Gragnano, in the Province of Naples, rises at the foot of the Lattari Mountains. Its ancient origins are confirmed by the archaeological sites spread across the area, such as the necropolis from the archaic age (locality of Madonna delle Grazie).
Gragnano is an excellent starting point for walks and excursions. Valle dei Mulini, for example, offers grottos, ravines and the "Forma" water springs.
It is famous all around the world for the production of pasta, the well-known "maccheroni", the excellent wine (Gragnano DOC) and the dairy products, as for example the typical "Provolone del Monaco" cheese.
Massa Lubrense is located in the final part of the Sorrentine Peninsula; Roman noblemen spent here their holidays in the past. Its name is derived from the Lombard word "mansa", which defined a territorial unit, with the adjective "lubrense" related to the Church of Madonna della Lobra, so named because it was built upon a preexisting pagan temple (delubrum, in latin).
This town is less known than the other locations of the Sorrentine Peninsula and it is not directly invested by the tourist flows; in fact it is possible to find here tastes and awesomeness disappeared somewhere else.
Marina della Lobra is a seafaring suburb with the houses built in front of the seashore and of the harbour. Its names derives from the Church of Madonna della Lobra (Our Lady of the Lobra).
In front of the beach there is the reef of Vervece, where it is celebrated an Holy Mass every year, on the second Sunday of September, in order to honour Our Lady's bronze statue, that is placed to a depth of 15 metres.
Nearby there are many other charming locations, such as Termini, Nerano, a suburb with houses and pergolas sloped down to the sea, and Marina del Cantone.
META DI SORRENTO
Meta is a nice holiday town of the Sorrentine Peninsula; its name derives from the fact that the Roman road that started at Vico Equense, reached its destination (or meta) here; perched on short slope which descends to lap the sea, Meta is a renowned tourist and swimming center, thanks to the lovely beaches of Alimuri and Marina.
The beautiful old houses and the steep streets in the old town center are dominated by the church of Madonna del Lauro, built, according to tradition, on a former site of an ancient temple of Minerva: with its neo-classic façade, this church was subjected to further modifications during the 18th and the 19th century.
PIANO DI SORRENTO
Piano di Sorrento is a tourist center of the Sorrentine Peninsula; it is a natural terrace of tuff rock and its name derives from the Latin word "Planities", due to its level territory. It occupies the central area of the Sorrentine Peninsula and each year attracts thousands of tourists who come to view its environmental and architectural wonders and experience the excellent cuisine.
Not to be missed is Villa De Sangro di Fondi, national monuments and wonderful example of neo-classic architecture, is situated in a very suggestive natural park, on a tuff crag giving a breathtaking view of the Gulf of Naples and now it is site of the Georges Vallet Archaeological Museum of the Sorrento Peninsula, that holds documents and finds from the most recent excavations, reconstructing the history of the Sorrento Peninsula from prehistory to the Roman era.
St. Michael Basilica was built, according to tradition, on a former site of an ancient pagan temple and now houses works by Girolamo Imparato and Francesco Solimena, in addition to four marble statues of angels, probably made by artists of Bernini's famous school.
Sant'Agnello is located between Piano and Sorrento, on a tuff rock, with wonderful terraces overlooking both the Gulf of Naples and the Gulf of Salerno. Its name derives from the patron saint of this town, venerated in the beautiful Baroque church of the same name, flanked by an imposing bell tower and both preceded by a flight of stairs. Streets run from the piazza of the church, in the old town centre, to hills (Trasaella and Colli di Fontanelle) that are still luxuriantly green and towards the area of the Marina (Cappuccini) dotted with seaside villas and hotels.
The loveliest point of the Marina of Sant'Agnello is the Marinella beach, once a Roman landing point, located at the bottom of ravine carved in the tuff with a terrace above.
Not to be missed are Villa Crawford, belonged to the American writer Francis Marion Crawford, and the Cappuccini Church with Convent, both built on 1586.
Sorrento is the most popular tourist destination of the Sorrentine Peninsula; its name probably derives from "Syrenusion" or "Syreon" (Sirens), the legendary aquatic creatures half-human and half-fish that used to bewitch sailors with their voice. During the Roman period it became a holiday resort for noble men and patricians; in the XVIII century it was included among the stops of the Grand Tour.
The famous Italian poet Torquato Tasso, author of "Gerusalemme Liberata", was born here.
The Cathedral, in Romanesque style, dates back to the XV century; the wooden inlaid choir is a work by craftsmen from Sorrento dating back to the beginning of the twentieth century.
The Museum Correale, this valuable bulwark of Sorrento art and culture, has often been defined "the most beautiful province museum of Italy". The Museum keeps one of the most beautiful collections of Neapolitan painters dating from the seventeenth and eighteenth century, some works of the famous "School of Posillipo" and by some masters of the Flemish and French schools dating from the same period. It contains valuable Capodimonte and Sévres ceramics, Murano glassware, Bohemia crystals and a collection of watches. The archaeological collection is very interesting as well.
To the north-west on the Capo di Sorrento there is a villa, the so-called "Bagni della Regina Giovanna", with baths, and in the bay to the south-west was the villa of Pollius Felix.
Vico Equense is known all over the world for its thermal baths and for "pizzaby the meter"; its name derives from "vici" (small villages on the main roads) and then became Vicus Aequensis from the name of the main village, called Borgo dei Cavalieri.
The ancient Roman village, which grew up on a rocky spur, over the centuries became an elegant medieval city (some ancient remains of the old doorways of the houses remain), with a beautiful Gothic cathedral (14th c., the only Gothic church in the whole of the Sorrentina Peninsula) with the churchyard dropping sheer into the sea. Not to be missed are Giusso castle, founded by the Angevins and restructured at various different tomes between the 1600's and 1800's, the interesting Museo Mineralogico Campano which holds almost 5000 fossils and minerals from all over the world and the Church of Saint Ciro and Giovanni, the patrons of the town, in a late-Baroque style.