Marina Grande

This charming port has served as Sorrento’s connection to the sea for almost 2,000 years and is still in use by local fishermen.

Marina Grande is a small traditional fishing port that sits underneath the limestone cliffs on which the old town of Sorrento is perched. Away from the traffic of the streets above, this  sheltered bay enjoys a much gentler pace of life. Come here for a swim or watch local fishermen at work.

Despite its name, Marina Grande (great marina) is actually the smaller of Sorrento’s two main harbors. It is also the older marina. A large stone wall once stood between the city and the tradesmen and noblemen who came to Sorrento by sea. Despite this fortification, Turkish pirates invaded Sorrento in 1558 and ransacked the city. Most of the old city wall has gone, but its gate and the reinforced Bastion of Parsano still stand.

Have an alfresco breakfast, lunch or dinner at one of the harbor-side restaurants. Then stroll along the waterfront and enjoy the sights. Fishing boats come and go, so there is always something to see. One of the nicest times to visit is around sunset when fishermen are cleaning their nets and tending to their wooden boats. The wider views across the Bay of Naples from here are splendid at sunset too.

On a sunny day, lounge on the shore and wade in the sea from the harbor’s small beach. It is rocky and consists of volcanic sand, so bring a mat or camping chair for comfortable relaxation.

To escape the sun or rain, browse the small collection of shops and visit the Church of St. Anna. The holiday for this patron saint is July 26; on the Sunday following this date the entire marina becomes a fairground. Join the crowds during the festival to see the fireworks and processions.

To reach Marina Grande, take a bus from the city center or, if you are feeling energetic, walk the long series of stone steps that lead from the old town to the hamlet. You’ll pass through the arched Greek Gate, a good photo opportunity.

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