Sights with Mike: Sorrento

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Sights with Mike: Sorrento

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Michael Gannon, Contributor

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When the topic of travel is mentioned, the first place that many people think of is Italy. Italy is a country famous for ancient Roman ruins and historic cities like Florence and Rome, as well as picturesque and mesmerizing towns like Sorrento. Sorrento is a town well known for a host of lemons, as well as steep seaside cliffs and a bustling town center. Sorrento is an ideal vacation site for tourists not only because of its beauty, but because it is in a convenient location.  Located on the far famed Amalfi Coast, Sorrento is close to the island of Capri and the city of Naples, which are also popular tourist destinations.

Sorrento first became a popular tourist destination in the nineteenth century when it was added on the ‘Grand Tour’ of Italy, a popular Italian travel guide at the time. Tourists that discovered the beauty of Sorrento began flocking there by the thousands. According to Lonely Planet, before the days of the ‘Grand Tour’, in the early nineteenth century, Sorrento was visited by the British poet Byron, who was enthralled by the town of Sorrento. As a result, Sorrento became a tourist destination for many of those who enjoyed Byron’s works, but still remained relatively tourist free until the days of the ‘Grand Tour’.

Tourists that travel to Sorrento have many things to experience there. Many go to visit the Basilica di Sant’Antonino, which according to Sorrento info.com, is a famous basilica built in the eleventh century and dedicated to saint Antonino, a Roman Catholic saint whose relics are housed in the basilica. This basilica is famous for housing a number of paintings, such as those painted by the Italian artist Giovanni Bernardo Lama. Also housed in the basilica is a painting depicting the siege of Sorrento of 1648, which was painted in 1687 by Giacomo Del Po. There is a Christmas nativity scene located in the church that was designed in the seventeenth century. This particular nativity scene was not originally home to the basilica, but rather the school of Sammartino; however, it was eventually placed in the basilica.

Just as famous as the Basilica di Sant’Antonino is the Piazza Tasso. Located in the center of Sorrento, the Piazza Tasso is a square named after the well known sixteenth century Italian poet Torquato Tasso. Many enjoy sitting down at this square to relax, sip their cappuccino, and talk with family and friends. At the center of the Piazza Tasso is the Santuario Del Carmine, a basilica built in the sixteenth century on the ruins of a third century Catholic church that was destroyed by the pagan Romans. Just like the Basilica di Sant’Antonino, the Santuario Del Carmine is a very important historical basilica in Sorrento and it too has numerous beautiful and precious works of art.

Whether going to the churches and admiring all the hard work that went into making them, gazing off at the sea, or chatting with the locals, Sorrento surely is a place you won’t soon forget. It is a town filled with history and stories, seasides and freshly grown lemons. Sorrento is often overlooked compared to other places in Italy, but should one decide to go there, they are likely to have the experience of a lifetime.

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