Known as the Italian Versailles, the Royal Palace of Caserta is one of the most superb buildings made during the royal dynasty of the Bourbons. The building has been declared World Heritage of Mankind by the UNESCO and is visited by thousands of people every year.
The royal residence is surrounded by a huge park divided into two gardens: the Italian one and the English one. Commissioned by Charles II, it was planned in 1751 by Architect Luigi Vanvitelli, succeeded by his son Carlo in 1773, and became a symbol of the new bourbon state and of its power as it was in its king’s will.
The imposing royal building is preceded by a square entitled to Charles III, delimited, east and west, by two buildings which resemble the colonnade of the Basilica of San Pietro. The royal apartments, preceded by an imposing colonnade with two aisles and a nave, are made up of an eighteenth-century part and a nineteenth-century one. To the Royal Palace also a Library belongs, which includes over 10,000 books of art, law, science and philosophy.
On permanent show, in an elliptic room next to the reading rooms, there is the royal Crib, made up of small statues by the masters of the Neapolitan crib art dating back to the Eighteenth century. From the Crib Room one can reach the part of the Royal Palace which is the richest in paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries.
The royal home also includes the Court theatre, the Opera Museum and the Palatine Chapel with one nave, with a semicircular apses and a lacunar barrel vault.
Closed on Tuesdays; December 25th; January 1st
Visiting Times for the Apartments: 8.30 a.m. – 7.30 p.m.; last entrance: 7.00 p.m.
Show Times: 9.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.; guided visit every hour
Park and Garden Times: opening 8.30 a.m.
The seat “Sedile Dominova” lies in the old town centre of Sorrento, in the corner that Via San Cesareo forms with Tasso Square and owes its name to the Latin locution “domus nova” (new house). The seat, in fact, was built in the 14th century by a group of nobles and represents the only evidence remaining in the Region Campania of the ancient noble seats, places dedicated to meetings and discussions of nobles, mainly during the Middle Ages.
Having a square plant culminating in an open loggia with arcades, the Sedile Dominova of Sorrento keeps inside its vault wonderful frescos on which there is the stem of Sorrento held by a group of angels. In the dome the heraldic signs of the noble families belonging to the seat are represented. The dome is made with majolica tiles in the shape of yellow and green fish scales.
At present the Sedile Dominova houses the Circolo Sorrentino (a Sorrento Club), after turning, because of the abolition of seats, into a prison at first, then into a guard-house for the urban militia and finally into a meeting place of the Circolo Sorrentino.
Together with Pompeii, Herculaneum is one of the main tourist attractions of archaeological and cultural interest in Campania.
Hardly damaged by the earthquake of 62 B.C., Herculaneum was, as well as Pompeii, completely destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D.
The solid layer which buried the town of Herculaneum was removed only in the 18th century when, after a few works, interesting finds of the Roman time were brought to light.
Just like Pompeii, the excavations of Herculaneum are a tourist destination for thousands of visitors who every year let themselves be enchanted by the magic of a great part of the underground town “resurfaced” almost completely.
Herculaneum excavations have brought to light only a part of the buried town, the closest to the sea. Part of the Forum, the necropolis and a lot of houses are still buried.
The itinerary of Herculaneum Excavations includes the visit to numerous houses, among the most interesting of which there are the House of Aristides and Argo, the House of the Genius, the House of the Skeleton, the House of the Hotel, the House of the Wooden Partition and so many more.
Of great interest is also the complex of the Central Spa Baths, an imposing building going back to the Augustan Age, made up of two separated parts, one for men and the other for women.
Worthy to be admired are also the Suburban Baths, the Pistrinum, the Palestra, the Forum and the Antiquarium.
Pompeii, situated at the feet of Vesuvius, on a plateau of volcanic formation, almost 30 metres above sea level, is not only one of the most famous archaeological centres in the world, because it keeps, in its excavations, traces of ancient civilizations like no other place, but it is also an important religious centre venerated and visited, every year, by thousands of tourists. The ancient Pompeii was probably founded by Oscans, and inhabited, then, by Etruskans, Greeks, Sannites and became a Roman colony in 91 B.C.
The town was completely destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius on August 24th, 79 A.D. Its rediscovery occurred thanks to the excavation work begun in 1748 by the King of Naples Charles the Bourbon. Excavations, finds and heated debates conditioned, in 1700, the flourishing of Neoclassical art. In an area which was, until a century ago, marshy, the inhabited centre was created; this developed especially thanks to the construction of the Sanctuary of Madonna del Rosario, in 1833, by Beato Bartolo Longo. The centre developed as an independent town on March 29th, 1928, including parts of the territories of Scafati, Boscoreale, Gragnano and Torre Annunziata. The latest expansions have determined the almost complete linking up of the centre with the neighbouring conglomerates of Scafati and Torre Annunziata. At present, the town extends on a territory of 12.4 sq. Km. with 25,745 inhabitants.
Its main resource is, above all, tourism, attracted by the famous Sanctuary and by the remarkable archaeological heritage, unique in the world, so that in 1997 the UNESCO declared Pompeii World Heritage of Mankind, considering, on the basis of cultural assumptions, that Pompeii, together with Herculaneum and other neighbouring towns, buried by the eruption of 79 A.D., are a complete and living testimony of society and daily life in a precise moment in the past, and do not find any equivalent in any other part of the world. Moreover, the town is well-known also for its artistic and craftsmanlike productions of which the numerous shops located along the roads are an evidence, and every year the Religious Handicraft Exhibition is held there. So, also in Pompeii it is possible to make various tourist, cultural and religious itineraries, with the possibility to stay comfortably thanks to the multiplicity of accommodation facilities, such as hotels, residences, bed and breakfasts and campsites. The most longed for destination is certainly that of Excavations, visited, on the basis of an estimate, in 2007, by 2,571,725 people. In the area of the Archaeological Excavations, a whole civilization, buried by the eruption of the neighbouring Vesuvius in the year 79 A.D., has been brought to light; it is the Roman civilization, with its usages and habits, that is possible to reconstruct thanks to the several monuments which were rediscovered after the excavation work. The Forum , where the most important public and religious buildings were, was the area around which life whirled , or the Basilica, the place appointed to the administration of justice, or the temples of Jupiter and Apollo, or the spa baths and the Macellum, a sort of market where any kind of good was sold.
To commerce the ancient Pompeians alternated idleness, by frequenting various entertainment places, like the Teatro Grande, with a seating capacity of almost 5,000 spectators, the Teatro Piccolo, with a terrace able to seat almost 1,000 people and the Amphitheatre, where almost 12,000 people were present at gladiators’ fights. Of the Pompeians’ refined taste for architecture and art various evidences remain, like the House of the Vettii, of Menandro, of the Fauno and the Villa dei Misteri, where interesting evidences of ancient pictorial decorations remain. In the last years it has been possible to make a night visit to the excavations, through an illuminated and multimedia itinerary. We start from the Suburban Spa Baths and go on along the tangle of houses, gardens, vegetable gardens, peristyles and alleys overlooking Via Marina, up to the inside of the temple of Apollo (info at 081 8575111).
Of great effect is also the Antiquarium, the museum which goes over the most important events of the history of Pompeii, destroyed by the bombings of 1943 and later rebuilt. In the pre-Samnite section the most ancient material of the Oscan- Campania civilization in the Sarno Valley is kept. Then, there are other sections dedicated to economic and commercial life of the ancient Pompeii, with a remarkable iconography and with remains of tools, work tools, workshop material and medical instruments (info. 081 8575111). Of great religious value and destination of flows of pilgrimages coming from all over the world is also the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Rosario, built in 1876 according to the future Beato Bartolo Longo’s will. The inside, Latin cross shaped, with a nave and two aisles risen above by a dome 57 metres high, is rich in frescos, mosaics and marbles. On the high altar there is the painting of the Madonna going back to 1600 and enclosed in a big bronze frame. For its size, the Sanctuary rises above the surrounding area and culminates with a statue of the Madonna del Rosario, derived from a unique Carrara marble block. The magnificent bell tower is 80 metres high and is endowed with a lift which can take people up to the top and allow them to admire the suggestive view of the Gulf of Naples. Pompeii is a town rich in traditions, and numerous are the shows which occur during the year, such as shows in the square, concerts and festivals. The most ancient tradition is surely the worship of the Madonna del Rosario, patron of the town and celebrated on May 8th , who every year attracts, to Pompeii and to the Sanctuary, millions of believers coming from all over the world.
How to reach Pompeii:
Distance from Sorrento: 28 km
By car/motorcycle: by going along the State Street 145 towards Naples and then the Highway A3 towards Naples, exit in Pompeii.
By train: by Circumvesuviana, line Sorrento- Naples, go off in Pompeii Villa dei Misteri.
Local police: tel.: 081 8506164
Taxi. Tel.. 081 8632686 – 081 5367852 – 081 8503199
Post offices: 32, Via Sacro Cuore – 3, Via Sacra – 1, Via Esedra.
Local Tourist Board: 1, Via Sacra, tel.: 081 8507255
A luxurious villa discovered during the archaeological excavations of Pompei, the house of Vetti, ascribed to the two freedmen Aulus Vettius Restitutus e Aulus Vettius Conviva, is famous for its numerous paintings on the walls. The villa still retains the ancient structure with two halls after the restoration made in the first century A.C and the restoration works of 62 A.C.
The first hall, in Tuscan style, was the patronal house while the second hosted the slavery.
Portrayed at the entrance is Priapo Itifallico, an emblem of well-being and fecundity, weighing his big phallus on a scale with a sack full of coins as the counterbalance .
Two safes covered with iron and decorated with bronze elements are found in a corner of the hall, while striking paintings on the walls portraying mythological scenes such as the fight of Amore and Pan in front of Dionisus and Arianna and the myth of Ciparisso. The hall of the slavery in the centre of tufa impluvium and a niched lararium with Corintium semi-columns which hold a triangular typanum , portraying a Genius guardian of the family in the looks of Nero, wearing a toga covering his head while toasting, with two dancing lares. The garden is surrounded by marble and bronze fountains, while the Peristilium is made up of eighteen columns.
On the left, in the entrance of the Peristilium, on the yellow walls there are revivals of the mythological episodes of Anfione and Zeto tieing Dirce to a bull, Penteo killed by Baccanti and Hercules as a child strangling the snakes.
The north-east wall shows a painting of Dedalus while giving Pasifae the wooden cow built in her honour. On the bottom wall is portrayed the myth of Issione condemned by Zeus to run in a wheel, tied with snakes. In the north of the peristilium there is the triclinium, the palace where parties and banquets where held, hosting the well-known pictorial complex of the villa representing the La cherubs and psycai busy in different activities.
In the shimmering water of the Gulf of Naples stands the most celebrated island since the times of the Roman Empire: the island of Capri. It is a mass of calcareous rock with a geographical extension of 10 square km, sitting only three nautical miles from Punta Campanella, the most extreme point of the Sorrentine Peninsula. It was initially connected to the peninsula when, submerged by sea, it separated from the mainland. It’s territory, with a particular morphologic structure and medium height peaks, consists of the town of Capri itself and the higher point of Anacapri.
Since ancient times the island has boasted a prosperous tourist tradition, and the two Roman emperors, Tiberius and Augustus, chose it as their holiday residence, enticed by its moderate climate and the breathtaking beauty of the landscape. Since the first century A.C. a lot of partisans, following the example of the emperors, spent their holidays in Capri. Over the centuries , the territory has become a place of inspiration and of relaxation for numerous artists, VIP’s and aristocratics, as well as poets, actors and musicians. Capri has become the second home for writers such as Norman Douglas, Massimo Gorkij, Jacques d’Adelsward Fersen, Curzio Malaparte, Oscar Wilde, Alessandro Dumas, and the great Swedish doctor Axel Munte among many others.
The beauty of Capri, just like the many legends associated to its name, and the fame that it has gained over the years, is determined by the various natural and monumental treasures that make it unique in its genre. Icons of Capri are the Faraglioni, the dramatic rocks that are silhouetted against the silvery water which are visible from various points of the coast, are an emblematic image of the island. These rocks moved away from the island due to sea erosion and they are a natural paradise for the small colony of blue lizards living on them. Another natural beauty associated with Capri, is the Blue Grotto (Blue Cave), where it is possible to admire a magnificent show of colours and lights. The structure of the cave itself is a natural wonder. One must enter by boat through a narrow entrance. Back on the Faraglioni, there is the Belvedere of Tragara, a wonderful panoramic point.
There are also many monuments and churches on Capri. In the town of Capri, the church was built in 1374 by Giacomo Arcucci, the secretary of Queen Giovanna I D’Angio. Inside you can see overlapping architectural styles which represent the continuous restorations, such as the one after the Otttoman invasions. The vaulted ceiling is typical of Medieval architecture just like the portal with bas-relief and the frescos dating back to 1300. The small cloister dates back to 4th century and still keeps Roman and Byzantine capitals, while the lager one was built in the following century. The refectory contains a museum devoted to Diefenbach with works by the German painter found in the Blue Grotto. Also worthy of mention is the Church of San Costanzo, in Byzantine style, in the neighbourhood of Marina Grande and dedicated to the patron saint of the island. In Anacapri, stands the church of St. Michele that is one of the finest examples of baroque architecture on the island. Outstanding is the majolica flooring, representing a scene of the earthly paradise. At the top of Mt. Tiberius, stands Villa Jovis or also called Tiberius Villa, with its Imperial loggia offering a magnificent view. No less spectacular is the ‘Palazzo a Mare’ with its Bagni di Tiberio, which is of great archaeological importance, and also was once the residence of the Emperor Augustus. Also in Anacapri it is possible to admire the Barbarossa Castle, owing its name to the pirate Kair-ed-Din who sacked the island in 1534.
Very particular is also is Pizzolungo, a rocky column in the sea which takes on a different shape depending on the angles from which one is looking at it. There is l’Eremo di Santa Maria di Cetrella, on the slopes of Mount Solaro, sheering on Marina Piccola facing Capri. On the south-western part of the island there is another panoramic viewpoint, Migliora, that overlooks the lighthouse area and has a spectacular view. Matermania is the hilly area between Mount Touro and Tiberus, on the east side of the island. At the end of Matermania street one can find a true natural treasure, a masterpiece of Mother Nature; the Natural Arch. It is a mighty rock arch based on a small pillar offering a spectacular view over the bay below. Capri also boasts traditional religious festivals that are organized with great precision and fervor. Among these, is the Procession of St Costanzo in honour of St Costanzo, patron Saint of the island, that is on the 14th of May every year.
Also the procession of St Antonio da Padova, patron Saint of Anacapri, celebrated on the 13th of June every year and the Settembrata Anacaprese, that is a competition among the four districts of the island (Le Boffe, La Porta, Le Stalle e La Pietra) organized by the local council. Capri also attracts tourists for its delicious cuisine, proposed by the different local chefs working in some of the most prestigious restaurants and hotels of the island. Well-known are also are the typical Capresi products: apart from the characteristic lemons and olive oil from the Sorrentine Peninsula, one can find the small bagel, in the shape of a plait. The Tarallino, it is called, comes made in different flavours: olive oil, tomato and oregano, parsley and garlic, marjoram, butter and sage, lard and pepper, almonds, sesame and peanuts.
How to get to Capri
Distance from Sorrento: 8 nautical miles
By sea: Embark at the port of Marina Piccola, or rent a pleasure craft.
Police: tel. 0818370167
Taxi: tel. 0818376657
Post offices: Via Roma, 50 Capri- Viale de Tommaso 8/a Anacapri
Azienda Autonoma di Soggiorno Cura e Turismo: Via P. Serafino Cimmino 1, tel. 0818370424
Via Marina Grande, tel. 0818370634 Piazza Umberto I 1, tel. 0818370686
Sorry, this entry is only available in Italiano.
A marittime republic in the 9th century, Amalfi was founded during the Roman era and is one of the most suggestive towns of the Amalfi Coast, and in 1997 was awarded the status of being a U.N.E.S.C.O World Heritage Site.
Like the other towns along the Amalfi Coast, Amalfi is an International tourist destination visited by thousands every year and enjoyed as a place to relax in its recuperative climate, but above all to enjoy and savour the natural beauty, the walks and the historical architecture.
One cannot forget mentioning the bounty of the local gastronomy of the towns along the Amalfi Coast and of the Sorrento Peninsula – and thanks to the many local, typical products, from both the land and sea, the local cuisine is renowned worldwide.Amongst the many splendours, one of the most celebrated in amalfi is the Cathedral, an impressive structure, predominantly baroque in style, and dedicated to the patron saint of Amalfi, Saint Andrew. The Church is actually the result of much restructuring and adding on of various architectural styles through the various ages. Of particular beauty is the bell-tower which was built in 1180 and restored in the 18th century.
The interior of the Cathedral has a basilica with transept and apse and the ancient columns are all clad in marble. In the naves are coffered ceilings whilst above the main alter is a canvas of the patron saint of Amalfi, the apostle Saint Andrew, who is also the protector of fishermen and sailors.The Church also has a modern wooden crucifix.
Rising again in 1266 and built as a cemetery for the illustrious citizens of Amalfi, the Paradise Cloister is adjacent to the Basilica of Assunta. Its interior had 6 frescoed chapels built in the 14th century and housed the sarcophagi of various illustrious citizens but of which only 5 remain. The Paradise Cloister is joined to the archiepiscopal home and has an enchanting floral garden surrounded by four Arabesque porticoes.
Besides having an important role to play in the dominance of the Mediterranean Sea, Amalfi is also noteworthy for its production of paper.
Brought in from the Arab countries, the techniques for producing paper represented an ancient tradition for the town. To relive and admire the production cycle of Amalfi paper, the Commander Nicola Milano, has made available to visitors an ancient paper mill that has been transformed into an interesting museum, where, besides the exhibition, it’s possible to follow the handmaking process and how the ancient mills functioned with the aid of the Canneto River.
A vacation in Amalfi also offers the possibilities of discovering the local enogastronomia and a relaxing stroll dedicated to shopping, thanks to the numerous shops along the road which leads from Piazza Flavio Gioia up to the Valley of the Mills. Or perhaps a stay dedicated purely to sea and sun as Amalfi offers splendid beaches made more appealing because of the crystalline waters that wash its shores.
On the farthest edge of the amazing Sorrento Peninsula, Massa Lubrense is plunged in a natural landscape of intense beauty.
The town includes different suburbs, all with a lively local life, a delicious gastronomy, breathtaking views and plenty of architectural beauties.
Part of Massa Lubrense municipality are the hamlets of Sant’Agata sui Due Golfi, Marina della Lobra, Termini, Marciano, Marina di Puolo e Monticchio.
Worth a visit the sanctuary of Santa Maria della Lobra, architectural symbol of the town, a huge religiuos building with three naves, transept, cupola and apse.
Adorning the octagonal paneled ceiling one can admire three important paintings: the first representing St.Antonio Abate receiving a lily form a young boy surronded by angels. The second devoted to the Holy Mary Assumption, below Her feet Marina di Lobra and some fishing boats, the third shows the consignement of rules of St Francis to St. Chiara.
Attached to the Sanctuary, also noteworthy, a convent built by Francescan Minor Friars in 1583.
Many are also the examples of natural beauties in Massa Lubrense, among the most famous the Bay of Ieranto and the marine park of Punta Campanella.
Well served by public transport from the Penisola of Sorrento and the Amalfi coast, Massa Lubrense is the ideal place for those who want to spend a relaxing holiday surronded by an untouched nature. Cristalline waters, naturalistic paths, excellent gastronomy, very good accommodation options and events of local folklore, such as the annual Lemon festival or the traditional procession of St Maria Assunta to the Vervece rock , making the place one of the most appreciated destinations in the Sorrentine penisula.
A tranquil, natural oasis where one can enjoy an atmosphere of relaxation and spectacular landscapes, Anacapri represents the other face of the Isle of Capri.
Far from the lights, the shop-windows and the energy of the well-known “piazzetta” of Capri, Anacapri offers its visitors an enchanting destination of charming artisan shops, fabulous restaurants and diverse walks where one can breathe in the beauty of its natural surroundings. In 3 minutes, by way of a chairlift, one can be on the top of Monte Solaro, immerged in Mediterranean flora and the perfume of pine wafting on gentle breezes, whilst losing oneself in one of the most breath-taking views.
Anacapri is the ideal location for a relaxina vacation: its guests have the opportunity to re-energise whilst enjoying the long and tranquil walks, visiting various historical residences such as Villa San Michele and the Damecuta ruins, or the many other splendours, amongst which is the Path of the Forts, a natural path with links ancient paths used by the farmers and hunters.
In Anacapri one finds the legendary Blue Grotto, famous the world over for the magical colour of the water inside the cave. It is only small boats, carrying but 3 people, which are able to enter the cave as the opening is only 1 metre high.