If you are enjoying your vacation in Sorrento with its sun, sea, views and historical beauties, well you might like to know something else. Some curiosity, some unusual tale you would not expert in such a beautiful place.
Though there are some, sleeping in the dark! It is the mysterious side of Sorrento, its old myths and its tales.
The Mermaids town
Sorrento was born from a legend and on old tales it feeds.
Let us not forget that we are in the land – Campania – which owes its roots to Aeneas and to the song of the ancient Greeks.
The myth that accompanies the birth of Sorrento is precisely linked to a song: the song of the Mermaids! According to the narration, it seems that when Ulysses tried to escape the Mermaids’ enchantment, sailing tied to the mast of his ship through the Strait of Messina, he ended the journey right at the foot of the Sorrento Peninsula where he erected a temple to Athena to thank her for the help.
The tale of pretty Sirentum
Another legend tells that two local farmers, unable to have children, vowed to the Temple of the Mermaids and after a few months the woman became pregnant.
A beautiful girl was born and she was called Sirentum. She grew so elegant and wonderful as to make a prince fall in love with her. During the Saracen invasion, however, the beautiful princess Sirentum was kidnapped by pirates who demanded a very high ransom.
The people, in order to get back the splendor of girl, donated every precious object to repay her freedom. Because this is Sorrento even today: it gives everything, and those who love Sorrento do not need anything else in life!
The tusk of the sea monster
In the church of St.Antonino, in Sorrento, a huge tusk looks like an elephant or a Mammoth one.
According to the local legend, however, this is what remains of the huge sea monster who was about to kill three children on the beach, when the patron Saint St. Antonino set the kids free and destroyed the monster.
The bell ringing from the bottom of the sea
Among the many miracles of St. Antonino in Sorrento there is also that of the bell. During one of the sackings of Saracen pirates, a ship loaded with precious objects of Sorrento was about to take off. But the power of the Saint made it very heavy and even throwing away half the goods the ship did not move.
Only when the pirates threw in the sea the bell of the church of the Saint, they managed to escape. The Sorrentines, then, ran to retrieve all their treasures from the sea.
Only the bell was never found … but the people here swear to hear it ringing, from the bottom of the sea, every 14 February, feast of the local Saint!
Embroidery made of clouds
Embroidery is a typical Sorrentine craft art. These works are so beautiful that they seem “made of clouds”. And this is what the legend tells.
It seems that an old local embroiderer, tired after so much work, could not finish a work in time because she lacked the embroidery of a ribbon.
The poor woman prayed to the Child Jesus and he sent an angel to take the most beautiful cloud, shaped like a ribbon, and the next day it had become a refined embroidery which completed the lady’s work!