Journey in the colours of Gennaro Sardella

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The artist on permanent show at the Bellevue Syrene Hotel of Sorrento.

One of the sentences Gennaro Sardella loves repeating is that “We are made of many colours”. Of all those colours he masterly uses in his works.

Artist, master and great connoisseur of the human soul, of the contemporary man, immersed, or even, overwhelmed by the contradictions and in the conditionings of everyday life. A visionary and surrealistic poet, who depicts figures with long necks, sharpened tongues in an apparently confused, fairy-like, fanciful world.

A free painter, as he loves to define himself, who has chosen to entrust his art with an important message, a philosophy of life, a constant accusation of a conventional, standard, stereotyped world.

Works to be interpreted, able to talk, to communicate suffering, perplexity, worry about the individual’s present conditions of life, but that never forget that particular message of hope, of wish, of happiness often entrusted to the colour or to grotesque and comic images.

Gennaro Sardella, of Neapolitan origins, as a very young man, begins depicting that fanciful, fairy-like and surreal world which will characterize the atmosphere of almost all of his pictorial production. Since his adolescence he has been visiting the main Italian towns: a wondering suggested by an unsatisfiable thirst of knowledge and an unceasing curiosity for the world. In the Neapolitan period, exactly until 1975, he takes his artistic tie again with the painter Roberto Carignani, he improves painting techniques and meets important artists such as Giorgio De Chirico and Pietro Annigoni. His personal experiences, his Neapolitan being, rich in images with a strong symbolic value, the particularity and uniqueness of his paintings have outlined a route, not always in decline, which has brought the artist to be acknowledged as an important point of reference in the Neapolitan and national artistic panoramas. Over eighty exhibitions in Italy, successes of Italian and foreign public for one of the most interesting artists not only in the artistic panorama of Campania, but also in the national and international ones.


Basilica of Sant’Antonino, Sorrento

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Among the most picturesque churches of Sorrento, the Basilica of St Antonino stands in an old oratory which used to host the Saint’s remains who, according to legend, was a refugee in Sorrento during the Longobard invasions and lived there till his death. Built in the IX century, the basilica of Saint Antonino has a Latin-cross plan in three naves and 12 different columns coming from different buildings in Greek Roman architecture of the same area.

Inside the church hosts important paintings, among these, the works by Giovan Battista Lama and two canvas by Giacomo del Po depicting the siege of Sorrento in 1648 and the plague of 1656.
The main altar in convex marbles, comes from the former monastery of the SS. Trinità.
The sacristy of the Basilica contains important works: a silver statue of St. Antonino dating back to1564, the remains of a picturesque and ancient majolica floor and one of the most beautiful Neapolitan nativity scenes of the 7th century. The nativity, in permanent display, has been called the “small San Martino” for an analogy with the most famous nativity scenes in Naples.

Very interesting are also the votive offerings present in the church, most of them donated by sailors survived of shipwrecks. To St Antonino, patron saint of the town of Sorrento, is also attributed the famous miracle which tells how the saint rescued, in Marina Grande, a young boy that had been swallowed by a cetacean. In memory of this miracle people from Sorrento put in the hall outside the church two ribs of the cetacean. The crypt of the church, located below the main altar, contains the remains of St. Antonino, and an ancient wooden cross and a fifteenth-century fresco portraying Madonna delle Grazie.


Sorrento: Churches, Correale Museum and Villas

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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.


The Museo Correale di Terranova

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An ancient historical address dating back to the ‘700’s and immersed in the color and scents of a typical Sorrentine citrus plantation, “Villa alla Rota” has hosted one of the most important Campanian museums: the Museo Correale di Terranova.

Instituted in 1924 by the Correale Foundation, which was founded in 1902, thanks to the enormous grants left by Alfredo and Pompeo Correale, the Museo Correale di Terranova in Sorrento provides an important testimony of the fluctuating cultures that influenced the geographc basin of Sorrento and its surrounds up until the end of the last century.

Porcelain, paintings, objects of a furnishing nature and local handmade products belonging to the Correale family, provide a free display to its visitors.

The building which houses the museum has one of the most enchanting panoramic terraces ever, overlooking the Gulf of Sorrento. It’s split into 3 levels with 24 halls where the antique furniture, pocelain and paintings italian and interantional of the 18th century.

On the ground floor one will find the archeological section of the museum where the most important archeological finds can be seen, such as the inauguration of the Temple of Vesta on the Palatino and the relics found in the necropoli uncovered on the Sorrentine Peninsula which have been traced back to the period between the 9th and 11th centuries.

The first floor displays the paintings and period furniture from the 18th century, oriental porcelain and paintings illustrating the Flemmish technique of painting. Amongst the exhibits the most celebrated of the Museum are paintings by Caravaggio landscapes on canvas by Domenico Gargiulo, the famous painting by Salvator Rosa, “Marina con I Pescatori” and canvasses by Rubens, Van Cassell and Grimmer.

On the second floor there is a hall dedicated to landscapes and still life paintings completed by the artists of the Posillipo School. There are also pendulums and Italian and European watches, many of which are still in perfect working order even though they date back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

On the third floor is an exhibition of porcelain, precious pieces and unique Italian manufactured valuables such as the Venetian Vezzi, the Florentian Doccia and the Napoletan Capodimonte and Real Fabbrica.

Precious pieces from Austria, France, The Netherlands and Germany are also represented.


The Territorial Archeological Museum George Vallet

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The Sorrento Peninsula offers its visitors numerous attractive environmental and historical cultures. Amongst the obligatory routes that one may decide to follow whilst in vacation on the Sorrento Peninsula, is a visit to the Territorial Archeological Museum as called by the archeologist, George Vallet.
The Museum is situated in the prestigiuous Villa Fondi di Sangro, an enchanting historical address and built in the neoclassic style of the ‘800’s. The Villa also hosts a congress hall, an exhibition hall, a bar and cafeteria and a public park. The structure of the villa rises on the edge of the cliffs above the sea over the Marina di Cassano, in Piano di Sorrento, and offers visitors a breathtaking panoramic view over the Gulf of Naples.
The birth of the Museum is fairly recent and it was in fact inaugurated on the 17th July 1999. It’s fitting out was done under the superintendence of the Province of Naples and Caserta in accordance with the Municipality of Piano di Sorrento.
The Museum was borne with the intention of recounting and documenting the history of the populations and the cultural transformations that came about on the Sorrento Peninsula from prehistoric times until the Roman epoch.
The Museum is the custodian of exhibits taken from archeological excavations of the Sorrento Peninsula, namely of the Greek epoch are the remains of the Temple of Athena found near Punta Campanella and the sanctuary built in honour of the Sirens; from the Roman epoch are artifacts from the sumptuous seaside villa’s such as the villa of Pollio Felice, which one finds at the head of the Sorrento Peninsula, and the villa of Pipiano, built at the beginning of the century near Marina di Puolo in Massa Lubrense.
The Territorial Archeological Museum of George Vallet also exhibits the remains excavated from the two necropoli in Vico Equense: funerial accompaniments, sculptures and utensils of various kinds.
Museo Archeologico Territoriale George Vallet
via Ripa di Cassano
Piano di Sorrento
Opening times:: 9.00 – 19.00
Tel.: 0818087078
Sito Web:


The sculptures of Riccardo Dalisi

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Besides being one of the most enchanting and renowned hotels in Sorrento, the Bellevue Syrene is a unique destination when one can admire an art exhibition of canvasses, epochal elements of furniture, sculptures and ceramics by artists of grand talent.
A ‘museum-hotel’, sensitive to Art, it is a venue which not only wishes to welcome guests but to share awareness of the Italian artistic culture and so openly invite their guests to freely admire the evocative artistic display.
Amongst the displays at the Bellevue Syrene, are some sculptures by Riccardo Dalisi, an icon of Partenopea design. Riccardo Dalisi was born in Potenza but lives in Naples where he teaches at the Faculty of Architecture of Ateneo Federiciano.
Exponent of the theory of design “ultra poverty”, from his beginnings has lead a continuous aesthetic research on materials and techniques of working that allow the realization of design elements devoid of foolish external ambitions. Papier maché, wood, wrought iron, tin and copper, are the ‘poor’ materials which Dalisi has transformed into instruments to manually realize objects of high value communicated opposite the mechanical, homologous, serial production.
Besides ‘ultrapoverty’ design, Dalisi is involved in the field of architectural protection, actively intervening in the reconstruction after the Irpinia earthquake and in important displays of ecclesiastical buildings. He has been part of the radical avanteguard, proposing through his works the ancient manual techniques and the creativity of the Napoletan artisans.
The infamous protection of Napoletan coffee has become the cult-object of Alessi. In the industrial field, Dalisi has designed for Zabro, Baleari and Vanini.Other art objects have been done for Tendenze, Eschenbach, Ritzenhoff, Cleto Munari and Glass. Since 1990 he has been busy with the creation of lamps for Oluce.


Sorrento Cathedral

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The cathedral of Sorrento is the church dedicated to St Filippo and Giacomo. It was probably built in the period of the Longobard occupation but little remains of its original architecture.

The cathedral safeguards preciuos pieces of art and valuable finds, like bas -relieves dating back to 1300 ascribed to Andrea Pisano.
The centrical layout church, with three separate naves and fourteen pillars, has a floral painted ceiling, made between the first and second decades of ‘700 by Francesco Francareccio.
Among important pieces of art, the palette named
“Virgin Mary between St John Baptist and St John Evangelist” by Silvestro Buono, located under the marble pulpit dating end of the’500 . In the right transept a table on a gold base is kept, this represents the birth of Jesus Christ.
Among the important paintings are the pictures by Oronzo Malinconico.

The entrance of the cathedral was completely rebuilt at the beginning of the’900, on its sides two big marble pillars showing the coat of arms of the Archibishop Brancaccio on their base.

In the Chapel of Blessed Sacrament is kept a wooden crucifix of the XV century, set on the altar with polichrome marbles with side little angels.
An eighteenth century organ by Nicola Mancino is in the seventh chapel on the right, while in the first chapel on the right, where the Baptismal font is, one can admire the depiction of the Sacrifice of Christ’s bBlood, dated 1522, on the side twelve tiles representing the Apostoles.
During the Christamas season in the cathedral it is also possble to contemplate a beautiful nativity scene following the Neapolitan school with original figurines from ‘700.


City of Science

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A unique structure in Europe, the City of Science is one of the most interesting scientific museums as it integrates science, art, culture and innovation in a single location.

The basic concept is based on the interaction and direct involvement with the visitors. Situated overlooking the Gulf of Pozzuoli, the City of Science Museum of Naples is characterised by 5 impressive naves which cover a surface area of 10.000sq.m. The building has been restored maintaining the original industrial architecture. Inside one can follow a path leading past exhibits which tell the story of human knowledge and the comparisons between us and Nature.

The Science Museum is divided into various sections: the Spectacle of the Sky, one of the biggest planetariums in southern Italy, equipped with all the necessary instruments to observe Copernicus’ sky and more; the Science Gymnasium, sub-divided into three sections, in which the ‘secrets’ of classic physics are exhibited, of contemporary science and of biology; and then there is the section called Signs, Symbols and Signals, a permanent exhibition all about communication, a unique display to be hosted in a museum in Italy.

Worthy of special mention is the Children’s Office, a genuine interactive laboratory for children, even for those younger than 3, where they can experience and discover the wonders of the human and artificial worlds.

The City of Science Museum recommends visitors make use of Bit, a user-friendly virtual guide which is both fun and informative.


Museum of Wood Inlay

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Among the most important Museums of Applied Art existing in Italy, the Museum of Wood Inlay is among the most interesting attractions in the town of Sorrento.

The museum is a multifunctional place which, besides enhancing the products of Sorrento artistic craftsmanship, keeps and offers its visitors the traditional art techniques, too. Therefore, it is not only a building for conservation, but also a place where it is possible to see the production of Sorrento inlaid wood works.

The Museum dedicated to Sorrento wood inlay is located in the old town centre of Sorrento, in the historical Palace Pomarici Santomasi dating back to the Eighteenth century, recently renovated in the full respect of its original architecture.

In the building, planned by Architect Alessandro Fiorentino, it is possible to admire theme-based sections dedicated to the art technique in its historical evolution from the Fifteenth to the Eighteenth century, to the more modern one of the Nineteenth century and, of course, to the present one.

The exhibition of works includes a route among objects for different purposes: pieces of furniture, fittings, but also drawings, prints and time photos and tools used by master artisans for the making of numerous inlaid masterpieces such as jewel boxes, cigar holders, frames, pictures and so much more.

The Museum is open every day:
10,00 a.m.- 1,00 p.m.; 3,00 p.m.-6,30 p.m. (October-June)
4,00 p.m.- 7,30 p.m. (July-September)
Closed on public holidays.

The entrance costs is almost 8 Euros.

You can book on the phone at the number 081-8771942.

Booking is compulsory for groups.


Sorrento’s churches

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You can visit numerous religious building in Sorrento’s surroundings. These churches are rich in history, tradition and valuable art elements. They offer a journey through the history, the art and the culture of this enchanting part of Italy.

S. Attanasio Church in Priora
Priora is a hamlet on the Sorrento’s hills. Here it is possible to admire the S. Attanasio church which was probably erected in the V century to honour the saint bishop Attanasio. The religious building has two naves. The main nave has a coffered ceiling made of cloth. The other nave has a barrel vault and ends with a dome-shaped quadrilateral which keep an altar. On this altar there is a Virgin Mary 18th century painting. Under the main nave there are two altars and a 19th century memorial tablet which was ordered after the restoration works. The main altar is dedicated to Santa Maria delle Grazie and is adorned with a painting (1776) by De Piscopo and a bust of S.Attanasio.
The church also keep priests tombs under the main altar an children tombs near the main entrance.

La Purità Church in Capo di Sorrento
La Purità church is dedicated to the Vergin and is situated in Li Simoni area at Capo di Sorrento.
The chapel – which was in decay – was restored thanks to Monsignor Giustiniani. It has a single nave with barrel vault, a very damaged wooden altar and a painting of the Lady.

S. Maria di Costantinopoli Church
The Santa Maria di Costantinopoli Chapel was built in 1600 and is situated at Capo di Sorrento. The church has only a single nave with a dome-shaped presbytery and square plan. The dome is supported by a tiburio which has three rectangular windows.
The chapel has only an altar in polychrome marble which was probably built in the late 18th century. Behind the altar there is the Lady Mary of Costantinopoli with the Child among angels and souls of Purgatory by Carlo Amalfi. The little church also offers its visitors two important 18th paintings: San Joseph with Jesus and Sant’Ignazio di Loyola.


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