Sorrento's Historical Buildings Walking Tour, Sorrento

Sorrento's Historical Buildings Walking Tour (Self Guided), Sorrento

Much like many other places in Italy, the charming coastal town of Sorrento has no shortage of cultural heritage. The influence of different historical periods is seen particularly well in the center of the town, where a number of notable buildings have proudly withstood the test of time. Among these are several beautiful churches and monasteries that still keep some of Sorrento's valuable memories alive.

One such is the Church and Cloister of Saint Francis (Chiostro di San Francesco). This peaceful complex showcases elegant design and serves as a tranquil retreat.

The 16th-century Tasso Theater (Teatro Tasso), another architectural gem, has seen its share of shows over the years. Its cultural significance makes it a draw for theater enthusiasts.

The Church of Saint Antonino (Chiesa di Sant'Antonino) stands as a testament to the town's religious heritage. Its noble facade and intricate interior create a serene atmosphere for visitors.

The Gate Door Seat (Sedile di Porta), in turn, reflects the communal spirit of Sorrento as a meeting place for the town's elders and a hub for public discussions. The Dominova Seat (Sedile Dominova) is another gathering place that echoes the town's history and social connections.

The Church of Carmine showcases magnificent religious artistry and is vital to the local religious community. Similarly, the Sorrento Cathedral (Cattedrale di Sorrento) is a monument of architecture and spirituality, whose grandeur and religious significance make it a cherished landmark.

Meanwhile, the Cathedral’s Bell Tower stands tall as an iconic symbol of the town's skyline. At the same time, the Church of Rosary (Chiesa Del Rosario) is a place of worship and artistic beauty, capturing the essence of Sorrento's culture.

Finally, the Ancient Walls and Parsano Bastion serve as reminders of Sorrento's historical fortifications and strategic significance.

For a deeper understanding of Sorrento's past and its enduring traditions, we invite you to explore these remarkable landmarks. Each building has its own story to tell, and by visiting them, you'll not only enrich your knowledge but also contribute to the preservation of these historical treasures for future generations to enjoy.
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Sorrento's Historical Buildings Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Sorrento's Historical Buildings Walking Tour
Guide Location: Italy » Sorrento (See other walking tours in Sorrento)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 Km or 0.7 Miles
Author: Linda
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Chiostro di San Francesco (Church and Cloister of Saint Francis)
  • Teatro Tasso (Tasso Theater)
  • Chiesa di Sant'Antonino (Church of Saint Antonino)
  • Sedile di Porta (Gate Door Seat)
  • Church of Carmine
  • The Cathedral’s Bell Tower
  • Cattedrale di Sorrento (Sorrento Cathedral)
  • Sedile Dominova (Dominova Seat)
  • Chiesa Del Rosario (Church of Rosary)
  • Ancient Walls and Parsano Bastion
Chiostro di San Francesco (Church and Cloister of Saint Francis)

1) Chiostro di San Francesco (Church and Cloister of Saint Francis) (must see)

The Church and Cloister of Saint Francis are near the public gardens of Sorrento, with stunning views of the fabled Gulf of Naples. The church was built in the 8th century. Originally it was an oratory founded by Saint Antonino, dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, and reconstructed in the Baroque style by the Franciscans in the 14th century.

The church has a simple white facade divided into two parts. The well-preserved 14th-century portal is flanked by five pilasters, on each side, on the lower part. There are two arched blind windows on either side of the portal. In the left window is a painting of Saint Francis. A similar portrait of Saint Antonino appears on the right.

The upper part of the facade has a mullioned rose window flanked by two pilasters on each side. A scalloped roof front surmounts the crenelated edges of the upper side.

The church has one nave and six chapels. On the right facing the altar, in the first two chapels, are the statues of Saint Francis and Saint Antonino. On the left, we find the statues of Saint Rita of Cascia and the Immaculate Madonna. Above the altar is a 1735 painting St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata.

In the sacristy are several marble artifacts from different eras. In the reception hall, it is a 16-century painting of Madonna and Infant with Saint Michael and John the Baptist.

Next to the church is the monastery cloister of San Francis. The cloister was founded in the 7th century but ceded to the Franciscans in the 14th century. It presents a mixture of architectural styles. Two sides of the porch have crossed 14th-century tuff arches. Two other sides have rounded arches on octagonal columns.

Architectural artifacts extracted from ancient temples and buildings have been integrated into the construction of the cloister. The cloister is often used for art exhibitions and musical events. It is also a popular venue for weddings.
Teatro Tasso (Tasso Theater)

2) Teatro Tasso (Tasso Theater)

Theater Tasso is located in the Square of San Antonino. The theater has been closed for almost a decade and has undergone some reconstruction, although it retains its original 16th-century architecture. Here, in 1920, the first performances on the peninsula took place. Teatro Tasso offers different musical shows and interesting programs to suit everyone's taste.
Chiesa di Sant'Antonino (Church of Saint Antonino)

3) Chiesa di Sant'Antonino (Church of Saint Antonino) (must see)

Leaving Tasso Square, walk along De Maio Street. Shortly, you will arrive at Saint Antonino Square. The Church of Saint Antonino will be on the right. Saint Antonino is the patron saint of Sorrento. He came to Sorrento in the 6th century, seeking refuge from the Lombard invasions of Italy.

One day a whale came up to the beach at Sorrento and swallowed a boy. Antonino got the boy out, safe and sound. Saint Antonino is credited with this and other miracles. He is the patron saint of shipwrecked seafarers. At the entrance to the church is a set of whale bones to memorialize the miracle of the boy meeting the whale.

The Church of Saint Antonino, constructed in the 11th century, stands over a 7th-century oratory built to cover the bones of Saint Antonino. The grey tuff facade features a Romanesque architectural style dating from the 18th century. Three naves were divided by twelve Corinthian-style columns salvaged from ancient Greek and Roman buildings.

At the time of his death, the story goes, Saint Antonino said he did not wish to be buried within or without the city. So, he was put to rest between the walls. In the crypt is a life-like statue of the saint. On one wall are paintings of ships at sea. On another wall are silver talismans of believers saved by Saint Antonino's grace.
Sedile di Porta (Gate Door Seat)

4) Sedile di Porta (Gate Door Seat)

Sedile di Porta is a historic building located in the Piazza Tasso. It was built near the main gate of the city, when the area that is now Piazza Tasso was called Largo del Castello. Because the building was located close to the gate, it received the name di Porta. Over the years, it has served as a prison and guard house, and today the Sedile is home to the Sorrento Club.
Church of Carmine

5) Church of Carmine

The Church of Carmine likely dates back to 240-230 A.D., around the start of the persecutions against Christians in Sorrento. At the end of the 16th century the church was rebuilt in the Baroque style. Here you can see the image of Madonna, which is a duplicate of the Vergine Bruna of Naples, as well as a lot of beautiful artwork from the 17th and 18th centuries.
The Cathedral’s Bell Tower

6) The Cathedral’s Bell Tower

The Bell Tower has great historic importance, because its small arched rooms and the vault on Via Peta, at the entrance of the Bishop's Palace, served as a place for the people of Sorrento to meet. The columns and shapes at the base of the tower have Romanesque-Era influences. The upper part of the tower was probably rebuilt to its current size in the 15th century.
Cattedrale di Sorrento (Sorrento Cathedral)

7) Cattedrale di Sorrento (Sorrento Cathedral)

The Sorrento Cathedral is dedicated to the Virgin of the Assumption and the Apostles Philip and James. The cathedral was consecrated in 1113. It underwent several significant changes in the years 1450 through 1573.

Its appearance was initially in the Baroque style, but the facade was redone in 1924 in a neo-Gothic style. The church is built on the remains of an ancient Greek temple (thought to be dedicated to Zeus). There are three entrances. The 16th-century main entrance, in the center, is flanked by antique marble columns.

The columns support the ogival arch of the center. On the three entrances are lunettes. The central larger lunette is for the Virgin; the smaller lunettes are for Philip and James. The upper part of the facade has battlements and a blind rose window.

The interior takes the shape of a Latin cross with three naves. The naves are set off by 14 pillars. The ceiling is flat with canvas paintings of 2nd-century martyrs. The dome was frescoed in 1902 by Pietro Barone and Augusto Moriani. On the right side of the altar is the chapel where the poet Torquato Tasso was baptized.

The bell tower is almost 200 feet away, from the church, with an 11th-century Romanesque base. It has four square sections with arches, niches, cornices, ceramic tiles, and a clock.
Sedile Dominova (Dominova Seat)

8) Sedile Dominova (Dominova Seat)

Sedile Dominova is the only evidence in Campania of the old nobles known as Sedili. The building dates back to the 16th century. It has a square shape with two arches that provide a view of the interior walls decorated with interesting frescoes.
Chiesa Del Rosario (Church of Rosary)

9) Chiesa Del Rosario (Church of Rosary)

The Church of Rosario, also known as The Church of the Santi Felice e Baccolo, is considered to be one of the most beautiful Baroque churches in Sorrento. It is a very important historic place, as it functioned as the Cathedral of Sorrento from the 12th to the 15th centuries.
Ancient Walls and Parsano Bastion

10) Ancient Walls and Parsano Bastion

In 420 BC, as Greek influence began to wane in the ancient town of Sureo before it became known as Sorrento, the Samnites invaded the south. But Sureo was protected by its Greek fortifications and the Sammnites stopped at Naples. The walls of Sorrento have always protected the town. Today they are a defensive anachronism, but they are in better shape than ever.

Ruins of the ancient Greek and Roman walls were discovered during excavations of the Parsano Gate in 1921. This was verified by a plaque thoughtfully installed there in the age of Augustus. The Romans had filled and bricked up the Greek gateway.

In the time of the Roman Empire the town was completely wrapped in walls. There were five fortified gates guarding against attacks from the sea or land, especially from the sea. When attackers were sighted alarms would sound, calling people to come inside the walls.

During Spanish rule a renewal of the walls was begun in 1551, after the end of the wars between the Angevins and the Aragonese. It was a little late for that, however. The Saracens successfully invaded in 1558, breaking through the Big Marina Gate. The movement to strengthen the walls and gates then became the all-important thing to do.

Spanish engineer Pedro Trevino rebuilt the south wall with tufa blocks plastered over. The Greek and Roman fortifications were preserved where possible. He restored four remaining bastions and joined them together with tracks called "corrine."

The Parsano Gate was built in the 17th century. Originally called the Gate of Anastasi, it was built on the ruins of the old Greek walls. Visitors are allowed to enter from 10 am until 1 pm during the day and from 7 pm until 11 pm at night.

Walking Tours in Sorrento, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Sorrento

Create Your Own Walk in Sorrento

Creating your own self-guided walk in Sorrento is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Sorrento Introduction Walking Tour

Sorrento Introduction Walking Tour

The Greek historian Diodorus Siculus claimed that Sorrento was founded by Liparus, who also founded the city of Lipari on the island of the same name. According to the legend, three mermaids settled on the tip of the Sorrentine Peninsula, enchanting the seafarers in transit through those waters. Even the legendary Ulysses had to use stratagems to resist the deadly song of the Sirens.

Sorrento...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles