Massa Lubrense is located on the extreme tip of the Sorrento Peninsula, opposite to the island of Capri, overlooking both the Bays of Naples and Salerno. The territory extends over a large area and is composed of 18 villages, connected between each other by a network of well developed trails (about 100km), which offer the possibility of relaxing walks and excursions along scenic routes, away from noise and traffic.
According to the most accepted theory, the town’s name derives from the Lombard word “Mansa” (fertile terrain), to which was added the word “lubrensis” (from “delubrum”) or “pagan temple”. Here was built one of the most famous sites of the Antiquity, “Promontorium Minervae”, of which few traces remain as the Church of Our Lady of Lobra was built in its place.
Annexed to the Duchy of Sorrento, during the XVI century, under the Spanish Viceroy, it became necessary to built numerous towers to defend the population against Saracen incursions. With the Bourbons the town recorded a strong increase in agricultural, commercial and merchant activites, and during the French decade (1806-1815) it had a strategic role in the defense of the realm. In fact, in 1808, Joachim Murat embarked here his troops , directed to conquer Capri, then occupied by the British.
Besides a rich artistic heritage, Massa Lubrense boasts one of the World’s most beautiful natural and fascinating landscapes.
Sorrento is a popular tourist destination. Can be reached easily from Naples and Pompeii, as it lies at the south-eastern end of the Circumvesuviana rail line. The town overlooks the Gulf of Naples as the key place of the Sorrentine Peninsula, and many viewpoints allow sight of Naples, Vesuvius and the Isle of Capri.
The Amalfi Drive (connecting Sorrento and Amalfi) threads along the high cliffs above the sea.
Ferry boats and hydrofoils provide services to Naples, Amalfi, Positano, Capri and Ischia. Sorrento’s sea cliffs and luxury hotels have attracted notable people from all over the world.
Sorrento is famous for the production of limoncello, a liqueur made from lemon zest. Other agricultural production includes citrus fruit, nuts and olives. Wood craftsmanship is also developed.
Paestum is one of the most important archaeological sites in Italy. The Greek city of Poseidonia was founded here in the VII century B.C. and developed into a rich and flourishing centre of trade. You can visit the Temple of Poseidon, the Temple of Ceres, the so-called Basilica dating from the VI century B.C. (in actual fact a temple dedicated to the goddess Hera, the main divinity of Poseidonia), and the small museum housing the famous Tomb of the Diver.
Herculaneum, said to have been founded by Hercules, is a remarkably well-preserved Roman town. Built some time between 80 and 70 B.C., it was destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Unlike Pompeii, however, Herculaneum was not buried by lava and lapilli (burning fragments of pumice stone), but was submerged by thick mud which then solidified into soft tufa rock, thus preserving the many frescoes and artefacts you can still admire today. The town was discovered in 1709 and excavation work since has brought to light sumptuous villas, baths, theatres and even a villa thought to have belonged to the father-in-law of Julius Caesar, called Villa di Pisone (Villa dei Papiri). Much of the town is still buried and excavation work continues today.
A unique and very special city, famous the world over for its warm and friendly people. Naples is one of the oldest cities in Europe, founded in the VII century B.C. by the Greeks and later conquered by the Romans. From the XI century onwards it was ruled by the Normans, Swabians, Angevins, Aragonese, Spanish and the Bourbons. Each of these foreign dominations left their mark on the city’s art, architecture and culinary traditions. You can feel the history most of all in the old town, a Unesco World Heritage Site and a treasure trove of unparalleled wonders.
Mt Vesuvius is one of Naples’ most well-known landmarks, and one of the largest active volcanoes in the world. The mighty mountain standing forebodingly over the city and the bay is accessible by bus up to a height of 1,000 m. From there on the visit continues on foot with licensed guides to the edge of the crater.
Pompeii is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. Every year millions of visitors come to see the spectacular ruins of this ancient Roman town destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Excavation work only began in the XVIII century but since then has gradually brought to light the splendours of an ancient civilization, including magnificent frescoed villas and an imposing amphitheatre.
Caserta is known as the “Versailles of Naples” because of the fabulous royal palace built here by Charles of Bourbon in the XVIII century. The palace is one of the most sumptuous in Italy with 1,200 rooms full of rich furnishings, frescoes, fabrics and works of art. However, the real highlight of a visit here is the park, with its magnificent gardens flanking a 75-metre-long series of fountains and cascades.
Undeniably one of the world’s most beautiful islands and an internationally famous tourist resort. Summer retreat for the jet set, the island is awash with designer boutiques and picturepostcard views wherever you turn: lush Mediterranean vegetation with purple bougainvillea climbing over the whitewashed villas and the celebrated “Faraglioni” limestone stacks. Take a trip to the famous blue grotto, visit Villa San Michele in Anacapri, once the home of Axel Munthe, or stroll around the Giardini di Augusto (Gardens of Augustus) and the ruins of Villa Jovis, one-time residence of the emperor Tiberius.
The Amalfi Drive is one of the most spectacular coastal roads in Europe and passes through some absolutely stunning scenery. Starting from Sorrento, it winds its way along the cliff edge offering breathtaking views until it reaches Amalfi, one of the four Maritime Republics and birthplace of Flavio Gioia, inventor of the magnetic compass. In the centre of Amalfi stands the imposing IX-century cathedral with its famous striking façade decorated with gilded XIX-century mosaics. Amalfi is also close to Ravello, another delightful and well-known tourist town with two world-famous villas, Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone.