In this article we would like to offer you two possibilities of itineraries, feasible by scooter, from Positano to Sorrento.
Positano and Sorrento are just over 17 km away. A distance that can be easily done by scooter. You should take the “Amalfi” SS163 to Piano di Sorrento, then take a small stretch of the SS145 to the city. It is not a straight road, there are many curves but the landscape, both on the coast and inland, certainly deserves the tour.
The first alternative to reach Sorrento from Positano
A first alternative can be to reach Sorrento passing north. After Piano di Sorrento you should continue the SS145, pass Meta and get to Vico Equense and then back again towards Sorrento.
Vico Equense is a seaside resort on the Gulf of Naples and is also famous as a spa center for the presence of sulphurous waters. The fourteenth-century cathedral of the Santissima Annunziata, which stands out on a rock overlooking the sea, is an example of the gothic architecture of the Coast. The landscape also offers the view of the medieval Giusso Castle, used both for military purposes and as a residence. Interesting is the Vico Museum, the Antiquarium Silio Italico, which since the 1960s has collected the finds of a funerary necropolis, discovered in those years near the town. Today Vico is also famous for the “meter of pizza”: here, in fact, pizza up to two meters long was born, which serves various toppings on the same basis so can satisfy the desires of an entire table without losing out in terms of quality. Taste it to believe!
The second alternative to reach Sorrento from Positano
A second alternative from Positano, can be to reach Sorrento following the “Sorrentina” SS145 and passing by the small village of Sant’Agata sui due Due Golfi, which takes its name from its position between the Gulf of Naples and the one of Salerno. In fact, it has become a famous tourist resort, with its views of Capri and of Li Galli islands, perfect for a stop in a welcoming, cheerful and colorful village.
The best season to do these routes
The best season to do these routes is spring, as the days start to get longer, the climate is mild and it is not crowded as during summer periods. Furthermore, in this period the flowering of the beautiful plants that characterize the whole coast begins: an ideal context if you want to make hiking trails even on foot.
Sorrento, the land of the sirens
According to tradition, its origins are attributed to the Greeks, but the first permanent inhabitants, most likely, were first the Etruscans and then the Romans, traces of which were found in the layout of the city. Unfortunately, there is little historical documentation on the city of Sorrento: the invasion of the Saracens in 1558 and the destruction of the archives of the Angevin chancellery in the 1940s caused the almost total loss of the historical traces of this reality, leaving considerable gaps.
We know that it was the seat of the bishop since 420 and then after a period of autonomy, it followed the historical events of the Kingdom of Naples, ending up under the dominion of the Aragonese. It has always been fighting with Amalfi, Salerno and the Saracens.
At the beginning of the 1700s a period of cultural, economic and social rebirth began which led to the inclusion of the Sorrento peninsula in the Grand Tour in the 19th century. And so many illustrious guests such as Byron, Dickens, Goethe, Wagner and Nietzsche came to stay in Sorrento. Tourism gradually developed and even today, represents the backbone of the Sorrento economy, as much that in 2018 Sorrento was the most sought-after location according to the Booking.com portal.
The legend of the beautiful Sirentum
The legend says that the name of the city derives from Sirentum, the girl born from the union of Leucosia, the siren daughter of Acheloo, and Mirone, a farmer from the hinterland. Sirentum was beautiful and with a sweet and lovable character: a truly unique creature. She married the prince of the Durazzo family, with whom she shared a great generosity towards all the inhabitants of the city. With the invasion of the Saracens, in 1558, the beautiful girl was taken prisoner. It was thanks to the inhabitants of the town that she was released as that they gave everything they had to have her back with them. Legend says that this devotion to this extraordinary figure, between the human and the mythological, gave the inspiration to use her name for the city.
History and myth together
Even ancient literature, however, speaks of Sorrento as the land of the Sirens: in fact, the Greek poet Homer chose this splendid land as setting for the meeting between Ulysses and the Sirens. In the Odyssey, in fact, we can read that to resist to their amazing voices and to avoid ruining his ships on the rocks, Homer put wax in the ears of the sailors and had himself tied to the mainmast. The Sirens, having failed to enchant the traveller, threw themselves into the water, turning into rocks and giving rise to the three islands of the Li Galli archipelago, in front of Positano.
What to see in Sorrento
The historic centre of Sorrento shows quite intact the architectural style of past centuries, with the ancient narrow alleys and the high walls to protect from invaders.
The ancient medieval walls are visible on the eastern side of the city and are about 20 meters high. They date back to the end of 1500, the result of a major intervention that became necessary after the invasion of the Saracens, since the previous fortifications were almost destroyed. We know that under these walls there were other older ones, as can be seen near the door of the Marina Grande.
Interesting is the Sedile Dominova, on the ancient Roman decumanus, was the seat of the noble institution of the Angevin age that administered the city. The building is an arched loggia closed on two sides by balustrades and crowned by a seventeenth-century majolica dome.
The cathedral of Sorrento today has a neo-Gothic style, but its foundation dates back to around 1400 on a previous place of worship that has been restored several times.
The Correale di Terranova Museum is located in the villa of the same name. It is a real treasure of precious collections, both of historical and artistic genre and of jewellery, created at the beginning of the twentieth century by the Correale brothers of Terranova, the last descendants of a very noble local family.
In the park behind the building, the viewpoint overlooking the sea offers an enchanting view of the Gulf of Naples and the underlying Marina Piccola.
The Marina Grande is a small-town west of Sorrento, characterized by the typical houses of the seaside villages of southern Italy, which can be easily reached on foot from the city. It is the ancient port of fishermen, one of the old Roman gates that allowed access to the city from the sea is still visible. One of the strengths of this town, which over the years has become touristy and welcoming, is the location: from here, in fact, you can enjoy a splendid view of the Gulf of Naples, Vesuvius and a characteristic tuff rock ridge, typical of the Sorrento peninsula. This splendid setting was chosen for the famous film “Pane, amore e …”, with Sofia Loren, Vittorio De Sica and Dino Risi, which certainly contributed to make the area very well-known and to develop the various economic activities related to the tourism.
I Bagni della Regina Giovanna
A few kilometres from the historic centre (in Capo di Sorrento), easily reachable on foot or by scooter, there is a very particular archaeological area, one of the most enchanting and mysterious places of the Sorrento peninsula. It owes its name to Queen Giovanna d’Angiò, who, between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, used to come and swim in this small bay, between the rocky beach and the cliffs. A natural stone arch divides the bay from the sea. A few steps from here, there are the remains of the Roman villa of Pollio Felice, dating back to the 1st century BC. C. and overlooking the sea. From here, at sunset, you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Gulf of Naples.
Curiosities: 4 interesting things
The Australian Sorrento
Perhaps not everyone knows that there is also a “Sorrento” in Australia, in the State of Victoria, 90 km south of Melbourne. The first settlements of Europeans here date back to the early nineteenth century, but then the territory was abandoned due to the lack of fresh water. It was then repopulated, and intentionally took the name of Sorrento, probably thanks to illustrious personalities who had made the Grand Tour in Italy. It is a seaside resort overlooking Port Phillip Bay, characterized by beautiful sandy and rocky beaches, where nature is still the protagonist.
Not everybody knows that in the Sorrento peninsula it is possible to spot different species of hawk. There are the Peregrine Falcon and the Kestrel, which lay their eggs in rock cavities or on natural terraces and manage to raise two or three chicks at a time. This is possible thanks to an excellent air quality, little polluted, and an extremely low use of pesticides and other chemicals in the land. Therefore, it will not be difficult to spot hawks in flight or swooping on their prey.
Torquato Tasso and Sorrento
Sorrento is known in literature for having been, in 1544, the birthplace of the famous poet Torquato Tasso, author of the Gerusalemme Liberata. Torquato was the son of Bernardo, a literate and courtier at the service of the prince of Salerno. When the prince opposed the Inquisition (1542) he was banished from the Kingdom and Tasso followed him. That is why that the young poet, a child at the time, had to leave his land, of which, however, he always kept a beautiful and indelible memory, as we read in the letters to his sister and in the Gerusalemme Liberata. Tasso did not have an easy life (he was depressed and often ill) and not even a permanent one: he travelled a lot, attended various Italian courts and met many famous personalities of his time, but always hoped to return to his Sorrento: his city dedicated to him a big statue in the main square.
Lucio Dalla, Sorrento
How can we forget Lucio Dalla, who in 1980 composed his extraordinary success Caruso in Sorrento. In 1980 Dalla was staying at the Hotel Excelsior Vittoria in Sorrento in the same suite that had hosted the famous tenor Enrico Caruso in 1921, a few days before his death. And right on the “terrace in front of the Gulf of Surriento” he thought of the lyrics of the song which immediately became famous all over the world.
We also remember that in the month of July, the Caruso Prize is held in Sorrento, usually set up at the Marina Grande and broadcast by the national broadcaster “Rai”.