Sorrento, the “land of the Sirens”, stands on a promontory in an enchanting position, among vineyards, olive and citrus groves, overlooking the Bay of Naples.
Historians believe that the name Sorrento derives from the mythological Sirens described by Homer and other ancient poets. According to the myth, the Sirens were seductive creatures who charmed sailors with their music and voices but, as recounted in the “Odyssey”, Ulysses and his crew managed to sail unscathed across this land without being seduced, by means of a clever trick. Three Sirens ( Ligeia, Leucosia and Parthenope), devastated at not having being able to entice Ulysses, transformed themselves into rocks, the famous islands “Li Galli” or “Le Sirenuse”, which lie just off the Sorrento peninsula.
Sorrento has been a popular holiday resort town since ancient times; the ancient Romans loved the area and named it “place of delights”, building luxurious villas by the coast (ruins of the Villa of the Roman aristocrat Polius Felix are located on the promontory of Capo di Sorrento, overlooking the enchanting lagoon of “Bagni della Regina Giovanna”). In the 18th century Sorrento was visited by young noble aristocrats and literates on the “Grand Tour”, a journey in search of culture, art and beautiful natural settings. In recent times, Sorrento has always had very strong ties with composers and musicians, and its scenery has inspired many well-known songs such as “Torna a Surriento”, “Anema e core” or “Caruso”.
The town of Sorrento itself is not particularly big but its central position, right between Naples and Salerno, makes it an ideal base for exploring Campania, with easy access to the Amalfi Coast, Ischia, Pompeii, Capri and Naples.
Sorrento is the perfect place where you can chill out in the sun at a café, stroll around craftshops and designer boutiques or take a “passeggiata” along the coast, enjoying the incredible view of the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius from one of the many panoramic points in the town. Local handicraft traditions in Sorrento include “intarsio ligneo” (wood marquetry) and the production of local lemon-based products, such as the artisan “gelato” or the popular liqueur “Limoncello”.
Visit the town of Sorrento on one of my tours together with Pompeii or the Amalfi Coast for a day full of historical interest and breathtaking scenery!