The opening of the Gate of Parsano actually allowed the development of Sorrento towards the South. Until the 18th century, in fact, the access to the hilly area was particularly difficult.
Since the Roman times, Sorrento has been able to count on the defence granted to the town centre by a solid circle of walls.
Yet, only in more recent times the urban walls achieved the aspect partially preserved today.
Being exposed to the risk of Saracen incursions which, above all in the course of the Sixteenth century, destroyed a great part of the sea resorts in Southern Italy, the town – during the period of the Spanish Viceroyalty – was interested by an intense activity to grant a massive system of defence of the town centre.
From the early 16th century the Roman walls, repeatedly restored in the Middle Ages, were completely renovated and made impassable.
The presence of a Castle (today unfortunately disappeared) testified the value of the gate facing the Plane which was, therefore, considered as the main gate.
Among the minor gates, instead, there was the gate which allowed the walking to Massa Lubrense and those which allowed the access to the landings of the beaches.
There was, instead, the so-called Gate of Parsano which was built only in the Bourbon time and which is the only one to be still visible today.
It was opened along the southern side of the walls to allow an easier access to the hilly area that was being developed , but it could be reached with difficulty because of the conformation of a territory made almost inaccessible by the presence of deep gorges in the rock.
Built during the 18th century, the gate itself actually signed the beginning of a series of urban transformations culminating, with the passing of years and eventually various historical events, with the enlargement of the ancient main decumanus (today corresponding to Corso Italia), the building of Tasso Square (much larger than the old Castello Square) and, during last century, with the building of Via degli Aranci.
Right thanks to the opening of Parsano Gate, therefore, the development of the southern area of Sorrento could spread also beside the walls which - right south to the town – spread from the area corresponding today to Via Marina Grande to get to the enchanting area of the Valley of the Mulini keeping still today a particular charm together with the walls which, partly, overlook it.
For further info: The sixteenth-century suggestions of the Ancient Walls of Sorrento
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