According to historians once Sorrento was an island called Eea and in Homer’s Odyssey, it was the place where the witch Circe and the sirens lived. Sorrento peninsula cannot have a real coastline because since Roman times all the coast was divided among the private villas of rich Romans. It is told that even the Emperors August Caesar and Nero had a villa here and Tiberius often came from Capri. Nowadays these villas have been transformed into de luxe hotels. In Sorrento the famous XVI century Italian writer Torquato Tasso was born and a square and a statue are dedicated to him. Among all his best works he wrote Gerusalemme Liberata. In the XVIII century the town was part of the Grand Tour, one of the places where international artists like Goethe, Ibsen, Nietsche found inspiration for their works.
Sorrento is built on a terrace of tuff stones, part of the chain of Mount Lattari, it goes vertically to the sea on the north side of the coast. Its coastline is divided into the peer area called Marina Piccola where hydrofoils leave and arrive daily, and Marina Grande, largely dedicated to private bathing establishments. Going further on the main road which are rich of olive trees we get to Massa Lubrense which is at the very end of Sorrento coastline, where the Amalfi coast begins at Punta Campanella.
The town centre is Piazza Sant’Antonino, where there is the XV century Santa Maria delle Grazie. It is possible to admire the majolica floor and the paintings dating back to the year 1500.
Sorrento is famous all over the world as one of the main tourist resort in the south of Italy. If you spend some days here you will have the opportunity to come across evidences of past arts: the renaissance Cathedral, founded in XI century and rebuilt in XV century. The townbell stands close to it but it has got Byzantine influences. Not too far there is the Sedil Dominova, a XIV square lodge with arches and the majolica dome dating back XVII century. The church of Saint Antonino was founded in XIV century; it is worth praise the entrance on the left side which repeats Byzantine elements. The church stands right opposite the statue of the town saint Patron behind which there is the ancient building where the local municipality has its offices. Along the main road not more than some metres there is the church dedicated to Saint Frances of Assisi where there is a nice Cloister dating back to XIV century with Arabian style arches. Close to the cloister there are the public gardens rich of luxurious vegetation and with a wonderful view on all the bay. Sorrento has also got the Correale Museum, created inside the villa belonging to the rich family of Correale di Terranova. In there it is possible to see classic and medieval works, paintings of the Neapolitan School and precious collections of minor arts dating XVII and XVIII centuries.
One of the main commercial activity in Sorrento is the inlaid wood work. It consists of paintings created with very thin pieces of wood, which are first shaped and then joined together like a puzzle. The paintings are flowers, musical instruments, Moorish and Greek themes, the local landscapes and not least the images connected to the Christian religion