Land of colours, mysteries, traditions and legends, Sorrento, since always, charms, amazes and inspires you to return. It may have been the Sirens, according to the Greeks, who living in our sea bequeathed to this peninsula, lying in its seawaters, the capability to enchant with their charm. Maybe even today, with their singing, the Sirens bewitch visitors from all over the world making them fall in love and persuading them to return.
Many civilizations have “lived” Sorrento: the Etruscans and the Greeks who have consigned to the city the urban map still visible today in the historic centre; the Oscans and the Romans who were conquered by the charm and climate of this land, built here the most beautiful villas of the empire. Also Bizantines, the Longobards, the Normans and the Aragons; each one has left his mark, a part of himself, which Sorrento has jealously guarded for centuries, handing it over to us, who have today, the privilege of admiring it. They are the remains of the antique walls and of a temple that the Greeks had dedicated to the Goddess Atena on the promontory of Campanella; the antique Roman villas with fish ponds, nymphs, artificial wharfs outstretched almost as if to embrace the sea. Then the arches and the caves dug in the tuff, the roads which preserve the typical Greek and Roman paving which time has consigned to us almost unaltered. On June 13, 1558 it was attacked by Muslim pirates, after which a new line of walls was built for further protection. In the following centuries its importance rose both in trade and tourism. In 1861 the Kingdom of Naples was annexed to the new Kingdom of Italy. Throughout the 19th and 20th century its luxurious hotels and villas made Sorrento one of the most renowned tourist destinations in Europe.
Along these roads, through the alleys, the arches, the small flights of steps that from the sea climb between the tuff rocks to reach the centre, you breathe an atmosphere of “lived”, of “past history”; as you try to imagine all the different people who have lived it and you recognize the imprint that each one has left for us.
Between the monuments and the antique villas, we can discover the testimonies of famous hosts, who between 1700 and 1800 chose this place as source of inspiration inserting it in the “Grand Tour”, that journey across the most significant Italian cities that each European noble offspring effected to complete his personal culture.
Byron, Keats, Scott, Dickens, Goethe, Wagner, Ibsen and Nietzsche are only some of the artists who have left an indelible mark in Sorrento drawing inspiration for their works from this small peninsula full of history and magic, temple of traditions, myths and long-ago legends, cradle of antique treasures and splendid Sirens.
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