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- Grand Hotel Riviera
- via Califano 22
- Sorrento - Italia
- 39 081 807 20 11
- [email protected]
First class hotel. Incomparable position overlooking the sea with an enchanting view of the Gulf of Naples and Vesuvius - Lift to the private beach.
Although only 6 minutes walk from the main square and shops there is a feeling of calm and esclusion in this well managed hotel, set in a prime position directly above the sea. The Gran Hotel Riviera is unusually spacious and relaxing, with comfortable armchairs spaced throughout the large, cool lounge and inviting bar, opening onto an enormuos terrace where you can sit and watch spectacular sunsets over the island of Ischia across the bay. The secluded swimming pool also overlooks the sea and a lift takes you down to the hotel's bathing jetty where facilities are provided free of charge.
The rare beauty of the “Sorrentine Peninsula and Sorrento” with its cliffs and wonderful villages, brings to mind ancient memories that date back to Greek and Roman times. History has left deep marks on each shore, each promontory and each mountain of these sunny lands embraced by the Bays of Naples. Sorrento, a lively little town built on a tufa terrace facing the Vesuvius and plunged into an extraordinary bright blue sea, is the pearl of the Sorrentina coast. The colour of the tufa, a porous rock of volcanic origin, bind perfectly to the green countryside all around and the scent of the orange and lemon in which the little town is fully immersed creates its enchanting atmosphere.
The hypotheses advanced by scholars about the exact time and origin of the people who founded the city are still conflicting. It is very likely that Sorrento, around the 11th century BC. It was inhabited by indigenous peoples, perhaps the Ausoni, but between the eighth and seventh centuries it constituted, for the Greeks and the Etruscans, thanks to its strategic position between the gulfs of Salerno and Naples, an important base for commercial traffic in the lower Tyrrhenian Sea.
However, the character of the finds dating back to that period suggests that the Greek-Etruscan frequentation of the places was initially limited only to the commercial landing points; in fact, being in the middle of the route between Pontecagnano and Cuma. Sorrento and the peninsula were therefore equipped with the necessary support and support structures for ships. Sorrento would have acquired the structure of a real city only much later and that is during the domination of the Osci who endowed the city with a regular "checkerboard" layout and decreed its belonging to the Nocerina League together with Nocera, Herculaneum, Pompeii and Stabia.
The urban layout has substantially been preserved in the medieval and modern plan. The urban layout applied is of the so-called Hippodamian type, with hinges and decumans that intersect at right angles within a rectangular perimeter.The narrow via S. Cesareo-Fuoro, which crosses the entire city straight from east to west and which joined the two now disappeared gates of Piano and Massa represents the Decumanus Maximus. The Cardo maximus crosses it in the middle of Via Tasso, which descends from the Sovradonno or Parsano gate to the Prospectus and overlooks the sea near the birthplace of the poet Torquato Tasso. of their narrow and shady depth in two orders in an intersection of parallel streets, they cut the plain of Sorrento like a chessboard.
In the extreme western part of the city, at the intersection of the two main streets, the Forum stood as evidenced by some excavations and the place still retains its name. Between the 1st and 3rd centuries BC during the imperial era, the city began to be occupied by large villas that the wealthy Romans had built in the most enchanting places on the coast. They were generally large coastal villas with private landings and fish ponds.
Unfortunately, we do not know the precise location or their extent, but there are sources and archaeological finds preserved in the Correale Museum that provide us with some more accurate information. The choice of Sorrento as the ideal place for the construction of the villas was favored, both by the beauty of the places, and by the period of peace (the pax augustea) of the Roman Empire. However, villas also arose within the city that generally occupied more than one insula of the ancient layout and this involved partial alterations of the symmetry of the same.
In 1818 the Cesarano bridge was built and the convent of S. Antonino was repaired to use it as a municipal house. In 1834 the Panoramica Sorrento-Castellammare state road was completed and Meta in a single municipality called Sorrento. The Sorrento Peninsula in recent years has grown a lot and has made great progress and has undergone great transformations all aimed at offering more and more comfort but always keeping intact its charm and its breathtaking views.
The Greeks or Osci encircled the city with walls whose course was interrupted by at least five gates, two of which facing the sea and one on each side facing the land. west and north-east of the inhabited center) opened in correspondence of two stepped paths in direct and immediate relationship with the marinas and therefore this suggests that trade flows, in pre-Roman and Roman times, were entrusted exclusively to the sea. It was with the Romans that the road was built which, following the coast lines of the peninsula, connected Sorrento with Stabia and with Capo Ateneo.
Here the Greeks built a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena then consecrated by the Romans to Minerva. It was also a landing place for the island of Capri. The Roman road was perfectly inserted into the decumanus maximus by means of two gates located at the opposite ends of the decumanus itself (Porta Minerva to the west and Porta del Piano to the east) today unfortunately destroyed. remains of the bridge that spanned the deep ravine that delimits this side of the town. Two pillars of it have been preserved with the attachment of the arch; the pylons about ten meters high and set on the rock, are in cement conglomerate with a reticulated opus facing and tuff blocks; the span of the arch is about five meters.
The work dates back to the type of construction technique in the Augustan age. The wooden bridge connected to the Massa gate rested on the brick bridge. Of the Porta del Piano, located to the east of the decumano maximus, there are only a few illustrations by Giacinto Gigante preserved in the Capodimonte Museum since the ancient gate was destroyed in 1866 to expand Piazza Tasso and build the main street parallel to the decumanus major. The Porta del Piano or di Stabia rose at the entrance to the city and overlooked the moat to the east also crossed by a bridge now walled up.
Until 1866 on the Porta del Piano there was also the statue of S. Antonino, the patron saint venerated in Sorrento, later moved to the center of Piazza Tasso. Incorporated into the walls to "guard the city and the gate" there was also a castle built in 1272 several times destroyed and rebuilt over the centuries. The door that gives access to the Marina Grande, as in ancient times to the port, is undoubtedly ancient despite the various renovations it has undergone. Built in square work with limestone blocks arranged alternately at the head and edge, it follows the curvilinear course of the climb, cut at the foot of the cliff, thus resulting in a pentagonal space, perhaps covered by an irregular vault.
In the absence of excavations, it is difficult to establish a chronology; the most likely proposal seems to be that of a dating within the fourth or third century BC. The door of the Marina Grande still arouses unpleasant memories for the Sorrentines today as it is from this door that on June 13, 1558 the Saracen pirates entered who sacked and devastated the city. The door of the Marina Piccola is located at the end of a short ramp that borders the side of the ravine and flanks the ancient church of S. Antonino.
On the southern side we can see the Porta di Sovradonno or Parsano which connected the city with the farmhouses in the hills and is located at the end of the cardo maximus. This side was also protected by a moat which joined, on the western side, with that of the Porta di Massa This door was widely used in the Roman period as it was the access to the countryside and to the rustic domus. The interests towards the hinterland must have been rather scarce, in the following period and up to the viceregal era, since the door fell into disuse and was reduced to a simple passage.
It was reopened only in the eighteenth century and called "Porta di Parsano Nuovo". Today the Porta di Parsano Nuovo has been renovated and excavations have been carried out at its base, thanks to which it is possible to see the ancient Greek-Oscan foundation placed under the road level. The walls that ran along the east, south and west sides, leaving open (but not defenseless) the north side facing the sea, the city touched, as it still does today, the highest points of the precipices; that is, it stood sheer above the moats.
Here and there are still found in its foundations square blocks of the ancient plant. The perimeter of the walls was about 1600 meters and surrounded the flat area of the city which was 29 hectares; about half of the Pompeii area. With the passing of the centuries the design changed, but not the layout of the curtains and, only towards the middle of the fifteenth century, the curtains, no longer resisting the impact of heavy attacks, collapsed ruinously.
The factory remained in ruins for many years until, between 1558 and 1567, the reconstruction work began (i.e. immediately after the terrible Turkish invasion.) We know from some documents that already in 1532 the viceroy Pedro Alvarez De Toledo had established that the burden for the construction of the fortified walls fell to the city which necessarily had to provide itself with a defense "in proportion to the greater danger that the coastal ones ran".
The old and weak walls were demolished and the ramparts were built. The ramparts were more effective at a defensive level as there was a mass of earth within the walls of the ramparts, placed at the corners of the enclosure; in addition, the pentagonal bastions had a salient angle towards the countryside.
Today what remains of the fortification is the long section of southern masonry including the Porta di Parsano with its ramparts and the final stretch towards the sea to the west called the Manganella. This section of masonry is lower as it is located on the cliff and therefore “safe from any climb” and ends with the Porta della Marina Grande. The two bastions are still visible on this stretch too.