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.


Piano di Sorrento

See spectacular sunsets from the plain of Sorrento

Looking across the marina at Cassano, the fishing village that forms part of Piano di Sorrento
Looking across the marina at Cassano, the
fishing village that forms part of Piano di Sorrento

A few minutes journey from Sorrento is Piano di Sorrento, a former fishing village situated between Sant'Agnello and Meta as you travel in the direction of Naples. 

Primarily a residential area with plenty of shops, Piano di Sorrento has a marina and two small beaches with an area free for use by the public.

The village of Piano di Sorrento became more prosperous when the supply of power and water was improved, after the creation of a railway tunnel between Vico Equense and Castellammare di Stabia. This moved the area’s economic base from just fishing, agriculture, and boat-building towards tourism.

You can now reach Piano di Sorrento from Sorrento in about five minutes by car, bus or on the Circumvesuviana railway. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes and some hotels and B&Bs in the town.

Piano di Sorrento is divided into two distinct areas, Cassano and Carotto, and above the town are the Colli di San Pietro, hills that have lovely views over the Bay of Naples and the Bay of Salerno.

In the centre of the town is the ninth century Basilica di San Michele Arcangelo and the Villa Fondi de Sangro, which is open to the public and houses the Museo Archeologico George Vallet which houses interesting artefacts unearthed from excavations in the area. You can watch spectacular sunsets from benches in the park belonging to the villa, which is on a high cliff looking out over the Bay of Naples.

The Victorian poet Robert Browning is said to have once stayed in the area and he mentions the countryside of Piano di Sorrento and other places along the Sorrentine peninsula in his poem "The Englishman in Italy".





Spaghetti alla puttanesca

Quick and easy southern Italian pasta dish has a colourful history

Spaghetti alla puttanesca is a tasty dish that is easy to cook at home
Spaghetti alla puttanesca is a tasty dish
that is easy to cook at home
The distinctive aroma and piquant taste of a puttanesca sauce is something I always associate with Naples. It somehow evokes the atmosphere of the city for me because you enjoy the enticing smell of tomatoes and olives cooked in garlic as you pass restaurants hidden behind unobtrusive doors in the narrow streets in the centre.  

There are various theories about how the sauce, which can be served with either spaghetti or linguine, acquired its name. Puttana is the Italian word for prostitute, so it means literally, spaghetti cooked ‘in the style of the prostitute.’

People have speculated that the dish could have been invented to lure men into houses of ill repute, to be served to them while they waited their turn. Or, the prostitutes may have cooked it to eat themselves, because it was quick and easy to make.

Another version is that pasta cooked alla puttanesca was convenient for married women to make so that they could spend less time in the kitchen and more time with their Neapolitan lovers.

The sauce began to crop up on restaurant menus under various names in the 19th century and the ingredients would vary slightly, according to the area of Italy.

There was a reference to the dish in a 1960s Italian novel when one of the characters says: ‘Spaghetti alla puttanesca, like they make in Siricusa’. In Sicily, the sauce is referred to as spaghetti alla siciliana and has green peppers added to it.

Most Neapolitan cookery books do not suggest adding anchovies to the sauce, but In Lazio, where they also claim it as their own, puttanesca sauce contains chopped anchovies.

It has also been claimed the sauce was invented at a restaurant on the island of Ischia out in the bay of Naples. A group of customers arrived late in the evening when the restaurant had practically run out of ingredients. The customers asked the owner just to give them what he had left, so he quickly made a sauce using four tomatoes, two olives and some capers and garlic, to serve with their spaghetti.

You can use either fresh or tinned tomatoes to make spaghetti alla puttanesca. If you want to make the Neapolitan version, you should fry some garlic in olive oil, add the tomatoes, capers, black olives, and parsley and let it simmer for about ten minutes while the spaghetti is cooking. 

I sometimes add a couple of chopped anchovies and a pinch of dried oregano to it, just because I enjoy the taste. Buon appetito!





Sorrento restaurant where culinary secrets of former priest still delight diners

O'Parrucchiano has been serving diners on Sorrento's Corso d'Italia since 1868
O'Parrucchiano has been serving diners on
Sorrento's Corso d'Italia since 1868
One of the longest established restaurants in Sorrento, O’Parrucchiano continues to serve high-quality, traditional Sorrento dishes in a magical setting, despite being right in the centre of the resort.

Although O’Parrucchiano is just off the busy Corso d’Italia, you feel as though you are in a citrus grove as you sit on the glass-covered dining terrace, surrounded by a garden filled with lemon trees.

O’Parruchiano was originally named La Favorita when it first opened as a tiny trattoria in just two rooms, a few metres away from Sorrento's Duomo, in 1868. The founder, Antonio Ercolano, had learnt the art of cooking while working for the Archbishop of Sorrento.

Because of Antonio’s past connections with the priesthood, he gained the nickname of ‘o’parrucchiano’, which in Neapolitan dialect means, parish priest.

The restaurant became famous for its cannelloni, which Antonio originally named strascinati when he first created the dish more than 100 years ago. Cannelloni did not appear on the menus of other restaurants until well into the 20th century.

Diners on O'Parrucchiano's upper terrace feel like they are eating in a lemon grove
Diners on O'Parrucchiano's upper terrace
feel like they are eating in a lemon grove
Antonio bequeathed his restaurant to his young nephew, Giuseppe Maniello, after teaching him all his culinary secrets. Giuseppe then enlarged the original trattoria and helped it to become more widely known.

O’Parrucchiano was invited to be included in the Association of Historical Places of Italy and it has been featured in magazines and newspapers in many different countries. In 1958, it was awarded the title ‘Excellent Kitchen’ by the Academy of Italian Cooking.

Over the years, many famous people from the worlds of art, culture, entertainment, and sport have dined there.

Giuseppe’s son, Enzo has since taken over the running of the restaurant, and is helped by his two sons, Giuseppe and Mario, who represent the fourth generation of the family of the founder, Antonio.

The restaurant has a botanical atmosphere throughout
The restaurant has a botanical
atmosphere throughout
O’Parrucchiano’s two spacious dining rooms, furnished with statues, amphorae and other family heirlooms, provide the perfect setting for diners to enjoy the wide selection of Sorrentine specialities on the menu.

You can start with some local seafood and fish antipasti dishes. For primo piatto, you can choose between the famous cannelloni del centenario, gnocchi alla Sorrentina or risotto alla pescatora, among the many other pasta and rice dishes on offer.

For secondo piatto, you have the choice of scallopina alla sorrentina, maiale di Avellino, pesce all’acqua pazza or alla brace, and alici locali as well as many more tempting dishes, which are served with the tomatoes, lemons, vegetables and herbs that provide the authentic aromas and flavours of the Bay of Naples. Buon appetito!