Sorrento is a beautiful town perched on a cliff high above the sea with views of Vesuvius and the islands in the Bay of Naples . Use this website to help you plan a visit to this elegant southern Italian resort and find your way to the best beaches and some lovely villages and towns along the Sorrentine peninsula that are perhaps less well known to tourists.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Visit Villa Pollio and enjoy the views

Looking towards Sorrento from Punta del Capo
To see stunning views in different directions across the Bay of Naples visit the point of land protruding from the Sorrento peninsula known as Punta del Capo.
Many wealthy Romans built holiday villas on the panoramic points along the Sorrento coast and so it is not surprising that there are the extensive remains of a first century Roman villa on Punta del Capo.
You can explore the ruins at any time of the day free of charge and you will also find that it is good spot for photography.
It is well worth taking pictures of your family or holiday companions with the unique backdrop of the sweeping view over the Bay of Naples.

How to get to Villa Pollio

Leave Sorrento along Via del Capo in the direction of Massa Lubrense. You could walk, taking in the view over Marina Grande along the way, but it is uphill and can be hard work in hot weather. Or you could take the Linea A (Line A) orange bus to Capo di Sorrento from Piazza Tasso, which takes about ten minutes.
Get off at the small hamlet of Capo di Sorrento, where there are a few shops and a bar.
Il Bagno della Regina Giovanna
You will see a signpost pointing to i ruderi romani (Roman ruins). It is a pleasant walk down to the sea along Via Punta Capo past the church of San Rosario.
You will come first to a natural triangular pool with an archway of rock over it which is known as il Bagno della Regina Giovanna (Queen Joan’s bath). The clear shimmering water in the pool attracts swimmers and snorkellers in the summer.
On the tip of Punta del Capo are the ruins of a large Roman villa which would once have had grand rooms from which the panoramic views of the bay could be enjoyed. The villa would also have had access from the sea for visitors arriving by boat.

Who built Villa Pollio?

Many people believe that the villa was built by wealthy Roman citizen Pollio Felice and that the ruins are of the magnificent holiday home described in the writings of both Horace and the poet Stazio. Pollio Felice was a learned historian, orator and poet who founded a library in Rome and was the protector of Virgil and Horace.
The villa ruins from the sea
Queen Joan’s bath may have once been the swimming pool for the villa and it is thought there were also some beautiful gardens and a vineyard.
Another school of thought is that the villa referred to by Horace and Stazio was actually located at nearby Marina di Puolo, a small beach further along the coast, and that the extensive buildings on Punta del Capo belonged to someone else.

The infamous Queen Joan

The beautiful natural pool may have acquired its name because a 14th century Queen of Naples named Giovanna (Joan) was known to have frequented the spot with her ladies in waiting for bathing. Giovanna was famous both for her beauty and her cruelty towards her subjects and it is believed she came to a violent end, strangled by her nephew.


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