Sorrento is a beautiful town perched on a cliff high above the sea with views of Vesuvius and the islands in the Bay of Naples . Use this website to help you plan a visit to this elegant southern Italian resort and find your way to the best beaches and some lovely villages and towns along the Sorrentine peninsula that are perhaps less well known to tourists.


Seeing in the New Year in Sorrento

Piazza Tasso is Sorrento's traditional
gathering place at New Year

Corks will be popping and the bars will be busy as local residents and visitors see in 2012 in Sorrento.
Il Presidente della Repubblica, Giorgio Napolitano, will have delivered his Messaggio di Fine Anno -- end-of-year message -- from his official residence, the Palazzo del Quirinale, in Rome, shown on most of the Italian television channels at 20.30.
This will have been followed on Rai Uno by L’Anno Che Verr√†, a live programme of pop and entertainment to see in the New Year.
New Year’s Eve is known as la Festa di San Silvestro in Italy when families and friends traditionally get together for a special dinner.
There are midnight fireworks displays in many city squares as well as at private parties. A custom that is still followed in some parts of Italy, particularly in the south, is throwing old, unwanted possessions out of the window to symbolise your readiness to accept the New Year.
In Sorrento, the main square, Piazza Tasso, is the traditional hub of festivities, where crowds celebrate into the early hours.
Buon Anno from Best of Sorrento.


Visit Naples to see street of the 'presepio'

A classic Italian presepio with Neopolitan figures 
During December churches in Sorrento have had their presepio (nativity scene) on display.
The tradition of recreating the birth of Jesus with a presepio (which literally means crib) dates back to the 13th century in Italy.  Many Italian families also have one in their home and you will see shops selling complete stable scenes, or the figures to make your own, in the weeks around Christmas.
An easy trip to make from Sorrento at any time of the year is to Naples, one of the most famous places for production of figures for the presepio. An entire street in the centro storico, Via San Gregorio Armeno, is lined with shops that sell figures and props for the presepio all year round.
Producers have now even branched out into making figures of celebrities, sportsmen and politicians to place in the presepio along with the traditional characters. So don’t be surprised if you see a Barack Obama or a Silvio Berlusconi among the shepherds.
You can travel to Naples from Sorrento either by train, which takes just over an hour, or take a 30-minute hydrofoil ride from the port in Sorrento. Via San Gregorio Armeno can be reached easily on foot from either the station or the port in Naples.
Language point
Presepio or presepe
You will see the words presepio and presepe used to refer to a nativity scene in Italy. The words literally mean ‘crib’.



Christmas in Sorrento

Panettone is the traditional end to the
 Christmas feast

Christmas is very much a family feast in Sorrento , just as in the rest of Italy and many other parts of the world.
After la Vigilia di Natale (Christmas Eve), when traditionally a fish meal is consumed and the adults go to midnight mass, Natale (Christmas Day) is a time for feasting.
While the children open their presents, the adults savour a glass of good Prosecco or uncork a special vintage bottle while they prepare the festive table.
Friends and relatives who drop in with presents or to exchange good wishes will be offered nuts, biscuits and torrone (nougat from Cremona in Lombardia).
Antipasti is likely to include Parma ham or bresaola (cured beef), served with preserved mushrooms, olives or pickled vegetables.
Stuffed pasta is usually served as a first course, either in the shape of ravioli or tortellini, which are said to have been offered as Christmas gifts to priests and monks during the 12th century.
For the main course, turkey or capon is likely to be served with potatoes and vegetables as side dishes.
The traditional end to the meal is almost always panettone, served warm accompanied by a glass of sparkling wine.
Panettone is said to have been concoted by a Milanese baker, Antonio (Toni), to impress his girlfriend at Christmas time in the 15th century. The result was so successful that ‘Pane de Toni’ has become a regular feature of the Christmas season all over Italy and now even abroad.
The feasting and family parties continue on 26 December, the festa di Santo Stefano (Boxing Day).
Buon Natale from Best of Sorrento and Buon Appetito e Salute.


Sorrento celebrates start of Christmas

Sorrento's Piazza Tasso at Christmas
(image courtesy of

Banks and offices are closed today and there are special masses taking place in the churches as Sorrento celebrates the official beginning of Christmas.
Il giorno dell’immacolata concezione (the day of the immaculate conception) has been celebrated for centuries in Italy on 8 December.
It is an official festa (feast day) when the immaculate conception of Jesus is celebrated in the Christian calendar. It also marks the start of the Christmas season when the lights and trimmings go up, if they haven’t started to go up already.
Although the banks and public offices are closed, all the shops open as usual with many people not at work taking the opportunity to do some Christmas shopping.
As in many other countries across the world, Christmas shopping actually starts much earlier than 8 December in Italy, with Christmas trees, lights and decorations going up during November.
Corso Italia, the main street that runs through Sorrento, has some of the top name shops and will be thronged with activity from now until Christmas Eve.
Buona Festa!