The Valley of the Mills in Sorrento Italy


The area’s name comes from an old mill used in ancient times to grind wheat. It stands behind Piazza Tasso, where two rivers cut down the Valley: Casarlano and St. Antonino.

The beginnings of the Valley date back 35,000 years. It was formed after the violent eruption of Campi Flegrei, which covered the area with debris, and spring streams carved their way, cutting a narrow gorge into the sea. At the bottom of this Valley was built a mill that operated in the stream’s waters to grind the local people’s grain. The Mill also fed a sawmill, where local artisans processed timber from cherry, olive, and walnut wood. In addition, there was a fountain where the women were gathering; this fountain was used not only for washing but also as a no-go place for exchanging information (gossiping).

The Valley of the Mills in Sorrento,


The canyon ends where the two rivers flow into the sea, and the port of Sorrento, called Marina Piccola, is built today.


It has also used this same place to extract dip, an excellent building stone used to build many of the houses and streets in the Sorrentino Peninsula that still exist today.

The Mill remained in operation until the beginning of the 19th century. In1866, Piazza (Square)Tasso was built, filling the part of the Valley leading to the port, so the Mill remained isolated. The building was closed and abandoned in 1940.


Due to the filling of part of the Valley, the increase in humidity and lack of wind makes any form of human residence impossible, allowing a rare variety of ferns and shrubs with capers to grow and take over the buildings. The result is a unique and mysterious scenario in one of the most photographed abandoned places in the world.


The Mill before the restoration

Photos: source Internet 

foto source Internet


Photos: source Internet


As Tasso Square rises, the Valley remains isolated, and all communication roads are closed. On the way to the port, there is only one iron gate left, which leads to a tunnel you can reach, but unfortunately, the land in the Valley is private property, and access to it is restricted.


Photo by Sommer Giorgio 1834-1914 N.1153 Vallate di Sorrento Napoli
Photo by Sommer Giorgio 1834-1914 N.1153 Vallate di Sorrento Napoli


The mill building was purchased in 2012 by a company that began restoration work but was soon blocked by the municipality. Currently, the landscape of one of Sorrento’s most famous landmarks has been completely changed. There are mixed feelings among residents about the restoration of this site: some disagree, while others fully support the mill restoration project. In their opinion, this will open up another tourist site in Sorrento.

From Sorrento with Love



Svetlana Hristova

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