The area’s name comes from an old mill used in ancient times to grind wheat and is standing 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, in which 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, the port of Sorrento is built, which today is called Marina Piccola.
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 these days.
The Mill remained in operation until the beginning of the 19thcentury. 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 in1940.
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
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 that 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
The mill building was purchased in 2012 by a company that began restoration work 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 to visit in Sorrento.
From Sorrento with Love