Piano di Sorrento: Blue Flags

The town of Piano di Sorrento has been awarded the Blue Flag for 2021 for the beach of Marina di Cassano.

In the heart of the Sorrento peninsula we find the small but enchanting city of Piano di Sorrento. This town not only has a strong commercial and artisan vocation but also a tourist one. A place where faith, traditions and innovations coexist and influence each other. Here, there is one of the most beautiful church on the peninsula, the Basilica of San Michele Arcangelo. Several Confraternities and Archconfraternities (ancient secular institutions with their own statutes and purposes of service to the ecclesiastical community and the growth of spiritual life) are currently still active and organize every year the traditional and suggestive hooded processions during Holy Thursday and Good Friday.
Piano di Sorrento Basilica S. Michele - About Sorrento
The Facade of Basilica di San Michele Arcangelo - Piano di Sorrento
Named “Planities” in Roman times, Piano owes its name to its geographical position. Located at the centre of the Sorrento peninsula, Piano consists of a large plateau overlooking the sea surrounded by small mountainous reliefs with several watercourses that, over time, allowed the creation of deep valleys, separating now the village of Piano from Meta and Sant’Agnello.
Piano di Sorrento Panorama - About Sorrento
Panoramic view of Piano from Villa Fondi
Like the neighbouring villages, Piano also boasts an ancient origin, dating back to the second millennium BC: in the highest area of Piano – between today’s hamlet of “Trinità” and “San Massimo” – most significant evidence of the Gaudo civilization were discovered: pottery, utensils and part of a necropolis. Most of the archaeological finds are now kept in the rooms of the “Georges Vallet” Archaeological Museum inside the majestic Villa Fondi – De Sangro, a neoclassical building surrounded by a vast park overhanging Marina di Cassano and its port. As for the other little towns on the peninsula, Piano is ideally divided into two areas: the lower part – heart of the city mostly inhabited – and the highest one, a hilly area where you can still breathe the authenticity of the past agricultural life. Starting from the ancient district called Mortora, keeping going to San Liborio and going up again to the oldest farmhouse of Sant’Agostino, you will find the ancient buildings with the typical piperno portals and the vast gardens and citrus groves. They witnessed an ancient profitable activity that helped the population developing, especially in the early twentieth century, due to the trade with America.
Cliffs at Marina di Cassano, Piano di Sorrento. Italy
Marina di Cassano - Piano di Sorrento
The village of Sant’Agostino certainly deserves the credit for being the oldest farmhouse in the whole of Piano if not of the entire peninsula: an ancient local saying says “Sant’Austino è ‘o paese cchiù viecchio ca ‘nce sta ‘, meaning in Neapolitan dialect, Sant’Agostino is the oldest town. Here, first traces of ancient settlements were found. The ancient Benedictine abbey of San Pietro in Cermenna (now replaced by the nineteenth-century Colonna Castle) has played a fundamental role since the thirteenth century preserving ancient traditions and crafts and trading with the Amalfi Coast and the Orient. We could almost say that this village was the cradle of the Carottese (name of people from here) population. Thanks to the favourable climate, beaches, good restaurants and places of interest, there is tourism all year long.


Would you like to know why the inhabitants of Piano di Sorrento are called “carottesi” and not “pianesi”? A nice popular tradition says that this name dates back to the substantial damage following a tremendous earthquake occurred in the seventeenth century, which devastated the whole South Italy. The central area of Piano, reporting several collapses and damages, would have earned the nickname of “Carotto” (from the Neapolitan dialect “‘Cca è rotto” – meaning here it is broken, destroyed“), while the lower part with the seaside village spared from the disaster, it would have been renamed “Cassano” (“‘Cca è sano” – meaning “Here it is healthy, intact“). Actually, the etymology of Carotto and Cassano has other origins, even previous the above-mentioned earthquake. The etymology “Carotto” derives from the ancient dialect and indicates the tuff mines, while “Cassano” has a Roman origin, literally meaning “property of Cassio”. Marina di Cassano, a town’s fishing village, also takes its name from that. Once the home of important shipyards, today this town is a small and colourful fishing centre enclosed all around the chapel dedicated to the Madonna delle Grazie. The church treasures the wooden statue of the Virgin (late nineteenth century), as dear to the locals as to the Carottese people: every year, in fact, on the first Sunday following July 2, a religious procession carries the statue around the historic centre of Piano and ends with a blessing on the seaside. An appointment awaited and felt by the whole local community! Thanks to the tourist revival started in recent years, Piano boasts thriving tourism all year long, due to the favourable climate, beaches, good restaurants and places of interest.

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