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.


Chiesa di Sant’Anna at Marina Grande

Pretty church at the heart of an annual celebration

The church, with its pink and green façade, is set in its own square
The church, with its pink and green
façade, is set in its own square
Right in the middle of Marina Grande, set back from the beach in its own little square, is a pretty 17th century church dedicated to Saint Anne (Sant’Anna), the mother of the Virgin Mary.

The Baroque church, with its pink and cream façade, was built on the site of a much earlier church and paid for by the local fishermen. Originally, the church was dedicated to souls in purgatory, but it was later rededicated to Saint Anne, the grandmother of Jesus.

It is about a ten-minute walk from Piazza Tasso to visit the church. You go through Piazza Vittoria and along Via Marina Grande and as you descend to the seafront, you will catch a glimpse of the green and yellow patterned cupola and the campanile of the parish church.

Walk along the seafront past the Da Emilia restaurant and you will find the church on your left. The entrance door, flanked by two marble columns, leads into the simple interior, which has a single nave and a wooden trussed ceiling. Behind the main altar is a statue of Saint Anne and the church also has sculptures of the crucified Christ and John the Baptist.

The floor is covered in white and grey marble and on the opposite wall of the church, high above the entrance door, is a pipe organ.

The church's green cupola can be  seen in the centre of this picture
The church's green cupola can be 
seen in the centre of this picture 
The feast day of the Saints, Anne and Joachim, who were the parents of Mary and grandparents of Jesus, is celebrated on 26 July each year at Marina Grande. A few days before, lights shaped like sea shells and sweet stalls appear alongside the long-established restaurants and bars.

It is a tradition that handmade handkerchiefs are sold from one of the stalls, along with a special blessing offering protection to pregnant women, as Saint Anne is also the patron saint of pregnancy and motherhood.

The first Sunday after 26 July, trumpets sound early in the morning to herald the beginning of a large procession, when the statue of Sant’Anna is carried around Sorrento. People come by boat afterwards to join in the celebrations at Marina Grande and eat traditional Sorrento specialities at the restaurants.

The day ends with spectacular fireworks that light up the bay, accompanied by classical music, signalling the end of the festivities for another year.