Valle dei Mulini, Sorrento

Historic Site in Sorrento

Valle Dei Mulini (Sorrento)
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Mentnafunangann

The “Valle dei Mulini,” or “Valley of Mills,” is a verdant enclave of modern ruins nestled at the bottom of a deep crevasse in Sorrento, Italy. This lush valley, once bustling with activity, is now a serene and picturesque site overgrown with exotic vegetation and rare ferns. Some 35,000 years ago, a volcanic eruption in the area now known as Sorrento carved a deep gorge through the limestone, forming the present-day city center. Over time, waters flowing through the canyon created fast-running channels leading to the sea. These channels became the site of various settlements, with caves in the area preserving historical remnants of these early inhabitants.

The caves in the gorge are shrouded in mystery and legend. Many locals believed that a massive, armed medieval figure patrolled the gorge at night, tasked with killing anyone who did not know the magic words to unlock the treasure hidden within the caves.

While the legend of the ghost remains just that, there was indeed treasure of a different kind. In 1885, Leonardo Lorenzoni, director of the Technical School of Vigiano, discovered several rare and precious artifacts from early settlers. He donated these finds to Professor Justinian Nicolucci of the University of Naples, leading to the naming of the artifact-rich cave as “Nicolucci’s Cave.”

A good view of the mills can be had from behind Tasso Square. Two streams, the Casariano-Cesarano and Saint Antonino, converge at the location where the mills were constructed. These mills, dating back to the 10th century, included a grain mill, a sawmill, and an old washhouse.

The construction of Tasso Square in 1866 isolated the mills from the sea, leading to their eventual abandonment. Over time, the gorge was reclaimed by exotic vegetation and rare ferns, transforming it into a lush, green space filled with historical intrigue and natural beauty.

The Valle dei Mulini, Sorrento appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Sorrento!

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Visiting Valle dei Mulini, Sorrento

Address: Vallone dei Mulini, Sorrento, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy
Duration: 20 minutes

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