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Sorrento – Off the Wall

Often our daily routine hides the treasures which lie before us.  It happens even in Italy where off the beaten path structures lead to another time, as it does for me in Sorrento.  I steer clear of the tourist-trodden center of Piazza Tasso as the usual walk from my apartment in the hills leads me to my daily routine, gym, shopping, bar, repeat.  Yet, what lies at my feet and Bastione di Parsanoalong my path are structures which shielded Sorrento some 500+ years ago, when Sorrento was a walled city.  All that remains today is the fortified edifice along Via degli Aranci where ordinary blends with antiquity.

The ancient wall runs almost parallel to the tourist friendly shopping street of Corso Italia and today its only invaders are giant tour buses.  Back in medieval times they used these walls to protect Sorrento from invaders and the sea.  I understand the desire to shield such a verdant treasure from the outside world.

Head off the beaten path in Sorrento and visit the archaeological treasure along Via degli Aranci.  Head south on the Corso away from Piazza Tasso and just past the Cathedral, take your first left up a tiny alley, Via Sersale.  At the top you can sit and enjoy a cappuccino in Park Ibsen as the wall of tourists lines up along the gate of Porta Parsano.  It is also possible to visit the Il Bastione di Parsano as they have excavated sufficiently to create a visitors’ area which is free and open daily (the entrance is on Via Sersale).


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