Topping the rocky cliffs close to the end of its peninsula, 25km south of Pompeii, the last town of significance on the southern side of the bay, SORRENTO is solely and unashamedly a resort, its inspired location and mild climate drawing foreigners from all over Europe for close on two hundred years. Ibsen wrote part of Peer Gynt in Sorrento, Wagner and Nietzsche had a well-publicized row here, and Maxim Gorky lived for over a decade in the town. Nowadays it’s strictly package-tour territory, but not too much the worse for it, with little of the brashness of its Spanish and Greek equivalents but all of their vigour, a bright, lively place that retains its southern-Italian roots. There are only a few sites of interest in Sorrento, though it makes a pleasant base for exploring the rugged peninsula (even parts of the Amalfi Coast) and the islands of the bay.

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