-Submitted by Caitlin Scalise, Abroad101’s Global Ambassador in Sorrento
I’ve even added a few tips about towns that neighbor Sorrento if you’d like to venture out and discover a whole new crowd!
- Top Restaurant (that will not cost you your life savings, that is): Z’Intonio. This restaurant is right on Via Luigi de Maio off of Piazza Tasso. My friends and I have been here four times, despite being a bit less than budget-friendly…HOWEVER, I have had the best pasta dish in Sorrento here for only 7 Euro! Think fresh, homemade pasta mixed in a fabulous red sauce with melted Mozzarella di Bufalo(which Campania is famous for) and eggplant…so good! It must be good when I tell you that three out of the four times I ate here, I ordered this dish!(btw it’s called Scialatielli Chef) If you are feeling real indulgent, you should splurge and go for the desserts, because you will not be disappointed…
- Top Pizza in Sorrento (but, go to Naples for the best of the best!): Suprisingly, the best pizza in Sorrento is found in the restaurant called Ahem! which is attached to the very small bowling alley—I can attest to this because I myself have tried it, and many Italians have agreed! The chef is actually famous and has been on many television shows throughout the world. You can’t go wrong with the Pizza Margherita, but if you’re feeling adventurous, they even offer kebob pizza and more!
- Top Fun Activity is Mami Camilla Cooking Class: What better fun than to get together with a bunch of friends and spend the day cooking together, enjoying a traditional Southern Italian meal that you cooked yourself?! My business professor has been taking classes here all semester and the family who runs this cooking school has already taken him in as family, not to mention nearly turned him into a chef! They even offer cooking days where they pick you up from your hotel, go grocery shopping with you, and then teach you to cook a three course meal—I don’t know about you, but I’m sold!
- I Giardini Pubblici (Public Gardens): Right down the street from Z’Intonio is Sorrento’s public gardens attached to the S. Francis of Assisi Church. Inside, you see old Greek-influenced columns covered with beautifully aromatic wisteria. Outside of the gardens you can walk the open area, sit on a bench, and appreciate the beautiful view overlooking the Marina and Mount Vesuvius.
- The Wine Bar in Sant’Agnello: Bordering Sorrento is the small town of Sant’Agnello, where you’ll find more locals than tourists. Right next to the big S.Agnello church you’ll find this local hotspot called The Wine Bar, and yes, it is as classy and cool as it sounds. It has an open two-floor layout, and offers great Bruschetta and even better wine! The wine I ordered was called “Il Sangue di Giuda,” or The Blood of Judas…better known as Red Sparkling Wine. The best part about this place is that they often have local bands and singers perform here…a teacher at my school even performed there with his band!
- Sant’Agnello Marina (another free activity!): If you’re willing to venture out of Sorrento once again, this is where you should go. When you walk down the zig-zag ramp to the marina and you’ll hold sight to the most beautiful views of the Mediterranean and Vesvuius. It is stunning, and it is where I saw my first rainbow in Italy, so it naturally holds a special place in my heart.
- Primavera and Il Duomo: two of the top gelato shops in Sorrento, on the main street of Corso Italia. Il Duomo is a bit cheaper, and has great gelato—especially Stracciatella— but offers less flavors. Primavera, on the other hand, offers a large array of flavors, from Kinder Bueno to Tiramisu to Lemon…and no flavor has disappointed me or any of my friends. It is open pretty much all day and all night, too! It is also the most famous gelato shop in Sorrento, and there are interesting pictures (often involving half nude or fully nude people covered in gelato…) all over the wall to prove it! Also, Primavera has amazing cannoli and my Italian friend even told me that the former Pope went there!
- English Inn: Yes, it sounds counterintuitive for achieving a full cultural immersion to go to a restaurant with the word ‘English’ in its title. However, the family that owns it is Italian and I speak more Italian at the English Inn than I do in other restaurants. This place has become my study abroad group’s home away from home because of how we have become great friends with the owners. They treat everyone so well, the pasta is incredible (and legit), and they give great student discounts. The great part about the ‘Inn’ is that it has a beautiful upstairs garden that turns into a dance club at night with 4 euro drinks at the bar!
- Bar Ercolano: Sitting right in Piazza Tasso, this Italian bar is perfect for the individual who loves to people watch while enjoying a pastry and cup of caffè. The scenery is beautiful, and it is completely open to the outdoors. It’s a great place for if you want to meet up with friends after school, meet up for a tandem language exchange, go by yourself to write or be inspired, or even have class—I had my business class here once!
10. Piazza Tasso: When in doubt, just relax and sit on one of the benches in Piazza Tasso, look at the beautiful view of Marina Piccola, people watch, or take a stroll up and down Corso Italia that is home to many designer stores (Giala is an amazing shoe store!), gelato shops, restaurants, and beautiful scenery. This Piazza is the center of it all, so sit back and take it all in, and you will see what Sorrento is all about!
Sorrento is a great place because it is so small that you can walk everywhere and experience some of the best Italian cuisine, all while being immersed into the slow, Southern pace of life. What makes Sorrento even better is its location, which is only a train or bus ride away from the Amalfi Coast, Positano, and Naples…or a boat ride away from the famous islands of Capri and Ischia. There’s never a boring weekend, that’s for sure!