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.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Porta Marina Grande – the Greek Gate

Sorrento’s architectural gem


The oldest surviving example of Greek architecture in Sorrento is Porta Marina Grande, usually known as the Greek Gate, which has hardly changed since it was built there by the Greeks when they ruled Sorrento in the fourth century BC.

Sorrento's Greek Gate, built in the fourth century BC, is
also known as Porta Marina Grande
Originally, the gate would have been under a tower and when it was built it probably provided the only access to the city from the sea. Together with a gate built later at Marina Piccola, which no longer stands, it would have been the only outlet for trade with neighbouring cities before the Roman era.

The Greek Gate was incorporated into the 16th century walls built to protect Sorrento from pirates but, sadly, it was the way by which Turkish pirates entered the city on 13 June 1558 when, according to legend, the gate was opened to them by a slave working for the Correale family.

The gate was built in regular rows of blocks of stones and has two archways. You enter through the first and exit through the second archway to walk down the steps into Marina Grande.

The gate blends perfectly with the walls on either side of it and the traditional fishermen’s houses. When you emerge from the passageway into the sunshine you will have a stunning view of the sea and the beach of Marina Grande

The passage through the walls at the Greek Gate opens on to a view of fishing boats bobbing on the sea
The passage through the walls at the Greek Gate opens
on to a view of fishing boats bobbing on the sea
Somewhat confusingly, it is Marina Piccola - the 'small' marina - where large boats dock and hydrofoils from Naples, Ischia, Capri, Positano and Amalfi arrive and depart.

Marina Grande - the 'big' marina - has the feel of a small fishing village that has remained unspoilt over the years and is well worth a visit as there are plenty of restaurants that serve fresh fish.

When you reach the beach you will be greeted by the sight of brightly painted bathing huts along a platform over the sea and lines of small fishing boats and pleasure boats on the beach.

You may even see fishermen among them mending their nets as fishing by traditional methods is still an important part of Sorrento ’s economy.

There are also a few shops, bars and restaurants at Marina Grande but, despite receiving many visitors, there is a homely atmosphere where everyone knows everyone else because the same families have lived there for generations.

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