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The Bagni of Regina Giovanna

On the outskirts of Sorrento's walls, it is possible to rediscover historic memories, archaeological finds and the clear uncontaminated beauty that is a mysterious mythological earth legend. One of the places rich in magical stories and soaked with fascination of another time unlike any other is ‘The Bagni of Regina Giovanna'. From the head of Sorrento there is a narrow road with walls covered in ivy, go along the path in the shade of the of grapevines and orange trees you approach a slope which goes down towards the sea, reaching the baths of Queen Giovanna. The eyes of the visitor are presented with a spectacle of exceptional beauty: A large natural basin connected to the sea by a narrow fissure in the rocks. The space infront of the headland is occupied by the ruins of a majestic Roman Villa, built at the time of the Emperor Domiziano (81 - 96 AD) and belonged to Pollio Felice. The spectacle offered is splendid and it is possible to see the entire coast from Punta Scutolo to the other Roman Villa at the top of Massa Lubrense. If you continue to look you can see La Solara, an expanse of cliffs kissed by the sun in a blue sea, an uncontaminated environment. It is possible to enjoy an unforgettable rest. On the cliffs that define the basin of Queen Giovanna, you can admire the ruins of the majestic roman construction, furnished with landing points, terraces and cisterns ascribed by the Latin poet Stazio and the historic Pollio Felice. Adjacent to this villa is the outline of a natural swimming pool, which you approach through a natural arch. Ex Roman nymphaeum (Baths of Diana).
According to the legend it was here that they frequently came away from indiscreet eyes. Giovanna II D'Angio Durazzo, Hungarian by birth, lived from 1371 to 1435, one of the most scandalous sovereigns to ever sit on the throne of Naples. These ruins are one of the most charming features of the Sorrento Peninsula, uncovered in 1624 by Giovanni Vinaccia, they are what remains of the splendid villa built by Pollio Fellice. A partially uncovered underground conduit links the annexe with the villa rising above. No other villa of this period has been described in such detail as this of Pollio Felice in Sorrento; which we can find in verses sung by Stazio. Like the other maritime Roman villas, the villa of Pollio Felice has a landing place by the sea. The fishermen brought up fish for the banquets and a nymphaeum, drawn from the sheet of internal water, communicating with the open sea through the fissure in the rocks. How grand were parts of this noble villa. The villa of Pollio Felice was immense with pavilions sunk into the gardens, thermal baths, rustic pavilions for the production of oil and wine. A deep cistern fed the fountains in the park through a siphon. The system Domus; the principle entrance to the villa was a complex of monumental structures, long and sinuous steps permitted you to reach the various seashore landings. From the top of the villa there is a long passage above the rocks which passes a bathing place on the side of the cliffs outside the top of Sorrento, between these rocks it is possible to bathe in the clear crystal water. The sheet of water closes in the arch of the Bagno della Regina Giovanna, and divides the point of the headland from the ground. A path winds round the sidewall of the natural basin and unites the extremities of the Punta del Capo di Sorrento - similar to an island - the territory. On the headland lie the ruins of the ancient Roman villa; the sea almost seems to watch. When the day declines in silence and the clouds are still in the sky, fix your eye on the small movement of a wave, you can imagine... a Greek ship ploughing through the seas, gladdened by the song of the Sirens and a fissure of light reveals through the Roman lattice work the Angovin profile of Giovanna II D'Angiò. The magic gone, leaving the intense perfume of the broom bush which colours the passage yellow and the gentle breaking of the waves on the cliffs.

(fonte: Surrentum Magazine)

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