Sorrento to visit
Sorrento offers to visitors a great variety of beauties to admire, natural places where to contemplate so many suggestive landscapes, like the whole Sorrento Coast. Besides the naturalistic treasures, yet, the town has a great heritage of monuments, churches, museums and squares of great historical and cultural value, which quench the thirst of culture of tourists and visitors, thus contributing, together with the other aspects, to making a stay in Sorrento complete. Hereafter there are some sites to visit:
Piazza Tasso: It was raised during the 14th century after some urban changes which took place in Sorrento. In the past it was called Largo del Castello, because, where nowadays there is the statue of St. Antonino, there was a castle of the Aragon time. In 1844 the five-hundred walls were demolished, which had been built round the glens as a defence from incursions, while later the gate which gave access to the town from east was demolished, the so-called Porta del Piano, on the top of which there was the tuff statue of St. Antonino; this statue, taken away by its author A. Torrese, was put on a pillar near the Hotel Rispoli. In 1870 the monument dedicated to Torquato Tasso was inaugurated. It was in that period, thanks to the opening of a new road, that the series of nineteen-century buildings edging the present Corso Italia arose.
Ancient Walls: They are near the Gate of Parsano Nuova, opened in 1745, in the area where there must already be an access to the town going back to 16th century, and testified by the presence of two bastions and by the gunports located on their sides. Under the road plan of the Gate there are the defensive walls which, as testified by the stone blocks of the arch, located along and in front, would go back to the Greek age. During the excavations as of 1921 remains supposed to date back to the Age of Augustus were discovered. These walls were used in the Middle Ages as a defence of the town from external attacks. Their remaking, started in the first half of the 16th century, finished in 1558, after the attack by the Turks.
Sedile Dominova: The name of the Seat derives from the expression domus nova (new house) and was commissioned by nobles who in the 14th century had freed themselves from the group of the seat Sedile di Porta. On the small pillars located along the balustrade there is a stem representing a passing she-wolf. The architectural line is of Renaissance origin, the two façades are in piperno with two arches. Very interesting are the frescos like that of the stem of Sorrento sustained by a group of angels. In the dome, made with yellow and green fish-scale majolica tiles, there are the heraldic signs of the noble families belonging to the Sedile.
Sedile di Porta: Today seat of the Circolo Sorrentino, the Sedile di Porta is located on the corner between Via Tasso and Via San Cesareo, and owes its name to the fact that it was built near the main gate of Sorrento, close to the Largo Castello. With the abolition of the Seats, the building was turned into prison and then into seat of the Guards of the Town Army. The clock which can be seen from the main façade dates back to 1882 and was built after almost forty years from the former which was located under the bell tower of the Castle, where now Piazza Tasso is. Clocks were very useful for the population because they marked the awakening, the times for meetings, business and departures to other sea towns, so the administration always had to grant their good functioning.
Vallone dei Mulini: Among the five glens characterizing Sorrento Coast, and which in the past divided one town from another, the only one better kept, and escaped from the changes brought about in the various times, is the Vallone dei Mulini which takes its name from the presence of a mill used until the beginning of 1900 to grind corn. The waters which flowed down from the hills and the spring ones fostered a sawmill annexed to the mill, useful for the working of various kinds of wood, used for the art of inlay. Another characteristic of the Glen was the presence of a public wash-tub where women went to wash the clothes. After 1866 the Glen was abandoned and the only evidences of its activity are the prints and the pictures the artists and visitors of the time left us.
Via delle Grazie: At number 16 of this road there is Durazzo Palace of the first half of the 15th century, the Ferola Palace. The portal is adorned with a relief decoration along the arched lintel and a stem on top. Along the same road there is also a medieval double lancet window presenting a motif decorated with a double row of dentils in the inner arch.
Via Pietà: it corresponds to the Higher Decumanus of the ancient urban plan which had the scheme of the ancient military camps. The road, linking Piazza Tasso to the main entrance of the Cathedral, and stopping by the bell tower of this one, keeps remarkable examples of medieval architecture. Among these ones: Palazzo Veniero, Palazzo Correale and the Loggia of Vico Galantario.
Via San Cesareo: This road, with a characteristic Hippodamian shape, can be reached from different spots of the town, and in the past it was used to defend oneself from the incursions of enemies. It is possible to have pleasant walks along it, to buy souvenirs, with a wide choice among hand-painted shepherds, carillons of Sorrento wood inlay, hand- embroidered clothes etc. Along the axes there are also various seventeenth- and eighteenth- century buildings which underwent the influence of the Neapolitan Baroque. In fact we can see ancient portals, characterized by simple drawings with round arches and big ashlars.
Gate of Marina Grande: At the end of a leaning road which in the past was opened at the feet of a tower, it is the most ancient gate kept after the demolitions as of 1800. Of the tower, today, we can see the gate and some pieces of the cordon. In the 15th century it was the only access to the town from the coastal area and, though it has undergone various changes, it remains the most ancient one, as one can see by the perfect isodomic structure and by the compactness of the two blocks, that is to say the two walls which flanked the road and which, by the outside, led to the gate.
Gate of Parsano Nuova: It was built in 1745, though its two bastions next to the gate and the gunports demonstrate that in the 16th century it was possible to enter the town thanks to the gate of Via Sersale. With the excavations as of 1900 it was discovered that under the present eighteenth-century gate there were some ruins of a gate going back to the Greek times. In 1925 some parapets were built as well as some walls to protect those ruins.
Gate of Marina Piccola: The Road to the beach, the landing place and shipyard of the town, was blocked by a gate which was the only access to it. It was next to the Church of Sant’ Antonino, and was surmounted by an embattled tower. On the right there was a garden of the Theatine Fathers, while on the north side there was an open space from which to admire Marina Piccola. This open space was bought by the Municipality in 1835 to give the possibility to visitors to admire the beach.