Casa Astarita B&B ★★

Room at Hotel Casa Astarita B&B, Sorrento. (Photo by Casa Astarita B&B)

The Hotel Casa Astarita B&B is one of the Secret Hotels of the Amalfi Coast, a friendly family Bed and Breakfast in Sorrento

The "bed and breakfast" is a relatively new lodging category for Italy and no one has quite perfected it yet—but sisters Rita and Annamaria Astarita are coming close.

They've turned a rambling apartment a block past Sorrento's cathedral into a tiny B&B mixing old-fashioned style and modern appointments with a personal touch you can get only from innkeepers who make it a point to spend time with the clientele.

"This is our family palazzo," says Rita in a smoke-laden rumble as she joins her guests for a communal breakfast of cakes, croissants, sliced cheeses, fresh fruit, and yogurt. "Our grandfather still lives across the hall!"

Family heirlooms mingle with Ikea furnishings and flatscreen TVs under high archways, and the fireplace in the common room is flanked by a courtesy tray of sweet limoncello liqueur on one side and a free Internet point on the other.

After breakfast, Rita gathers the variety of homemade marmalades and jams and puts them back on the antique credenza, then leaves to shop for DVD players—even though the rooms already come with satellite TV channels.

Three of the rooms—"Mitica," "Mediterranea," and "Moderna"—have little balconies that hang over Sorrento's main drag. The other three—including "Romantica" with its high-backed inlaid wooden bed, and "Storta," a narrow, wedge-shaped room stair-stepping up to a Japanese-style futon-on-the-floor (I stayed there; comfy)—overlook the greenhouse-like roof of popular La Favorita restaurant next door and the cliffs behind town, which glow golden at sunset.

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Casa Astarita B&B
Corso Italia 67, Sorrento
tel. +39-081-877-4906
» book

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How long does Sorrento take?

Planning your time: Sorrento has maybe 2-3 hours of mediocre sightseeing. To be brutally honest it is probably the least interesting town in this area. It is only famous for its location.

Sorrento makes an ideal base for exploring Campania thanks to its location at the nexus of regional public transit—pretty much the only place from which you can get anywhere without having to change mode of transportation: Trains direct to Pompeii and Naples; ferries to Capri; buses or ferries down the Amalfi Coast.

If you prefer the home-base style of travel, Sorrento is the perfect base. Figure on three days/two nights here (hit Pompeii on the train ride down from Naples—you can store your luggage temporarily at the Pompei train station—then spend one day each visiting Capri and the Amalfi Coast).

If, however, you prefer to travel from town to town, just treat Sorrento as a way-station to switch from train to bus or ferry; skip Sorrento entirely and sleep in a more interesting locale on the Amalfi Coast or Capri.

» Sorrento itineraries

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Casa Asterita B&B
Corso Italia 67, Sorrento
tel. +39-081-877-4906
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