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Sorrento

Sorrento ([s̪oˈr̺ːɛn̪t̪o]; Neapolitan: Surriento [s̪uˈr̺ːi̯en̺d̪ə]) is a town overlooking the Bay of Naples in Southern Italy. The Sorrentine Peninsula has views of Naples, Vesuvius and the Isle of Capri. The Amalfi Drive, connecting Sorrento and Amalfi, is a narrow road that threads along the high cliffs above the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Ferries and hydrofoils connect the town to Naples, Amalfi, Positano, Capri, and Ischia. Sorrento's sea cliffs and luxury hotels have attracted celebrities including Enrico Caruso and Luciano Pavarotti.

Limoncello is a digestif made from lemon rinds, alcohol, water and sugar which is produced in Sorrento. Other agricultural production includes citrus fruit, wine, nuts, and olives.

History

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Sorrento

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Sorrento ([s̪oˈr̺ːɛn̪t̪o]; Neapolitan: Surriento [s̪uˈr̺ːi̯en̺d̪ə]) is a town overlooking the Bay of Naples in Southern Italy. The Sorrentine Peninsula has views of Naples, Vesuvius and the Isle of Capri. The Amalfi Drive, connecting Sorrento and Amalfi, is a narrow road that threads along the high cliffs above the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Ferries and hydrofoils connect the town to Naples, Amalfi, Positano, Capri, and Ischia. Sorrento's sea cliffs and luxury hotels have attracted celebrities including Enrico Caruso and Luciano Pavarotti.

Limoncello is a digestif made from lemon rinds, alcohol, water and sugar which is produced in Sorrento. Other agricultural production includes citrus fruit, wine, nuts, and olives.

History

Roman origins

The Roman name for Sorrento was Surrentum. Legends indicate a close connection between Lipara and Surrentum, as though the latter had been a colony of the former; and even though the Imperial period Surrentum remained largely Greek. The oldest ruins are Oscan, dating from about 600 BC. Before its control by the Roman Republic, Surrentum was one of the towns subject to Nuceria, and shared its fortunes up to the Social War; it seems to have joined in the revolt of 90 BC like Stabiae; and was reduced to obedience in the following year, when it seems to have received a colony.

Numerous sepulchral inscriptions of Imperial slaves and freedmen have been found at Surrentum. An inscription shows that Titus in the year after the earthquake of 79 AD restored the Horologium (clock) of the town and its architectural decoration. A similar restoration of an unknown building in Naples in the same year is recorded in an inscription from the last-named town.

The most important temples of Surrentum were those of Athena and of the Sirens (the latter the only one in the Greek world in historic times); the former gave its name to the promontory. In antiquity, Surrentum was famous for its wine (oranges and lemons which are now widely cultivated there were not yet introduced in Italy in antiquity), its fish, and its red Campanian vases; the discovery of coins of Massilia, Gaul, and the Balearic Islands here indicates the extensive trade which it carried on.

The position of Surrentum was very secure, protected by deep gorges. The only exception to its natural protection was 300 meters (984 feet) on the south-west where it was defended by walls, the line of which is necessarily followed by those of the modern town. The arrangement of the modern streets preserves that of the ancient town, and the disposition of the walled paths which divide the plain to the east seems to date in like manner from Roman times. No ruins are now preserved in the town itself, but there are many remains in the villa quarter to the east of the town on the road to Stabiae, of which traces still exist, running much higher than the modern road, across the mountain; the site of one of the largest (possibly belonging to the Imperial house) is now occupied by the Hotel Victoria, under the terrace of which a small theatre was found in 1855; an ancient rock-cut tunnel descends hence to the shore. Remains of other villas may be seen, but the most important ruin is the reservoir of the (subterranean) aqueducts just outside the town on the east, which had no less than twenty-seven chambers each about 270 by 60 cm (106 by 24 in). Greek and Oscan tombs have also been found.

Another suburb lay below the town and on the promontory on the west of it; under the Hotel Sirena are substructions and a rock-hewn tunnel. To the north-west on the Capo di Sorrento is another villa, the so-called Bagni della Regina Giovanna, with baths, and in the bay to the south-west was the villa of Pollius Felix, the friend of Statius, which he describes in Silvae ii 2, of which remains still exist. Farther west again is villas, as far as the temple of Athena on the promontory named after her at the extremity of the peninsula (now Punta Campanella). Neither of this nor of the famous temple of the Sirens are any traces existing.

According to the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus, Sorrento was founded by Liparus, son of Ausonus, who was king of the Ausoni and the son of Ulysses and Circe. The ancient city was probably connected to the Ausoni tribe, one of the most ancient ethnic groups in the area. In the pre-Roman age Sorrento was influenced by the Greek civilization: this can be seen in its plant and in the presence of the Athenaion, a great sanctuary, also, according to the legend, founded by Ulysses and originally devoted to the cult of the Sirens, hence Sorrento's name.

Middle Ages and modern era

Sorrento became an archbishopric around 420 AD. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, it was ruled by the Ostrogoths and then returned to the Eastern Empire. The Lombards, who conquered much of southern Italy in the second half of the 6th century, besieged it in vain.

In the following centuries the authority of the distant Empire of Byzantium faded; initially part of the substantially independent Duchy of Naples, later Sorrento became, in turn, an autonomous duchy (9th century). It fought against neighboring/rival Amalfi, the Saracens and the nearby Lombar duchies, such as that of Benevento, whose forces besieged it in 839, although Sorrento was able to resist with Neapolitan help. Sorrentine forces took part in the anti-Saracen leagues at the battles of Licosa (846) and Ostia (849). The duchy was ruled by figures elected by the people, which received honorary titles from the Byzantine Emperor.

In 1035 the city was acquired by Guaimar IV of Salerno, who gave it to his brother Guy. After a brief return under the Duchy of Naples, it returned in Lombard hands with Gisulf II of Salerno; when the latter was defeated by Robert Guiscard, Sorrento entered the Norman sphere of influence: any residual independence was ended in 1137 when it was conquered by Roger II of Sicily, and annexed to the Kingdom of Sicily.

On June 13, 1558, it was sacked by elements of the Ottoman navy under the command of Dragut and his lieutenant Piali, as part of the struggle between the Turks and Spain, which controlled the southern half of Italy at that time. 2,000 captives were reportedly taken away. This struggle was waged throughout the Mediterranean and lasted many decades. The attackers were not "pirates" as often characterized, though some may have been mercenaries from North Africa. The campaigns were conducted on the direct orders of Sultan Suleiman. The attack led to the construction of a new line of walls. The most striking event of the following century was the revolt against Spanish domination of 1648, led by Giovanni Grillo. In 1656 a plague struck the city. However, Sorrento remained one of the most important centers of southern Campania.

Sorrento entered into the Neapolitan Republic of 1799 but in vain. In the 19th century, the economy of the city improved markedly, favored by the development of agriculture, tourism, and trade. A route connecting Sorrento to Castellammare di Stabia was opened under the reign of Ferdinand II (1830–1859).

In 1861 Sorrento was officially annexed to the new Kingdom of Italy. In the following years, it confirmed and increased its status as one of the most renowned tourist destinations of Italy, a trend which continued into the 20th Century. Famous people who visited it include Lord Byron, Keats, Goethe, Henrik Ibsen, and Walter Scott.

Rites of Holy week

The two main processions that take place in Sorrento on Good Friday are the Procession of Our Lady of Sorrows (or the "Visit in the Sepulchres"), organized by the Venerable Arciconfraternita of Saint Monica and the Procession of the Crucified Christ, organized by the Venerable Arciconfraternita of the Death.

The first procession takes place at 3:30 a.m. on Holy (Maundy) Thursday and involves hundreds of participants dressed in hooded white gowns. The Madonna is carried aloft in the procession and is accompanied by several religious articles as she searches the town looking for her son. The procession starts in Corso Italia, turns through Piazza Tasso, and then visits each of the town's churches —stopping in each one for a short ceremony. The Madonna is accompanied by aides carrying incense, and a large male choir and band. The procession concludes at 5:30 a.m.

The second procession occurs at 8 p.m. on Good Friday and reflects Madonna's mourning as she finds her son dead. Hundreds of participants, dressed this time in hooded black gowns, march down Corso Italia and then wind through the smaller lanes of Sorrento. This second procession is much larger and better attended.

Geography

Climate

Sorrento experiences a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa). with mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. The mild climate and fertility of the Gulf of Naples made the region famous during Roman times when emperors such as Claudius and Tiberius holidayed nearby. Temperatures can get as high as 29 °C (84 °F) in April, as happened in 2013.

Culture

Sorrento was the birthplace of the poet Torquato Tasso, author of the Gerusalemme Liberata. The town was quite famously featured in the early-20th-century song "Torna a Surriento" (Come Back to Sorrento) with lyrics by Giambattista De Curtis, brother of the song's composer, Ernesto De Curtis. In the 1920s, famous Soviet writer Maxim Gorky lived in Sorrento. In the 1940s, widely renowned astrophysicist Ian Dickson lived in Sorrento. He owned one of the most expensive houses on the bay of Naples. The local football team is Sorrento Calcio who play in the Stadio Italia and have achieved promotion into Serie C1 of the Italian Football League.

After the song "Torna a Surriento", the second masterpiece, which has spread the fame of Sorrento in the world, is "Caruso", a song composed in Sorrento, in the summer of 1985, by the Bolognese singer-songwriter Lucio Dalla, whose fifty-years ties with Sorrento are described in the novel by the Sorrentine writer, Raffaele Lauro, titled "Caruso The Song - Lucio Dalla and Sorrento", which will be released in December 2014.


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Sorrento: Port Information


Cruise passengers are carried from the ship to Marina Piccola by tender boats.
Usually, there's free shuttle service in the port. You can also take a minibus (it is a 5-minute walk from Marina Piccola) to get to the city center.
You can get to the town on foot. However, it'll take you 20 minutes uphill.

Get around Sorrento


  • Walk - if you're not in a hurry you can stroll from one end of town to the other. Most of the town is reasonably level except for the steep descent/ascent to and from the harbor & beach.
  • Local buses - the local bus service is good enough to visit all interesting places available in the area. You can also get a bus up & down to & from the beach/harbor area from town if you want to avoid the short but steep walk.
  • Taxi
  • Lift - there is a lift to take you up and down between town (up on top of the cliff) and the beach and harbor area. The bottom entry is located just to the west of the public beach, in amongst the private beaches. This is a few minutes walk to the west of the boat harbor (marina). In summer if you've had a nice cool swim and don't want to get hot and sweaty walking up the hill this is a good option.
  • Bike

What to see in Sorrento


  • Lemon terraces
  • The pretty Small Port (Marina Piccola)
  • Puntacampanella. The natural reserve
  • Villa Pollio roman ruins in Capo di Sorrento.
  • Hotel Tramontano, where Norwegian writer Henrik Ibsen lived while writing parts of Peer Gynt (1867) and Ghosts (1881).
  • Museo Correale di Terranova Sorrento's picture gallery
  • Archeological Museum of the Sorrentine Peninsula
  • Museo Bottega della Tasia Lignea A collection of local applied arts.
  • Duomo (Cathedral)
  • St. Francis Monastery
  • Basilica di Sant'Antonino

What to do in Sorrento


  • Hire a private charter boat take a day trip to Capri and along the Sorrento Coast or to the emerging tourist destination island of Ischia. Charter La Dolce Vita are the industry leaders on the Sorrento, Amalfi and Neapolitan Coasts and can suggest beautiful itineraries to suit your time frame whether it be you are a cruise ship guest and only have limited time to experience the best coastal sightseeing or you are long-time Sorrento visitors and just want a lazy day at sea. 
  • Water taxi.
  • Swim - Go to Marina Grande or (the better option) Marina Piccola. A much better and more spectacular option might even me Bagni Regina Giovanna, a nice little cove from the ocean in a secluded spot. Though a bit far, it's worth the trip (ask the locals for direction).
  • Bike rental Rent a bike and ride out of Sorrento to see the coast from above. Reaction Retail in Viale Nizza 58, Sorrento.

What to eat and drink in Sorrento


Eat

  • Gnocchi alla Sorrentina - potato gnocchi with tomato sauce and mozzarella baked to perfection.
  • The Pastiera a typical cake that is produced in the area.
  • The excellent olive oil produced in Penisola Sorrentina, this product to be prized in many events.
  • The artichoke or aubergines parmigiana is a typical dish that is made with tomatoes and cheese.
Ice cream
  • Gelateria Davide, Via Giuliani, 35. One of the best gelaterias in the city, this little ice-cream parlor is famous for its gelato that incorporates fresh local flavors. Don't miss the Profumi di Sorrento (with fresh local citrus fruits) or the Noci di Sorrento (with fresh local nuts).
Restaurants
  • O Parrucchiano Restaurant, Corso Italia 71, 6, ☎ +39 081 8781321, fax: +39 081 5324035. Historical, traditional restaurant. 
  • Villa Rubinacci Restaurant, Via Correale 25, ☎ +39 081 8781151, fax: +39 081 8072016. Villa Rubinacci is Hotel Eden's restaurant à la carte, open to both the public and hotel guests. Elegant furnishings in a bright room including outdoor seating in the delightful park settings enhance the chef's traditionally local Sorrentina and Italian cuisine with a creative international flair. Don't miss the famous local pizza prepared in various specialties.
  • The Red Lion is a small, cheap, and surprisingly delicious restaurant, known for catering to tour groups. Traditional limoncello is served after meals.
  • Don Alfonso 1890 Restaurant, Corso S. Agata, 13, Sant'Agata sui due Golfi, ☎ +39 081 533 05 58, fax: +39 081 533 07 77.
  • Pizzeria Da Franco, Corso Italia 265, ☎ +39 081-877-2066. Pizzas, hot sandwiches, beer, wine, limoncello. 

Drink

  • Limoncello di Sorrento, a strong liquor made from lemon rind. Also try other similar liquors such as Crema al Limone (like Limoncello but cream-based and less strong) as well as local wines (like Falanghina, Lachryma Christi).

Shopping in Sorrento


One of the top souvenirs from the area is limoncello, the signature lemon liqueur. You can find it at Limonoro Via San Cesareo, 51. This is a good place to see it being made, after which you’ll know why it packs such a punch – it’s basically pure alcohol with flavoring.
  • Wine and Limoncello shop located in the historical center named l'Alambicco, offers limoncello free tasting, is located just a few steps from the main square "Piazza Tasso". via San Cesareo 15.
  • Leather and fashion shop located in the historical center named Iolanda moda e accessori, have a large choice of bags, wallets, bijoux and shoes of the best signs like Valentino, Roccobarocco, Cromnia and more is in via San Cesareo 15 very close from the main square "Piazza Tasso".
  • Notturno Intarsio. Has the most beautiful inlaid woods. Tables, tea carts, pictures, music boxes. Notturno has been in business for hundreds of years and has the best woodworkers around. Take their tour to see how they make these beautiful pieces of art.

Safety in Sorrento


Sorrento is pretty safe. However, you should use your common sense - just like in any other city in the world. Avoid crowds, keep an eye on your luggage, don't demonstrate your wealth.

Language spoken in Sorrento


Italian is the official language. English is widely spoken.

LOCAL TIME

10:19 pm
February 18, 2020
Europe/Rome

CURRENT WEATHER

11.05 °C / 51.89 °F
light rain
Wed

12.94 °C/55 °F
light rain
Thu

14.06 °C/57 °F
sky is clear
Fri

12.96 °C/55 °F
sky is clear
Sat

14.37 °C/58 °F
sky is clear

LOCAL CURRENCY

EUR

Sorrento shore excursions