Sorrento an Italian gem perched atop cliffs with its magnificent marinas from its vibrant center full of art, history, and culture. Sorrento has been an active tourism hub since the 18th century when European wealthy families made their way through Italy to visit Naples, Pompeii and the surrounding coastline during The Grand Tour. These travelers sought to learn about the country’s cultural contributions through its deep-rooted traditions, many of which still persist to this day. While you’re in Sorrento, discover the arts, crafts and agricultural traditions that have helped shape the town’s history and identity.

Sorrento coast

Sorrento is blessed to be surrounded by hidden coves and scenic hiking trails so be sure to spend some time outdoors soaking up the natural beauty of the region with a local guide.  Near Sorrento, you can explore the famous Bagni di Regina Giovanna, a secluded beach set amongst ruins of an ancient Roman villa, or venture out towards Punta Campanella, located at the tip of the peninsula with impressive views of the island of Capri. And if you’d prefer to explore the Sorrento Peninsula and Amalfi Coast on four-wheels, local guides know the region inside-out and can design an unforgettable itinerary to help you make the most of your time in the region through and they know everyone – from the best hoteliers and restaurant owners and boat captains – and will ensure you reach each destination of your trip in style thanks to his fleet of luxury vehicles. 

Begin your cultural explorations in the center of town at the Museo Bottega della Tarsia Lignea where you can learn about the art of marquetry. This Sorrentine tradition of creating ornate patterns and landscapes through inlaid woodwork dates back to the 14th century and reached its height in the 19th century. The museum’s collection demonstrates the breadth and style of wood craftsmanship through period furniture, household items and historic machinery. If you want to bring home a work of wooden art, pay a visit to Calemma, a bottega that dates back to 1910. You can see a live demonstration and purchase a scene of the Bay of Naples to hang in your home.

Nearby, the Museo Correale is considered one of Italy’s most beautiful small museums and also well worth a visit. Set within a grand, 18th century residence, it houses landscape paintings from the School of Posillipo in Naples, fine European porcelains and ancient Roman relics. For contemporary works of art and cultural shows, check out the upcoming events at the Villa Fiorentino, the seat of the Sorrento Foundation. The villa, which was built to resemble the White House, is affectionately known as “Villa Fazzoletti” because the Fiorentino family built their wealth through an embroidered handkerchief (fazzoletti) business in the 1930s.

Located right off of Corso Italia, for more practical gifts, a hand-made pair of sandals made at Sandali Corcione is a perfect memento for yourself (or a friend) – this workshop has been making Capri-style sandals by hand since 1925. And a short drive from town, you can pick up the coast’s famous artisanal pottery at Ceramiche Artistica Sorrentina di Francesco Puglia.
Another popular gift you can pick up is limoncello.This lemon liquor is produced with Sorrento’s famous lemons which are prized for their naturally oily-rind and aromatic flavor. These citrus fruits are prolific around the coast and used in dishes like Tagliolini al Limone pasta and Delizia al Limone dessert. You can visit a lemon grove in the heart of Sorrento at i Giardini di Cataldo, a family-owned business that produces organic lemon marmalade, sorbetto, candies and limoncello. If you’re exploring the region by car be sure to stop by the Azienda Agricola La Masseria in Schiazzano, one of the first lemon orchards on the coast dating back to 1898. Now in its fourth generation, the property offers guided tours to explore its vast terrain, which includes olive and citrus trees, beehives, farm animals and a historic wine cellar.

Whether you’re interested in a private tour, shore excursions or transfers, or rent a villa, then Amore Rentals company is a priceless resource for all your needs
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The Amalfi Coast( Costiera amalfitana) is really wonderful with its blue and clear sea, the green of the Mediterranean maquis and the hues of citrus fruits spreading out over terraced cultivations blend with the typical architecture. Tortuous streets, breathtaking views, bays, inlets, cliffs and characteristic villages and small towns fascinate tourists and visitors, Like the following ones:
Amalfi, the town whose name indicates the entire coast. Dominated by the majestic Cathedral dedicated to Sant’Andrea (St. Andrew), Amalfi, an ancient Maritime Republic, offers innumerable testimonies of its glorious past.

Furore, located a few miles away, has got typical fresco-painted houses, public buildings and small piazzas. Many naturalistic itineraries are possible through perfumes of agave, Indian figs and rosemary. Furore is famous for its fjords: spectacular expression of the power of nature.

Positano is a true paradise, developed vertically with its streets full of shops that expose the colorful dresses of Positano fashion well-known all over the world. The Parish Church of Santa Maria Assunta that shows up with its large dome, tiled in majolica and sheltering some precious works like polychrome marble altars.

Ravello is an elegant village, characterized by beautiful villas. It is famous for its Festival: in the garden of Villa Rufolo you can listen to great classical music. The heart is represented by Piazza Vescovado, framed by the nice architecture of Palazzo Rufolo and the Cathedral.
Minori  is not only a nice seaside resort , but also an archaeological complex: in Villa Romana (Roman Villa) and in the Museo dell’ Antiquario (Museum of Antiquity) it is possible to admire several finds dating back to that period.
it is possible to admire ancient Roman objects, and the Museo dell’ Antiquario (Museum of Antiquity).

Praiano is an ancient and quiet fishing village that offers visitors a very suggestive landscape and a great artisan silk-spinning and manufacturing tradition.

Vietri sul Mare is well known for its artistic ceramic manufacturing

For travelers who want both to relax by the sea and enjoy cultural opportunities, a trip to the lovely islands in the Gulf of Naples, Procida, Ischia and Capri, could be really a nice holiday.

The smallest island, PROCIDA, has been the ideal setting for several cinematic masterpieces (like “il Postino). Of volcanic origin, it is also connected to the marvelous little Island of Vivara. Its clear sea and characteristic beaches are not the only attraction of Procida, but also its narrow streets and churches, walks through the town center to admire the architecture of centuries past: worth visiting in particular are the Abbey of San Michele Arcangelo, which had a central role in Procida’s religious and cultural history.

From Procida in less than half-hour you can reach ISCHIA, the largest of all the Campanian islands, welcomes about 6 million visitors annually. Among the six municipalities that it comprises, it is Ischia Commune that is the most extensive, and thus divided into two parts: Ischia Ponte is its evocative historic center marked by ancient paths and bottegas, while Ischia Porto is a tiny fishing village. The Aragonese Castle in Ischia Ponte, constructed by the tyrant Hiero of Syracuse in 474 B.C., is the most-visited monument on the entire Island.  Not to miss also the Cathedral di Santa Maria Assunta where, in 1509, Ferrante d’Avalos and Vittoria Colonna exchanged their vows. In a crypt you can admire old frescoes by some Giotto’s followers. Moreover Ischia is full of natural springs with numerous  thermal bath parks and spas, appreciated all over the world.

CAPRI, the last Island, the last but not the least, a summer residence since Roman times, is really a charming place attracting poets, writers and legendary personages. The famous  Piazzetta di Capri is known all over the world.  Everything in Capri is full of ancient and modern splendor: from the spectacular Gardens of Augustus (from the 1930s), to the Certosa di San Giacomo, and the marvelous villas, like Villa Jovis, the ancient residence of Emperor Tiberius that dominates Capri’s position in Naples Bay. For those in search of a clean, clear sea, the Grotta Azzurra at Anacapri is and the Faraglioni, are the best places to visit.

La Mortella (The Myrtle), one of the jewels of Ischia, was the home of an English composer, Sir William Walton, and his Argentinian wife, Lady Susana Walton. After World War Two, They moved to Ischia where until 1956 they lived for 6 months a year in their fascinating home , attracting there star celebrities, such as Sir Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh and Maria Callas and so on.

Then the couple decided to buy their new property at La Mortella and called landscape expert, Russell Page, who transformed the stone quarry on a volcanic hill into a tropical garden paradise with rare and exotic trees, plants and flowers.

Susana Walton opened the doors to the public in 1991, while Sir William Walton continued his work as one of the most important classical composers of his time, and it is to this that the foundation is still able to stage two seasons of chamber music concerts, one in the spring and another in the autumn where budding musicians from Italy and across the world perform around 70 concerts every year. In the open-air Greek theatre throughout the summer, audiences are able to enjoy the Youth Orchestra concerts while surrounded by China roses and aromatic herbs.

Sadly, both Sir William Walton (1902-1983) and Lady Susana Walton (1926-2010) have now both passed away, but There are memorials to both of them in the garden: an inscribed stone memorial that holds the ashes of the composer, and some video and a beautiful area that commemorates the life of Susa

Last Christmas Naples was really wonderful, wearing a bright dress woven with lights and colours, in spite of the economic crisis and unsolved problems.

I love my city so much and sometimes I speak with her as she were a woman, an ancient personage, Parthenope, the siren of myths who allured with her chant even the invaders of her marvelous reign.

How many dominations, dear Parthenope! Nevertheless you were able to elaborate, to transform, to integrate different cultures and traditions since the time of your foundation: an ancient Greek colony rich in art and beauty, called Neapolis (New Town) by the Cumans, then passed under the different domination of the Oscans, Romans, Byzantines, Goths, Normans, Swabians, Angevins, Aragons, Bourbons, of Napoleon and his relatives, and again under the Bourbons and at last, when the Unity of Italy became a reality, the new northern king forgot that your generous people helped with the sacrifice of their lives, dreaming a strong and cohesive Home, capable of rejecting new invaders: a dream that was never realized fully. You, Naples, are in the South of Italy and that’s why you are still considered a land of conquest, like all southern countries all over the world.

What can we say, dear Naples. Even though you are still so often offended, denigrated, oppressed, you are always “alive” and like the Arabian Phoenix you fight to reborn from you ashes, preserving all that is positive in your past of sufferings and tyrannical repressions, capable of inventing new things to survive with fantasy, creativity, joy of life that you reveal through a lively tarantella or a witty joke in which Neapolitans are so able. And, on the other side, suddenly like a lightning, sensibility, intense feelings, melancholy, and a painful resignation to the Fate are revealed through your melodious songs known all over the world.

I am happy because I was born here, when from your nice hills I can admire wonderful views changing colours and nuances according to the hours of the day. You are incomparable in that particular hour that follows the sunset” and “softens the sailors’ heart” (Dante) with delicate nuances that remind us some gouaches of the Posillipo School painters.

I am happy because I was born in Naples, in Campania, when I think of the immense artistic and cultural patrimony of this territory. I am proud when I can put in relief your positive aspects, even if I always fight against the negative ones, hoping that one day in the South of Italy and in all the southern countries of the world Education and jobs opportunities will generate a great change.

For all these reasons we invite all Italian and foreign tourists to visit Naples, not only at Christmas, but whenever they can: in every season they will certainly find a lot of cultural events, concerts, interesting meetings, guided tours, good theatres, cinemas, discos, good food and excellent wines.

Giovanna D’Arbitrio