Sorrento and Limoncello: the City of Lemons
The Sorrento lemon, one of the best lemons in Italy, gets its name from the town of Sorrento, southern Italy. The whole Amalfi Coast is known for lemons and limoncello, but Sorrento in particular.
Driving on the Amalfi Coast Road, you’ll spot terraces of lemon groves climbing high up the steep cliffs. The lemons produced in this beautiful part of Campania have been prized for centuries for their intense flavour and healthy properties.
By the 1800s, the lemons of the Sorrento Peninsula were renowned for their intense flavour and healthy properties, and the lemons of the Amalfi Coast in particular were being exported as far as America.
The hardworking farmers of the Sorrento Peninsula continued the challenging work of carving out new terraces in the rocky mountainsides and the backbreaking work of carrying the harvests of lemons up and down the stone steps up to the present day.
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to sample these special lemons during your travels on the Sorrento Peninsula. Be sure to try some of the locally made limoncello along the Amalfi Coast and in Sorrento.
In Campania, limoncello (Italian lemon liqueur) is often served very cold in pretty or decorative glasses. Its high alcohol content means you can store it in the freezer and pour it into frosty glasses that have also been chilled. One of the classic glass shapes is tall and skinny with a little handle to hold while you sip the ice cold, lemony liqueur.
Since limoncello is so strongly connected to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, you’ll find many shops selling the liqueur and related products, including candies and a delightful creamy version of limoncello.
Many shops will also offer you a sample, so you can taste the local varieties during your travels until you find the perfect balance of sweetness and the distinctive, tart lemon flavour.
Sorrento – Limoncello curiosity:
Harvesting of the lemons on the Amalfi Coast and around Sorrento happens more than once a year, which means you’ll be able to sample these special lemons during your travels in the area.
The best lemons, however, are harvested from March to late July, so if your travels bring you to the Sorrento Peninsula during this time of year you might even see the harvesting taking place, which is still done by carrying baskets of lemons up and down the ancient stone steps.
Don’t miss: I Giardini di Cataldo in Sorrento are an orchard that’s been producing citrus since the 19th century. In the middle of the lemon grove, they have a shop where you can taste their limoncello, gelato and marmalades.
For a taste of Sorrento at home, try making your own limoncello by following these easy steps.
Sorrento Limoncello – Ingredients:
2 pounds of lemons (roughly 6 to 7 large or about 10 small)
1 quart of pure grain alcohol
5 cups of water
3 cups of sugar
1. Peel the lemons being careful to remove only the zest and not the white pith.
2. Put the lemon zest into a large jar with alcohol and cover. Let sit in a cool spot for about a week.
3. After a week, strain the lemon zest from the alcohol and set aside.
4. Boil water and add the sugar, mixing until it is dissolved, but not bringing to a boil.
5. Stir the sugar syrup mixture into the lemon-infused alcohol.
6. Strain into clean, dry bottles.
7. Serve your limoncello cold from the refrigerator or freezer and enjoy!
Sorrento Hotels – Where to Stay
Best luxury hotel: Grand Hotel Riviera 4*
Stay in the heart of Sorrento
Grand Hotel Riviera is set on a cliff top looking out over the Gulf of Naples. Take the elevator down to its secluded private beach or bathe in the panoramic outdoor pool. Located just 500 m from Sorrento’s main square, Grand Hotel Riviera’s beautiful gardens and terraces ensure you a peaceful and relaxing stay. The pool is surrounded by palms and eucalyptus trees and have views of the sea and Mount Vesuvius.
Rooms from € 250/night
Best mid-range hotel: Grand Hotel President 4*
Amazing location overlooking the sea
Offering probably the best view across Sorrento and the Gulf of Naples, Grand Hotel President features a refreshing pool and modern wellness centre.Set in an elevated position, the hotel boasts fantastic views and lush, Mediterranean gardens. The restaurant serves a mix of Italian and international flavours in a beautiful setting, overlooking the bay.
Rooms from € 145/night
Best budget hotel: Les Chic Sorrento
Les Chic is a 5-minute walk from Piazza Tasso in Sorrento. It offers modern-style accommodation with air conditioning. A sweet and savoury breakfast is served in guests’ rooms.With free WiFi, rooms at Les Chic have a private bathroom with a hydromassage shower and free toiletries. Sorrento Train Station is a 2-minute walk from the property, while the Tyrrhenian Sea coast can be reached on foot in 10 minutes.
Rooms from € 98/night
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