & Facts
Despite its popularity as a tourist destination, Sorrento is not
big on things to do, other than explore on foot in and around the
town and possibly find a quiet spot to sunbathe on a pier in the
rocky inlets. Most visitors are here to make excursions, and of
these there are aplenty, from bus trips down the spectacular Amalfi
Drive to strolling the streets of ancient Pompeii or Herculaneum,
cities tragically preserved under the ash and lava after an
eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. There are also ferries
to explore the picturesque island of Capri.
The official language of Italy is Italian. English is
understood in the larger cities but not in the more remote parts of
The Euro (EUR) is the official currency, which is divided into
100 cents. Those arriving in Italy with foreign currency can obtain
Euros through any bank, ATM or bureaux de change. ATMs are
widespread. Travellers cheques can be exchanged with ease in the
large cities, not so in the smaller towns. Credit cards are
accepted in upmarket establishments and shops around the cities.
Banks are closed on weekends, but tend to have better rates than
casas de cambios.
Sorrento does not offer stretches of sandy white beaches and
tends to be over-crowded in the summer.
Nights on holiday in Sorrento can be as relaxed or as wild as
you choose. From around 7pm the pubs and taverns light up in the
area around Tasso Square, which becomes a pedestrian-only zone, and
people start promenading, stopping for cocktails and
people-watching. Later, after dinner, those who are inclined can
dance it off at one of the local nightclubs (or discotheques), like
Matilda, which has four floors offering karaoke, live music,
dancing and a traditional bar. Another popular night spot is Filou
just off the main square, or for a less lively night with folkloric
music, and popular with locals, head for the Taverna dell'800.
In Italy eating is an event to be savoured and not merely a need
to fill the stomach. The incursion of tourism has brought with it
plenty of fast-food outlets and fish 'n chips or burgers are easy
to find in Sorrento, but holiday visitors wanting to go local
should take time to sit down and tuck into the 'real thing' at any
number of excellent restaurants serving creative Neapolitan dishes.
Top of the range in Sorrento is the fine-dining at Don Alfonso with
its lofty cliff top setting; eating Italian means much more than
ubiquitous pizza and spaghetti Bolognese. A novel restaurant to try
is the tiny Ristorante di Leva at Marina Grande, reputedly a
favourite of actress Sophia Loren who made a movie here, where the
owner prepares her speciality Spaghetti Vongole. Whatever happens,
make sure there is room for dessert, for the Sorrento area is
particularly renowned for its confectionary and ice cream, from
almond cakes to lemon sorbet and limoncello liqueur.
Holidaymakers will find that shopping in Sorrento is an
entertaining affair, with a wide variety of items to buy, from
tourist tat to designer clothing. The main shopping area is in the
central Via S. Cesareo and surrounding cobbled streets and squares,
where dozens of stores and boutiques offer their wares. Good buys
are cameos, embroidered cloths, ceramic figurines, silver jewellery
and local delicacies like lemon boiled sweets, Rosolio liqueurs and
jams. Bargain hunters will enjoy the colourful weekly market held
on Tuesdays. Sorrento and the Amalfi coast are well known for their
splendid big lemons. Typical products from Sorrento are produced
with these 'limoni', including Limoncello, a very tasty lemon
liqueur, lemon chocolate, colourful ceramic articles with lemon
motives or lemon soap. Also worth a try is one of the 70 different
ice cream flavours of Gelateria Bougainvillea.