Since Roman times, Sorrento has been famous for its villas, wine, fish, and red Campanian vases. That history of luxury continues today, and so it should come as no surprise that this decadent coastal town in southern Italy is also home to some of the finest luxury Italian villas that you can find. And considering that this is the home of the dolce vita we’re talking about here, that’s really saying something.
It’s also home to world-class dining that not only honors Sorrento’s rich heritage for wine and seafood, but also its tomatoes, lemons, zucchini, garlic, ricotta, lamb, and olive oil. Of course, restaurants also make full use of the whole Italian bounty available to them, including world-famous ham, cheeses, pasta, and balsamic vinegars. And while some restaurants in Sorrento look to conserve tradition as accurately as possible, others look to elevate and play with it creatively. I’m certainly a fan of both approaches.
And so, bringing together these two most Italian of traditions – food and villas – I present to you my picks for the top villas and the top restaurants in Sorrento.
Luxury Italian Villas in Central Sorrento
Sorrento has a long and rich history when it comes to luxury villas. Its privileged – and protected – coastal location made it a preferred spot for many a wealthy Roman citizen to build their holiday villas, including Emperor Augustus. You can even visit the ruins of one of these ancient villas – Villa di Pollio Felice – right on the edge of town.
This heritage lives on. Sorrento’s villas are spectacular, often featuring priceless works of art, unbelievable textures, breathtaking views, and an attention to detail that reflects the timeless grandeur of the Italian aesthetic. Here are three of our most well-regarded luxury villas in Sorrento:
It really is difficult to capture a villa like Syrene in words. Perched atop a cliff and with direct, private beach access, it offers an unparalleled means of appreciating the best of Sorento.
Appropriately, then, Syrene is home to what can arguably be called Italy’s best private garden, featuring over 700 plants and flowers, as well as 60-foot trees. The interior is equally spectacular, with period art scattered throughout, as well as antique furnishings, marble floors, marble tables, and even a marble staircase.
The villa itself really is a testament to a bygone era of luxury and craftsmanship, though it’s also equipped with all the modern conveniences one would expect from what is essentially a modern-day palazzo. At $25,000 a night, it is a true luxury experience, and the combination of sea, art, and landscape is almost overwhelming.
While a villa like Syrene justifies its pricey reputation, it’s more than just price that makes a villa one of Sorrento’s best. Villa Stradivari is a great example of that.
Here is a villa that’s not only an amazing value, but also perfectly captures the laid-back charm of coastal Southern Italy. It features the stunning ocean views that are essential to any entry on this list, but it also has lovely frescos, grand murals, and an undeniably Italian sense of style.
And while it’s 9-bedrooms are all uniquely decorated and have their own character, it’s the opulent outdoor dining room that is likely to host the fondest memories, since this is where friends and family spend the most time together (along with the nearby infinity pool). Ultimately, it’s the way Stradivari facilitates these connections that makes it stand out as one of Sorrento’s best villas.
Vanisa offers a more modern take on the classic Italian luxury villa, especially compared to the other entries on this list. That said, it still has a timeless sense of style and ocean views that are eternally beautiful.
But it also has a minimalist design that lends itself to clean lines, bright colors, and airy spaces. The white stucco exterior is classically Mediterranean, while the interior features intricate tilework that is authentic to Sorrento and its master ceramic workers.
Stepping out, lush landscaping and rich stonework surround the pool, while the living areas feature large windows that peer out over the Bay of Naples. And while it has a modern, elegantly designed kitchen, it’s also just a short drive from some of Sorrento’s best restaurants.
Where to Find the Best Dining in Sorrento
For me, Italy is all about the culture, and a big part of that culture is the food. The best meals in Italy are works of experiential art, and the food in Sorento is no different. And while there is certainly no shortage of great dining options to be found, these three offer a dining experience that both honors and elevates Sorrento’s long heritage of excellent cuisine:
Set within the 180-year-old Vittoria Hotel, Terrrazza Bosquet is a Michelin-starred restaurant with a grand terrace built atop villa ruins said to belong to Emperor Augustus. It’s one of the top names in Sorrento’s fine dining scene thanks to the inventiveness, passion, and creativity of its head chef, Antonino Montefusco, and his commitment to sourcing only the very best ingredients – including those he planted himself in the restaurant’s own garden.
Located inside an old monastery, the Michelin-starred Il Buco offers elevated takes on Italian classics, with a big emphasis on fresh seafood and unpretentious service. The tasting menus are a great value and are perfectly balanced, including a 100€/person menu that’s tailored by the chef based on what is most fresh and in season that day, as well as on your preferences and reactions.
While the previous two entries fall under the category of ristorante, L’Antica Trattoria offers more relaxed fare and service. That doesn’t mean it’s any less well-regarded, however – L’Antica Trattoria has been recommended in publications from Bon Appetit to the Michelin Guide, and it’s a top choice among travelers and locals alike. Here you’ll find classic dishes from Southern Italy, including plenty of fresh pasta, but sourced and cooked with a high level of passion, precision, and respect for tradition.
Experience the Best Villas and Restaurants in Sorrento, Italy
Some see Sorrento as a jump off point to get to Capri or Ischia; and while those islands are certainly beautiful, I think that’s a mistake. From its luxury Italian villas to its world-class food, Sorrento makes for an incredible destination all on its own – as well as a great base from which to explore Southern Italy and the Amalfi Coast. The entries on this list are a testament to that.
If you’re looking to find the best luxury Italian villa for you, contact Rental Escapes. One of our villa specialists will be happy to help you find the perfect villa rental for your group and travel dates, and your concierge will be able to help recommend restaurants and make reservations.