The town of Sorrento is perched on a cliff overlooking the Neapolitan gulf and has a strategic position for the exploration of the nearby attractions and specialties. The fanciest and most expensive apartment and cafés are around Piazza Tasso which is also a joint between the old and the new town. Despite its importance Sorrento doesn’t have a proper beach but one of the best on the neighborhood is Punta del Capo.
On the twisted road to the south you have the sparkling Amalfi Coast, one of the most famous coastlines in Italy and abroad for its stunning landscape and traditions. The Amalfi Coast encompasses a series of towns that go from Positano to Vietri sul Mare but it’s named after the city of Amalfi which is the historical, but also physical, core of this section of shore. Every town in this trait of coast is unique and has its own traditions and peculiarities.
Positano is the first suggestive town of the Amalfi Coast which still maintains its timeless beauty. There is only one street in this town where it is possible to pass with vehicles, the others are twisted steps. If you like walking you can take the Paths of Gods (Sentiero Degli Dei), for a three to four hours walking tour from the street which links Positano and Praiano where you will find a nice beach.
The town of Amalfi back in the 10th and 11th century used to be one of the four powerful maritime Republic together with Venice, Pisa and Genoa but has been destroyed in 1343 after an earthquake. A highlight is its Sant’Andrea Cathedral and the adjacent Cloister of Paradise which are located in the Piazza del Duomo, in the city centre. Don’t miss a visit to the Paper Museum and to the former Arsenale that has been restored and hosts a Museum with tools, documents and objects of the former republic of Amalfi. On the coast you can visit the Grotta dello Smeraldo (Emerald Grotto), so called for the emerald colour of its interior.
The town of Ravello is a wonderful terrace on the sea which attracted celebrities for centuries. The town has a nice Cathedral with an Arabic influence in its design. Some villas are really worth your attention such as Villa Rufolo and its delightful gardens, and Villa Cimbrone with the stunning Terrazza dell’Infinito, a wonderful terrace perched on the cliff and enriched with classical busts.
In the town of Cetara you can enjoy its beach and visit the former Tower which is now a museum. In your visit to the Amalfi Coast don’t forget to try Limoncello, sweet and delicious lemon made liquor.
What/where to eat
SORRENTO. Eating a good pizza in Sorrento is a convenient and tasty solution, and then the timeless Margherita never tires. Here are our alternatives:
Il Leone Rosso: it is located in via Marziale near Corso Italia, the central area of the city, and a few minutes from the Circumvesuviana station. The choice of pizzas is wide: from the classic Margherita to the Nutella pizza. In addition, you will be greeted by a focaccia as a welcome and a typical limoncello will greet you.
Da Franco: an institution a few steps from Piazza Lauro, in the heart of the city. Characteristic and essential environment: raw hams hang from the ceiling and the tables are made of wood. Try the raw ham (Parma or San Daniele) which is served sliced and accompany it with Agerola fiordilatte and smoked scamorza cheese with black olives and grilled red pepper. Do not go away without having tasted the pizza by the meter available in many variations and very digestible.
Trattoria Chantecler: in via Santa Maria della Pietà, a small street parallel to Corso Italia in the center. The dishes are homemade, tasty and abundant. And most importantly, very affordable. The environment is rustic and the service fast. If you prefer to be outside there are also tables outside that overlook the pedestrian street, which is very quiet. To taste: the eggplant parmigiana and the lasagna. Even fish is usually always fresh.
La Cantinaccia del Popolo. Here you can eat feeling at home a few steps from Corso Italia: the courses are abundant and tasty and the raw material is of quality. If you want to taste the typical recipes of the Sorrento Peninsula this is the right place. The wine and spirits are homemade. Do not miss the appetizers of ham and cheese, but the meat is also really good.
A good ice cream you can find at Davide Augusto. The ice cream is homemade and you will have a large assortment, from the classic seasonal fruit flavors (strawberry, peach, cherries, melon), to the typical flavors of winter: Sorrento lemon, Giffoni hazelnut and Bronte pistachio. But that is not all. If you prefer, you can order salted ice cream, – vegetables and cheese with fresh fruit are added to the milk and cream mixture – crepes, yogurt and waffles.
Bagni da Ferdinando: kiosk on the family-run beach, is located in Fornillo, one of the beaches of Positano, more secluded than the central area. Here you can order the typical recipes of the Amalfi Coast under an umbrella: salads with varied combinations and succulent cold and hot appetizers, first and second courses of land and sea await you. We particularly recommend the lemon ravioli with ricotta and lobster, but also baked or grilled fish is worth trying.
Trattoria La Tagliata in Montepertuso, in the high areas where the products are homemade, at km 0. A few steps from the restaurant there are the farmyard animals and the vegetable garden, without forgetting the dream panorama on the Gulf of Naples from which you can admire the Faraglioni of Capri. Here you can choose different appetizers of vegetables, legumes and dairy products. Even the first courses based on handmade pasta are to be tasted, but the highlight is the meat: the Florentine and the mixed grill will remain etched in your memory. All courses are very abundant.
La Latteria: a quick lunch. In this delicatessen-fruit shop in via Pasitea you can breathe the best culinary tradition of the Amalfi Coast. The restaurant is small and essential but offers some tables outside in the shade of the trees, and the ingredients are first choice. The highlights are the eggplant parmigiana, meatballs, lasagna. Coffee cream is also worth tasting.
Casa e Bottega: the beauty of tradition and innovation. Simple and refined restaurant designed in a shabby chic style where white predominates. It is located not far from the center of Positano, in via Pasitea, ideal for a quick lunch where you can taste traditional specialties revisited in a modern way. What to eat? Soup with chickpeas, spelled and savoy cabbage, fried egg with burrata and vegetables, rolls with goat cheese and chicken nuggets.
Da Maria: one of the most popular trattorias and pizzerias in Amalfi, a few steps from the Duomo. The restaurant led by the Pisacane family has been a landmark since 1968 for tourists and locals alike. Fish is always fresh. Don’t miss the spaghetti with clams and anchovies.
Cuoppo d’Amalfi: fried fish, light and fresh, a place obtained from an ancient church and hidden among the streets of the town center. Open around the clock, it is a street food restaurant that offers excellent fried fish, always fresh. There are seats outside but usually the place is crowded: better to order and take a walk enjoying this goodness with crunchy, tasty and non-greasy breading. The menu offers different types of cuoppo: squid and prawns or paranza with vegetarian variations.
Where to enjoy a dessert in Amalfi? Take a break at Pasticceria Leone in the center. a very small bar and it could go unnoticed but the desserts in the window and the aroma of coffee will attract your attention. We suggest you try the Caprese cake, the staples and the granitas.
Locanda Moresca: first courses, main courses and desserts. If you want to eat low cost in Ravello, the right place is the Locanda Moresca. This trattoria overlooks Piazza Fontana Moresca from the Middle Ages. Here you can have lunch or dinner in the name of taste and lost traditions embraced by a romantic atmosphere.
What/where to buy
The gourmet traveler’s first stop is Sant’Agata sui Due Golfi, in the temple of chef Alfonso Iaccarino.
Adjacent to the restaurant is the shop where you can buy lemon liqueur, extra virgin olive oil or jams made with the products of the Le Peracciole company of the Iaccarino couple. The tour of the palate continues in all gentleness towards Positano where we stop at the La Zagara pastry bar for a fresh granita to be consumed on the panoramic terrace and for puff pastries and babas to take home. A few more turns and you arrive at the Fiordo di Furore, where the wines of Marisa Cuomo rest in a cellar dug into the rock, surrounded by vineyards. Once in Minori, on the other hand, it is a must to stock up on pasta Al Pastaio, the laboratory shop of Antonio Ruocco, strictly based on durum wheat semolina. Also in Minori another indispensable stop is the Sal de Riso Pastry Shop, inventor of the ricotta and pear cake and tireless creator of a thousand other delicacies. To buy the fabulous fiordilatte from the Monti Lattari and Provolone del Monaco, instead, go up to the Tramonti hills, to the Antica Latteria.
Pottery and crafts
On the Amalfi Coast there are still many craft shops with their own workshop selling unique pieces.
In the artisan panorama of the Amalfi Coast, Vietri ceramics occupy a prominent place, recognizable for the cheerful colors, the prevalent use of yellow and blue and for the stylized drawings that remind a little of those of children. The ceramic temple is obviously located in Vietri sul Mare, where ceramic courses are also held. For those who want something more creative, the right address is the Pasquale Liguori laboratory where unique pieces with a strong personality are offered. Contemporary taste instead for the ceramics of the Laboratorio Fes, by Marco Fusco, in Amalfi. But Amalfi is also and above all famous for the production of handmade paper: a vast choice is found at the Amatruda paper mills. At the Scuderie del Duca, also in Amalfi, in addition to paper, you will also find ancient and modern prints, sealing wax, inks and antiques.
And if instead you want to take a traditional mandolin home, then you must stop in Praiano, where the last violin maker of the Amalfi Coast is located.
The fashion of the Amalfi Coast is famous for the “hippy-chic” style, made of clothes, reminiscent of the ‘60ies style, and handmade low sandals, on the model of the Capri ones. The best address to grab a pair of them without spending a capital is in Maiori where, in Alfonso Dattilo’s workshop, they are made by hand assembling the pieces according to customer requests. For a Positano-style dress, instead, there are the looms of the Bottega di Brunella which, since the 1960s, have woven linen for clothes and flanders for brides. To complete the look you cannot miss a swimsuit, perhaps decorated with turquoise and coral, such as those made by Antica Sartoria, a Marina Grande in Positano.
Sorrento and the limoncello
If you want to take home some nice characteristic souvenirs Sorrento is definitely the right place: along the main street of the country (Corso Italia) there are boutiques and fashion shops, while entering the alleys of the historic center (Via San Cesareo and its cross streets ) you will find inlay workshops, leather products shops, small limoncello factories and gastronomy shops. The best place to start the shopping tour in Sorrento is right in the heart of the city in Piazza Tasso, one of the largest and most crowded squares in Sorrento. Although daytime traffic may seem a little hectic, on warm summer evenings Corso Italia and Piazza Tasso are transformed into vast pedestrian areas ideal for shopping. One of the main products that you will find easily in all fruit and vegetable shops is the Sorrento lemon, grown on the terraces obtained in the steep slopes of the mountain overlooking the coast. It is a special variety of lemons with an intense flavor and bright yellow skin, perfect for preparing the famous limoncello.