Sorrento’s Mill Valley: life yesterday, life today
There was a time when the Mill Valley (Vallone dei Mulini) in Sorrento was bursting with life. The old cleft opened up into the sea, offering walnut, cherry, and olive tree wood to local craftsmen, ready to carve it into their excellent products. Sorrento depended on the milled wheat and fresh water that came from the area.
In the 17th century, a mill and a sawmill had started exploiting the power provided by the same streams that had dug the valley over millennia. Wells had been placed in the pits created by extracting tuff stone, which was widely used in building.
There were abundant resources and business opportunities for people living here until the early 20th century. Then, a handful of urban planning actions ended up blocking the valley’s access to the seaside, creating an extremely humid microclimate that no man could live in.
Vegetation took over, creating the wonderfully green triumph of nature that today envelops ancient ruins.