Ask a local: what should I do, see, and eat in Sorrento, Italy?

by Gigi Griffis

Welcome back to Ask a Local, a series of posts in which I interview locals all over the world about what to see, where to go, what to eat, and how to fit in in their city or town. The following interview was originally published in my Italy guide.

Enjoy views of Naples, Vesuvius, and the Isle of Capri, perfectly prepared limoncello, and a mild Mediterranean climate. Allow me to introduce you to Flavio Caccaviello, a beach-lover, surveyor, and Sorrento local here to tell you about his town. 

First, tell us about you.

I live in a small town near Massa Lubrense and Sorrento. I’m 22 years old and I am a surveyor. In my spare time, I enjoy going to the beach, staying with friends, and going to the gym.

If someone is visiting Sorrento for the first time, what do you recommend they see or do?

To get to Sorrento, take the panoramic road that connects us to Naples; there is a particular point—called Scutari—where you can see all the beauties of the Sorrento peninsula and where there is also a street vendor who makes a delicious lemon granita. This is the best welcome and introduction to the region you can get.

What neighborhoods or parts of town are best to stay in?

Surely, the hotels that overlook the Gulf of Naples are the prettiest. For budget travelers, though, hotels in Sant’Agnello are only a five-minute walk from Sorrento and are cheaper.

Let’s talk about day trips…what nearby places should everyone make sure to visit?

Surely, Capri, Positano, and Amalfi. For those who love nature, the beautiful marine crapolla (a fjord nearby) and jeranto (the Bay of Sirens) are accessible on foot if you’re up for a long walk.

Tell us about the local dishes. What should people try here?

Everything is good in Sorrento—from starters to desserts and from coffee to limoncello. Definitely do not miss the paccheri Sorrento (a tomato and onion pasta), pizza, Provolone del Monaco, spaghetti with clams, and penne with zucchini.

What are your top three favorite bars and restaurants?

For a sunset drink, try Marinella Sant’Agnello (located at Piazzetta Marinella).

What is the best way to meet locals and make friends?

Certainly, in the bars, waiters and owners are ready to joke with tourists in a very natural way with Italian-style hospitality.

Why should people make sure to visit Sorrento?

Even though Sorrento is very small compared to Rome and Florence, it’s the 5th most visited Italian city. It has certainly charmed a lot of people and there’s a reason for that.

What is the best place to go take beautiful photos of the city?

Villa Comunale or the bar, La Marinella Sant’Agnello.

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