Sorrento | Italy
The earliest evidence of human settlement in the Sorrento Peninsula indicates Greek and Phoenician activity, however, this fertile land was soon taken over as a Roman colony, until the final collapse of the Empire. In the Middle Ages (c. 9th century AD), Sorrento managed to release herself from outside control, including Naples, and thus the Duchy of Sorrento was born. The Duchy of Sorrento covered the whole of the peninsula, and was soon to become a prosperous economy based on ship chandlery, and the sale and production of citrus fruits and wine. The Duchy later (1100) relinquished its independence to become a protectorate of Normandy, with the advantage of receiving protection against attacks from pirates and the Lombards. 1544 is an important date in Italian and European culture, for it is the year that the poet Torquato Tasso, was born in Sorrento, renowned author of "Jerusalem Delivered" and other poems. In 1558 Sorrento underwent a violent invasion by the Turks. The town was sacked and the population suffered severe losses.
At around the start of the 18th century, after a period of bitter struggles between the peasant population and rich landowners, Sorrento began to emerge as a popular tourist resort, much loved by visitors from all over the world for its mild climate and flourishing countryside. By 1800, Sorrento's economy was based primarily on tourism and the wood inlay industry, which gradually took over from the production of silk textiles. Over the years Sorrento has been the favourite destination of such luminaries of European culture as Lord Byron, Keats, Goethe, Dickens, Wagner, Ibsen and Nietzsche. At the start of the 20th century, agriculture was given a second wind, thanks to intensive cultivation of citrus fruits, which were exported throughout the Italian peninsula and overseas.
In Sorrento an aperitif in Piazza Tasso in the heart of the town is a must, followed by a romantic dinner of one of the local specialties in one of the many Sorrento restaurants, to the soothing tones of live traditional music. After dinner and a glass of limoncello, take a walk around the stores in Via San Cesareo, which are open late. After that, there are numerous possibilities to continue the evening, from elegant wine bars with lounge music, glamorous nightspots popular with celebrities, and classical music concerts in the charming Cloisters of Saint Francis.
Museum Correale di Terranova an ancient aristocratic villa, surrounded by a citrus grove; built over 3 storeys, with 24 rooms containing artistic masterpieces and unique exhibits, a breathtaking belvedere over the bay of Naples.
This is the finest provincial museum in the whole of Italy.
Museum - Workshop of Wooden Intarsia. In a splendid VIII c. palace there is a historic collection of XIX c. furniture and objects that sheds light on the technique of inlay and in particular the uniqueness of Sorrento intarsia, through an unusual and educational exhibition layout.
Rites of the Holy Week: "White procession", at dawn Good Friday, "Black procession" in the evening of Good Friday.
"Sorrento Musical Meetings" September - October.
Meetings with music in a town that has a strong and well-established musical tradition. The "Sorrento Summer of Music" Festival takes place every year in the cloisters of the monastery of Saint Francis in Sorrento, and its honorary President is the famous cellist Uto Ughi. Against the attractive backdrop of the Saint Francis cloisters, great names from the international music scene perform alongside emerging talent throughout the summer. Plenty of classical music and chamber music, but also jazz and other genres.
Festival of Santa Maria del Soccorso, August 15th procession with amazing fireworks from the sea.