Sedil Dominova: war among the rich, peace for the poor
Sorrento’s Sedil Dominova has an interesting history: it was built amidst power struggles between the aristocratic families and notables of the city in Campania, but later transformed into a place where working class people could find peace and help each other.
The name comes from the Italian ‘sedile’, meaning “seat”, pointing to the ‘sedili nobiliari’ where the nobility assembled to discuss issues relating to the town’s administration in the Middle Ages. ‘Dominova’ comes from the Latin ‘Domus Nova’ – which was the name given to this seat when it was established in the Western part of Sorrento, after the local patricians (who until the 14th century had all met at the “Sedil di Porta”) engaged in an internecine feud over the management of public programs.
In 1877, the perfectly intact 15th-century structure was taken over by the Società Operaia per il Mutuo Soccorso (Mutual Aid Society for Workers). Workers peacefully occupied the magnificent building, decorated with 18th-century frescoes.
Thus, what had come from a war among the rich became a haven for the poor.