Marina Grande

The Borgo dei Pescatori is the fishing village side of Sorrento is tucked beneath the cliffs at the western edge of town

Follow Via Marina Grande west out of Piazza della Vittoria. The narrow road slopes down, turning into a switchbacked, stair-like ramp.

The first sign that you're heading toward a fishing village is that the omnipresent dogs of Sorrento give way to gangly kittens begging from passing tourists now that the scraps from the morning's catch have been eaten.

Then, as you round the last hairpin bend and hear the splash of waves (along with the umpteenth rendition of O Sole Mio! strained thorugh some distant restaurant's loudspeaker) you see the roadside Madonna shrine with a donation slot surrounded by ten-foot-tall mounds of colorful netting.

You have arrived at the fishing village side of Sorrento.

There's not much to see; it's just a nice change of pace.

Marina Grande consists of little more than a few houses, dozens of wooden boats bobbing in the harbor or pulled up on the sandy beach, and a four or five cheap dockside restaurants tucked beneath the cliffs at the western edge of town. (My favorite: Trattoria Da Emilia)

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How long does Sorrento take?

Planning your time: Sorrento has maybe 2-3 hours of mediocre sightseeing. To be brutally honest it is probably the least interesting town in this area. It is only famous for its location.

Sorrento makes an ideal base for exploring Campania thanks to its location at the nexus of regional public transit—pretty much the only place from which you can get anywhere without having to change mode of transportation: Trains direct to Pompeii and Naples; ferries to Capri; buses or ferries down the Amalfi Coast.

If you prefer the home-base style of travel, Sorrento is the perfect base. Figure on three days/two nights here (hit Pompeii on the train ride down from Naples—you can store your luggage temporarily at the Pompei train station—then spend one day each visiting Capri and the Amalfi Coast).

If, however, you prefer to travel from town to town, just treat Sorrento as a way-station to switch from train to bus or ferry; skip Sorrento entirely and sleep in a more interesting locale on the Amalfi Coast or Capri.

» Sorrento itineraries

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