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.


Basilica di Sant’Antonino

Church displays whalebone to commemorate brave deed by saint

The Basilica di Sant'Antonino dates back to at least the 11th century
The Basilica di Sant'Antonino dates
back to at least the 11th century
The Basilica di Sant’Antonino in Sorrento, considered the town's most important church after the Duomo, is named after one of the city’s patron saints.

The present building in Piazza Sant'Antonino dates back to at least the 11th century, although it is thought to have been built on top of a seventh century oratory housing the saint’s tomb.

The grey tuff façade and bell tower were added during the Renaissance period and the interior was refurbished in baroque style in the 18th century.

Some of the marble columns in the church are believed to have come from villas built in the area by the Romans, which were eventually abandoned.

The church has a beautiful example of a presepe (crib) with 17th century figures made by the best Neapolitan sculptors of the time.

The crypt, which was rebuilt in the 1700s, has many paintings and gifts offered by sailors to fulfil vows they made after they believed their lives had been saved, thanks to the intervention of Sant’Antonino, when they were in peril on the sea.

The pulpit of tarsia (inlaid wood) was made by local craftsmen in the 1930s.

The basilica has a whale rib on display in the
lobby to commemorate Sant'Antonino's bravery
The church was badly damaged in the 16th century by Turkish pirates who succeeded in landing and then invading Sorrento, but it was later restored and refurbished and was made a basilica in 1924.

Antonino Abate, who became Sorrento’s principal saint, died on 14 February, 626 AD. He is credited with saving the life of a child who had been swallowed by a whale by rescuing it from the whale’s stomach.  A whale rib is on display in the lobby of the church to commemorate the brave deed by Sant’Antonino. The saint is also revered by local people for protecting Sorrento against plague and invasion as well as intervening after shipwrecks to save lives.

Each year on the anniversary of his death, a silver statue of Sant’Antonino is carried in a procession through the streets of Sorrento and there are festive lights, fireworks, and musical events in his name.

(Whale rib picture by Mentnafunangann via Wikimedia Commons)