Everyone wants to take a souvenir chachke home from a vacation in Italy. But what do you buy when you’re surrounded by cheap plastic key chains made in China and overpriced leather goods made in a big factory? Sorrento souvenir shopping is full of both and hunting out the bargains takes some sleuthing.
At Wanderlust Women Travel we know most of the back alley shops that line Sorrento and much of the Amalfi Coast, so here are some top picks for souvenirs for yourself or the dog-sitter watching your puppy back home.
1. Leather goods – Concetta Pane (V. San Cesareo 6/8/10) is so chock full of leather goods that it spans three storefronts on this tiny street. The shoes, the handbags, the briefcases are a leather lover’s dream and the prices are much better than you’ll find in Rome or Positano. Try on a pair of butter soft leather shoes and you’ll need to buy a suitcase to take them home because you can’t buy just one pair!
2.Art – See a scene, take a photo; see a painting, do your homework. Many of the shops which veer out from Piazza Tasso are full of commercially duplicated paintings of the same scene but with different pricing. If you want a painting made for the masses, better to take a photo. If you want something that’s unique, one of a kind, be prepared to pay the artist for his/her time. This is how they make their living.
3.Intaglio woodworks – Sorrento is known for its intaglio inlaid woodworks. Take a peak inside the Sorrento cathedral and you will see everything from the pulpit to the stations of the cross in this detailed art form. A. Gargiulo & Jannuzzi is one of the best places, to buy intaglio furniture, wood boxes and bar serving sets. You can also buy Sorrento ceramics in this massive, centrally located shop, where it’s been for more than 150 years. While the prices may be higher than shops elsewhere, the customer service is unparalleled and they ship overseas. (And don’t forget to mention Wanderlust Women Travel) We can also recommend staying in the Pallazzo Jannuzzi Relais (Vico S. Aniello, 39). Yes, the rooms face the main square but they are far from noisy. They are quiet even on a day when the streets are crowded just below the balcony.
4.The Embroidery Centre (Via P. R. Giuliani, 36) is a tiny treasure located on a small side street off Piazza Tasso. Many stores sell lace and embroidered items but we have found it to offer the best and most reasonable prices for embroidered linens. If you’re lucky, you can watch a skilled artisan weave their craft in the shop.
5.In a last minute pinch the night before you’re leaving – head to the Deco supermarket (Corso Italia, 221-231) on the main drag. Here you can buy lingerie with your groceries because it’s Italy and mangiare usually leads to amore! The tiny supermarket is open late and sells everything, including wine in a box. Think of it as the Sorrento general store.
In our opinion, the best souvenirs from Sorrento are the memories you’ll enjoy long after you’re home.