Sorrento: Churches, Correale Museum and Villas
Sorrento Cathedral: Built around the 11th century, the Cathedral contains precious frescos by Neapolitan painters. The main façade has three openings and the central one, on which Our Lady of Assumption is represented, is delimited by two columns of pagan origins. Emblematic, in the main entrance, is the drum frescoed with local religious scenes, on which there is the organ donated in 1897 by the Archbishop Giustiniani. In place of the eighteen-century altar, dismembered and moved from the apses to the transept, the wooden choir of the Caucasus was put, which is inlaid and having tiles representing the four Saints of Sorrento, the Apostles and St. Antonino. Inside the Sacristy, built in 1608, there are frescos of the Archbishops of the last two hundred years.
Basilica of Sant’ Antonino: The church is situated on the oratory built close to the sepulchre of the Patron Saint, going back to the 10th century. Its inside, with two aisles and a nave, is divided into twelve columns of different marbles coming from buildings of the Greek time. In the middle of the ceiling there is a painting as of 1734, by Giovan Battista Lama, portraying St. Antonino while freeing the daughter of Sicario, Duke of Benevento, from the Devil. The high altar comes from the suppressed Monastery of Santissima Trinità Through a staircase with two flights one comes to the crypt with vaults sustained by columns coming from other churches. In the altar there are the mortal remains of St. Antonino, whose worship is demonstrated by the numerous silver ex-vows. In the crypt there is an ancient Wooden Crucifix which was brought in procession in case of calamity, while, in the Sacristy there is the silver statue of St. Antonino as of 1564.
Church of Our Lady of Sorrows: the Church was finished in 1739, it has two unusual tuff altars. On the high altar there is an eighteenth-century wooden statue representing Our Lady of Sorrows. Made of tuff is also the façade which keeps elegant lines of the eighteenth-century Baroque.
Church of San Francesco: The Church was commissioned in the 14th century by the Franciscan Friars in the place where there was an oratory going back to the 17th century and consecrated to St Martin Bishop of Tours. Later on, it was turned into a baroque style and the ancient Benedictine cloister was rebuilt by the conventuals with pointed arches woven on octagonal pillars. The Franciscan church, which in 1550 was enriched by a precious wooden choir, then lost, was modified between 1690 and 1727 and today its keeps the structure made at that time. The façade, in white marble, instead, was built in 1926, on the occasion of the seventh centenary of St, Francis’ death. On the high altar there is an oil painting as of 1735 representing St. Francis receiving the stigmata.
Cloister of San Francesco: It has a rectangular plan and presents a multiplicity of styles because it was renovated many times. On the ground floor there are columns and tuff arches forming double lancet windows with lunette. On the capitals the symbols of the families who made the renovation are imprinted, such as the stem of Family Sersale on the capitals of the northern side. The refectory, inside the cloister, keeps its 14th-century structure.
Correale Museum of Terranova: The Museum, inaugurated in 1924 by Giovanni Gentile, was founded according to the will of the brothers Alfredo and Pompeo Correale who left their country house with its land cultivated as a citrus grove and also the whole collection of furnishings, paintings and porcelains from the 17th to the 19th centuries. The museum is divided into three floors and consists of 24 rooms, from the terrace of the villa we can enjoy a wonderful view on the Gulf of Sorrento, while from the garden, enriched by plane trees and age-old plants, we come to the viewpoint steep on the sea. On the ground floor there is the archaeological section containing finds going back to the Imperial age, finds coming from the necropolis of Sorrento Coast, fragments of plutei, ambos, griffins and eagles going back 9th and 12th century. Also on the ground floor there is the painting section, with paintings dating back to different times, and that of furnishings with also tables, chairs and panels in Sorrento wood inlay. On the first floor, instead, there is the painting section and that of porcelains with paintings of Caravaggio origin or works by Salvator Rosa. On the second floor pictures of authors of the School of Posillipo (Giovan Battista Ruoppolo, Andrea Belvedere, Giovanni Cusani) are on show.
Public Gardens: Risen between 1877 and 1879, the Public Gardens are located on the vegetable garden belonging to the Franciscan Friars, they lie steep on the sea and have age-old trees giving a pleasant atmosphere and some shade protecting from the summer warmth. Here we can admire two busts: one dedicated to the historian Bartolomeo Capasso and the latter portraying Francesco Saverio Gargiulo. They have an access to the beach, but lazy people can use a lift.
Villa Tritone: The villa rises steep on the sea and is surrounded by a great variety of exotic plants. It was commissioned by the baron Labonia next to a convent consecrated to St. Vincent. Besides for its beauty, the Villa is famous for the presence, in 1942, of Benedetto Croce, and other important historical personages such as Togliatti, De Nicola and King Umberto of Savoy. At present the Villa is belongs to a private and it is not possible to visit it inside.
Villa Fiorentino: Situated in the old town centre, it overlooks Corso Italia with its sober front. It was donated to the Town hall of Sorrento by Family Cuomo-Fiorentino and it has the function of a museum; for years, in fact, it has been housing archaeological exhibitions.
Villa Regina Giovanna: Between the 1st century B.C. and the 1st century A.D. on the promontory of Capo di Sorrento there was a sea villa of which, today, it is possible to visit only the ruins, which can be interpreted thanks to the news left to us by Statius in his work Silvae. The villa, better known as I bagni della Regina Giovanna (The baths of Queen Johanna), with an extension of almost two hectares, was divided into two areas: the villa on the sea and a house in the mountains with a rural function. Both areas were linked between them through tunnels, galleries and artificial terraces. The rooms show the landscape was greatly enjoyed thanks to large windows and the promenade along the small port. The most relevant element is the natural basin the owners used as a mooring and a swimming pool. The two small islands on the west show some walls which probably linked them through a small bridge.