Is there anywhere better to live la dolce vita than sun-soaked Sorrento?
Towards the end of April between leaving one job and starting another I managed to squeeze in a week in Sorrento, a beautiful coastal town in south-west Italy. When I’d been planning the trip I’d fully planned to have the most Instagram-able trip possible but I ended up being super-stressed in the run up with leaving my job and getting everything sorted for the next one so my key aim, as it should be, was just to have a really great time and not even think about blogging or social media. I also forgot my camera which I’m still genuinely disappointed about because Sorrento is honestly the most beautiful and inspiring place.
We stayed at the Hotel Corallo in the Sant’Agnello municipality in Sorrento rather than the city centre itself. This wasn’t deliberate, I just fell in love with the hotel when I was looking for a package deal and when we arrived to this view from the hotel terrace area I knew it was the right decision. The centre of Sorrento is approximately 2km from the hotel and whilst they offer a shuttle bus service between the hotel and the town, we’d often walk into the town.
The hotel was a real revelation. Modern and beautiful in an unbeatable location (in my opinion) and really reasonably priced. The two pictures above are of the view from the bedroom balcony – the perfect place to sit with an aperol spritz and watch the sun go down.
The staff were incredibly friendly and helpful, nothing was too much trouble and they also took time to stop and talk. The food at the hotel was pretty hit and miss, we had breakfast included and it was a pretty average buffet, nothing special but not terrible. We occasionally ate at the pool bar for lunch and the food was usually good, especially the margarita pizza but we didn’t have dinner there.
Whilst we didn’t have dinner at the hotel we’d often get a drink from the bar and watch the sun set from the terrace before heading into town for food.
We booked two day trips: one to Pompeii, and one to Capri, both of which will get their own posts, and spent the rest of the week wandering around Sorrento, reading by the pool and generally just relaxing, eating all of the food and drinking all of the nastro azzuro!
Amalfi lemons are one of the largest local exports and the streets are lined with trees growing oranges and lemons.
We spent hours just wandering the narrow streets of Sorrento, ducking in and out of tiny shops selling everything from linen clothes – there’s a lot of linen! – to handmade souvenirs, gelato and more. You really feel like you’re in Italy in Sorrento with the abundance of wisteria and bourgonveila growing over buildings; narrowed cobbled streets where locals dash out of tiny coffee shops carrying shots of espresso back to their mopeds and people hanging their washing out over their balcony to catch the sun.
Sorrento is very beautiful with stunning architecture, expansive views of the Bay of Naples and the rest of the Sorrentine peninsula and just a general feeling of living your best life!
You know you’ve arrived in the centre of Sorrento when you get to Piazza Tasso. Follow the side streets off of the piazza to discover independent shops and restaurants, all offering something unique. Pull up a seat at Bar Ercolano when Naples are playing and immerse yourself in their tribal football atmosphere.
Places to eat and drink
I’d only been to Italy once before, to Milan, and I didn’t get the experience I was hoping for there but Sorrento fully delivered. We discovered some great little al fresco dinner and drink spots which is what an Italian holiday is all about for me. Drinking coffee at restaurant Monnalisa before heading next door for beautiful olive oil, chilli and garlic pasta in the sun. Bliss.
I developed a serious addiction to gelato, particularly kinder bueno gelato which needs to be shared with the world as a matter of absolute urgency. Seriously, this stuff is insanely good.
We went for drinks at the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria before heading into the square for the aforementioned olive oil pasta. The hotel has beautiful views across the Bay of Naples and is a great plae for sundowners.
Try and find the bars tucked into quite corners of public piazza’s, they’re usually the best.
The words: “come in, have dinner – you don’t like, you don’t pay” wouldn’t normally encourage me into a restaurant but boy am I glad they did because upon entering we had the best pizza ever. The family run restaurant is called Il Ruttino and is based in Sant’Agnello. Mine was tomato and pesto and it was the most incredibly fresh and tasty pesto I’d ever had. I wouldn’t have thought of using pesto as a pizza sauce but I definitely will now.
In typical fashion it was accompanied by a, well, what can only be described as a tankard of nastro azzuro and finished with the bill and a shot of homemade limocello.
We also had some really lovely pasta at Ristorante O’Murzil in the centre of Sorrento which we found by chance but thoroughly enjoyed.
There were two standout restaurants though, Ristorante Moonlight (review here) and Il Buco (review here), they couldn’t be more different in terms of style and appeal but I loved them both so much they’re getting their own posts.
The food is Sorrento is really excellent – everything is so fresh and so full of flavour, my only regret is not doing a food tour or a cooking class but there’s always another trip…
Considering we visited out of season at the end of April the weather was good and just starting to get busy as the cruise ships had started docking in Naples again for the season. If I go back I think I’d definitely go back in April again – the weather can be hit and miss but it’s worth it I think.
I’ll post about Pompeii, Capri and my two favourite restaurants separately so do look out for those over the coming days.
Have you been to Sorrento?