Sorrento Dreaming Useful Info of Sorrento Famous people who have stayed in Sorrento

Famous people who have stayed in Sorrento

05 May 2010 | No comments

Posted by in category Useful Info of Sorrento

There are many famous people that Sorrento has hosted during its long story:

  • George Gordon Byron (1818)
  • Percy B. Shelly (1819)
  • Walter Scott (1831)
  • Charles Dickens (1845)
  • Teodoro Mommsen (1852)
  • Paul Heise (1853-1877)
  • Harriet Becker Stowe (1866)
  • Federico Nietzsche (1876)
  • Edward Grieg (1872-1881)
  • Marrion Crawford (1895-1909)
  • Leone Tolstoi (1898)
  • Duilio Zanfirescu (Rumenno) (1891-1918)

Torquato Tasso

The principal piazza of the town is dedicated to Torquato Tasso.

The months that he passed in Sorrento in 1577 were the most happy and tranquil of his life.

Torquato Tasso always longed to return to Sorrento and on 14 November 1587 wrote to his sister Cornelia” ‘ … Could I return, I will not say to revel, but breath this sky, under which I was born: to rejoice with sea views and gardens; to consol me with your kindness; to drink this wine or this water, that might reduce my illness…”‘.


On 27 October 1876, Nietzsche established himself in Sorrento, where he remained until the beginning of 1877. He stayed mainly in Villa Rubinacci, which he rented from Malwida von Meysenbug, who at first had thought to host Nietzsche in Fano. In that period, Richard and Cosima Wagner also lived in the villa where Nietzsche made his last meeting.

The atmosphere in the villa was very informal and it is said that the windows were always “open to the pines and the sea”. This first contact with the South, gave Nietzsche a deep joy, diverse from the dour tone the writer was accustomed to in the North. In Sorrento, he re-found his spiritual gaiety necessary to commence his new creations. Always, in Sorrento, Nietzsche declared that “looking at Vesuvius and the sea, between the gardens and the villas” and writing humanly, his writing took the shape of new a style: a recourse to aphorism through the abandonment of learned essays and systematic treatment.

Finally, it remained in history that on 16 December, the philosopher wrote a letter from Sorrento to Louise Ott about his unrequited love.

Charles Dickens

Quote on Sorrento from Charles Dickens Pictures from Italy (1845): ……vineyards, olive-trees, gardens of oranges and lemons, orchards, heaped-up rocks, green gorges in the hills–and by the bases of snow-covered heights, and through small towns with handsome, dark- haired women at the doors–and pass delicious summer villas–to Sorrento where the Poet Tasso drew his inspiration from the beauty surrounding him.

“Caruso” by Lucio Dalla

In the summer of 1980, in a room of the Hotel Excelsior Vittoria of Sorrento, where the tenor Enrico Carusospent his last days, Lucio Dalla composed his song “Caruso”.

This is a poignant re-interpretation of the theme “Te voglio bene assaie” (I love you very much) by Donizetti in a melodramatic-neapolitano tone.

With nine million copies sold throughout the world in dozens of versions (one of them by the tenor Pavarotti), it is one of the most recognised songs in all the world.

Still today, in Sorrento, famous people like Lucio Dalla continue to stay as a permanent guest of the Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, and Sofia Loren to whom the keys of the city were donated as an honorary citizen.


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