Sorrento, Italy is a beautiful city draped over a mountain facing the bay of Naples. The history of Sorrento is somewhat obscure because its origin is somewhere in the distant past. The historian Diodoro Siculo claims that the city was founded by Liparos, son of Ulysses and Circe, the witch. So now it has acquired the quality of a fascinating myth. According to this view this city in those days worshiped the Sirens and even now the only temple of Sirens is situated in this city.
It is even said that the name of the city is derived from the word "Sirentum" meaning "Land of Sirens". However, there is another view that the name of the city is derived from the word "Surreo" meaning "to flow together". This idea is inspired by the presence of several rivers in the city flowing to join the same sea, the Tyrrhenian Sea.
But history further bears witness to the fact that the Greek occupation soon gave way to Roman invasion and the city of Sorrento was made a part of the Western Roman Empire till the fall of the said empire in the 6th century A.D. After that, it was the era of Byzantine Empire in Sorrento till the 9th century A.D.
In 1000A.D. Sorrento’s struggle for freedom found success. They succeeded in overcoming the Saracen Empire and established their own government for the first time, the Duchy of Sorrento. The city was ruled by Sergio I followed by his son Sergio II. This rule lasted for about a century before it was once again fell under Roger the Norman in 1133.
It was an archiepiscopal site from 420 A.D and it was assigned to religious fraternities in the 14th century A.D. 16th century is demarcated as an important landmark in the history of Sorrento. It was attacked from the sea. There exists a controversy among the historians as to the source of these attacks and sackings. Some are of opinion that it was attacked by pirates and others say that the siege was conducted by the navy of Sultan Suleiman.
But the truth remains that the city of Sorrento was attacked and plundered at this time and there arose a need for fortification of the city. The occupants of the city erected high walls and towers to fortify the city from the attackers from the sea. These structures are preserved in Sorrento till date.
1648 again the city suffered great uprisings and revolts against the Spanish supremacy. 1656 is a dark age in the Sorrento history because it was darkened by the occurrence of plague in the city.
Toward the end of the 18th century they joined the Parthenopean Republic and engaged themselves in various skirmishes led by it. Then Sorrento city came under the kingdom of Two Sicilies. This was an age of great development in the land.
In 1861 the city of Sorrento was incorporated into the kingdom of Italy. Thereafter, it began to be considered as a tourist attraction. Many of the European rulers and celebrities visited Sorrento for pleasure. It was considered to be a "serena stazione de soggiorno" (peaceful holiday resort).
The rich cultural heritage and its exquisite natural beauty make the City of Sorrento one of the most favored tourist destinations. The history of Sorrento made special by the most spectacular array of foreign invasions and occupations.
Sorrento Music Boxes - handcrafted gifts from Italian masters.
by Marina Chernyak
H: 2.75" W: 4.5" L: 8.5"
H: 2.5" W: 4.25" L: 4.75"