CitiesFr. Ryan Humphries

Sorrento & Pompeii

CitiesFr. Ryan Humphries
Sorrento & Pompeii
Put a compass to paper and trace a circle. Then tell me which other country has such a concentration of places like Amalfi, Naples, Ischia, Procida, Sorrento, Positano, Pompeii, and Capri.
— Diego Della Valle

Sorrento is on the coast of the Sea of Naples just opposite the town of Positano about twenty minutes by train from Naples, itself. It's adjacent to the historic site of Pompeii and three active volcano, the most famous of which is Vesuvius. Like Capri, Sorrento was the Roman equivalent of an adults-only Disney-world.

When Vesuvius destroyed the region, in AD 79, lots of Christians and Pagans alike believed God\the gods were punishing the immorality of the rich and perverse.


Like Capri, Sorrento began as a Roman settlement which may have been used as a camp or even a village by the Etruscans and\or the Greeks. After the fall of Rome, the town was on it's own until the Kingdom of Naples claimed it. Also like Capri, Sorrento was eventually captured by Napoleon and was integrated in the Italian state in the province of Campania.

San Gennaro (St. Januarius)

While there's plenty to see and do in Sorrento, we're here mostly for two sights. First, the tomb and relics of St. Gennaro, a former bishop of Naples and now patron of the city. His relics are particularly famous because his blood liquifies three times each year. When it hasn't liquefied (as it didn't in September 2001), the Napolese see it as God warning that something bad is coming.


We're also here to visit the surprisingly extensive ruins of Pompeii. Ruins don't seem super exciting... But we're not talking about a few Greek columns and a gift shop. We're talking about EXTENSIVE ruins with intact frescos and fountains and streets and a stadium and statues and marble tiles which are still in good shape. The first time I went to Pompeii, I was floored by the experience. It's a wow place.