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Villa Fiorentino Sorrento sede della Fondazione Sorrento

Fondazione Sorrento

Cornelia Tasso's house

In walking along Via San Nicola it is still possible to appreciate the stately home which gave hospitality to the sister of the author of Jerusalem Delivered and her family.
While walking along Via San Nicola, located in the heart of the old town centre of Sorrento- at number 11- there is one of the houses of Family Sersale.
This, nevertheless, differently from others, keeps more charm because, between the end of 1500 and the beginning of the following century, it gave hospitality to Cornelia Tasso, the sister of the famous Torquato Tasso and Marzio Sersale’s wife.
This building is involved in a successive event.
In the month of July 1577 the author of Jerusalem Delivered  and other previous works – after escaping the Castle of Ferrara, where he had been shut up in consequence of his earliest symptoms of madness -  sailed from Gaeta to return to his hometown.
It was just in this palace, which is now at 11 Via San Nicola, that he presented himself in front of his sister with a false identity, as a messenger of himself, before revealing himself as he actually was.
It is a story which in a sense recalls that of Ulysses, even though with different results and consequences.
As for what concerns this palace, moreover, we have to underline that on its left an aristocratic chapel, consecrated to St. Nicola of Bari, was built.
It is therefore possible that the name of the road inspired just to the presence of this Christian temple.
Today this building has still a portal with lightly raised ashlars, a springler and keystone upon which there is the stem of Family Sersale.
From the road we can appreciate the central balcony of the so-called main floor which is supported by four big vaulted brackets, ending in masks on top.
This element distinguishes itself from the other balconies in Sorrento for the frame of the doorstep which has a decoration with sculptured ovolos.
Closer to Apulian and Sicilian forms – rather than to Neapolitan ones – this balcony is in a good state. 
Its inferior surface still shows traces of decoration with racemes. In the hall of the noble palace, instead, interesting are the barrel vault with frescos of stems and war trophies and inscriptions as of 1615, which remind the poet Torquato Tasso himself. The paintings of the vault were hardly damaged by a fire burst out in 1959 and only a part of them is still visible today.  

 

 


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