First Impressions
A series of articles by Richard Edwards which take a personal look at landmark hotels on the Amalfi Coast.

First Impressions by Richard Edwards

Sub Tropical Garden
Designed in 1888 by English landscape artists, the garden has rare,
Mediterranean and sub-tropical plants.
See images >

Boat Excursions
A typical Sorrentine boat, can be booked for morning and afternoon excursions along the Sorrento riviera and Gulf of Naples.
See image >


The Hotel >
Torquato Tasso >
Ernesto De Curtis >



Bust of Tasso in reception hall
Bust of Torquato Tasso
in the reception area

View of the original west wing

Original 16th century
west wing of hotel
Shrine to Torquato Tasso in the garden

Shrine to Torquato Tasso
in the hotel's garden

One of many splendid trees in the garden

Detail of tree from the
subtropical garden

Detail of fresco from the 16th Century Stella Maris Chapel

Detail of fresco from the
hotel's 16th century chapel

Statue of Torguato Tasso in the Piazza TassoTorquato Tasso
The original 16th century west wing of the Tramontano was a patrician noble residence, and the historical birthplace, on 11th March 1544, of the celebrated Italian poet Torquato Tasso, author of "Jerusalem Delivered" and "Aminta". Plaques and marble busts within the hotel reception area and a shrine in its garden, which legend says Milton himself visited during his travels, are reminders of its links with this important literary figure. Sorrento's main square Piazza Tasso, bears his name and is the location of an impressive statue.

Other literary greats who have stayed at the hotel include Goethe, Byron, Scott, Keats, Shelley, De Musset, Lamartine, Leopardi and Longfellow. James Fenimore Cooper lived here while writing the "Water Witch", and Harriet Beecher Stowe received her inspiration to write "Agnes of Sorrento". Henrik Ibsen lived at the Tramontano for six months, and wrote his immortal "Ghosts" during that time.

View from hotel terraceG B De Curtis
The world-famous song "Torna a Surriento" or " Come back to Sorrento", was composed by G B De Curtis on the Tramontano terrace.

The song was in fact dedicated to the Prime Minister, Giuseppe Zanardeli, who made an official visit to Sorrento in September 1902. As a way of encouraging him to help improve the conditions and services of Sorrento, which were very basic at the time, the De Curtis brothers, Giambattista and Ernesto, composed the song.

It was written in a few hours but has been modified slightly to the present version. The idea was to suggest the Prime Minister returned to Sorrento to fully appreciate its beauty after any improvements to the infrastructure may have been made. Since then this Neapolitan song has become the signature tune for Sorrento all over the world and has been sung by many famous performers including the great Pavarotti and Caruso. Even Sinatra, Dean Martin and Elvis made recordings.
To hear a recording of the song visit the Tramontano site.

Chef Alfonso Iaccarino Alfonso Iaccarino
The Tramontano continues its close association with individuals who offer creative and innovative experiences to Sorrento visitors. One such individual is Alfonso Iaccarino, a chef of international fame, patron of Don Alfonso 1890, one of the most renowned restaurants in the world.

The views from the hotels's restaurant are matched only by the traditional and homely art of Neapolitan cuisine, prepared under the supervision of Chef Alfonso Iaccarino.

The cuisine is Mediterranean with meticulous attention paid to the quality of its raw materials. Chef Alfonso Iaccarino is greatly inspired by nature, strictly following the seasons in his chosen ingredients with their delightful flavours and aromas. His aim being to " ... create dishes that even if your eyes are closed ... you know that you are in front of Capri..."

View of hotel from sea showing tunnel exit

Other hidden gems to be found within the grounds of the hotel, include the lavishly frescoed 16th century Stella Maris Chapel, which was completely restored in 1890 and can be accessed from the hotel's courtyard, The subtropical gardens designed in 1888 by English landscape artists with rare Mediterranean and subtropical plants. To see the images from the garden click here. Finally, tunnels cut into the tufa stone cliff lead down to the sea and bathing platforms. The blue arrow in the above photograph shows the exit.
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