A dip in the natural pool of the Bagni della regina Giovanna
At Capo Sorrento there is a natural pool with splendid waters: a pristine basin in a wild and romantic setting.
This corner of breathtaking nature is known as the Bagni della Regina Giovanna (Queen Joanna's Baths): the story goes that the Queen of Naples used to come here to bathe and enjoy the view, in the company of her young lovers.
A small, precious oasis
The Bagni della Regina Giovanna are located on the promontory of Punta Capo, in Sorrento, a section of coastline in the Protected Marine Area of Punta Campanella. It is a lagoon framed by limestone rocks eroded by the wind and connected to the sea by a narrow passageway, a sort of gateway topped by a spectacular arch formed by the cliffs. Inside the pool, the water is calm, the seabed pebbly.
Dive in, but beware of the open sea, where the seabed becomes deep and the currents become stronger. The incomparable beauty of the place is also due to the fact that there is nothing to disturb nature, no bars or restaurants, no umbrella rentals, no beach facilities. Not even a beach. Here there are only small, rocky terraces. So If you want to spend several hours here, be sure to bring water and provisions, as well as the indispensable rock shoes. If you require more comfort, after a short visit to the pool you can head for the Lido la Solara, a few hundred metres away.
Only on foot
No transport can make it here. So put on some comfortable footwear and be ready to walk: the Bagni della Regina Giovanna can only be reached on foot. It takes about 15/20 minutes, starting from Capo Sorrento and following the signs for the Ruderi Romani (Roman ruins). It’s a very pleasant walk. In the background is the Gulf of Naples, embracing the Sorrento Peninsula as far as the islands of Ischia and Procida, as well as Vesuvius and Capri. In the early morning and at sunset, the spectacle is at the height of its beauty.
A libertine queen
There is a statue of Queen Giovanna II D'Angiò-Durazzo, ruler of Naples, in the Church of San Giovanni Carbonara in Naples, where she reigned from 1414 to 1435. That is the history, but legend adds some spicy details. It is said that the sovereign was a bewitching and libertine woman and that right here, in her Baths, she loved to bathe with much younger lovers, some of whom, it seems, were destined for a certain and bloody death.
The Villa of Pollio Felice
One of the villas built here by the Romans is the domus that dates back to the first century B.C. belonging to the Roman nobleman Pollio Felice. Today we can only see its ruins, right on top of the Capo Sorrento promontory. The area is actually also an archaeological site, and on the way to the Bagni della Regina Giovanna various finds can be seen. The seaside villa of Pollio Felice was an immense estate of at least 30,000 square metres, with a further residence connected to the main one by tunnels and underground passages. The latter was used for fishing and farming.
Wines and lemons have always been the pride of the area. Today, Sorrento's citrus fruits are a Protected Geographical Indication product. A fresh lemonade in the street is an experience to be savoured, as is a visit to a patisserie: the lemon delight is a soft dome of sponge cake filled with one custard and one lemon cream, with a limoncello syrup.
Sorrento and nearby islands
The seaside holiday continues with visits to the islands and Sorrento, a thousand-year-old coastal town clinging to the cliffs. The Bagni della Regina Giovanni are very close to the historic centre. Visit the Cloister of San Francesco and the Duomo, then enjoy relaxing while sitting outside in a café between Piazza Tasso and Corso Italia, the crossroads of the promenade along streets packed with restaurants and shops. The air is balmy, thick with fragrance, with an atmosphere of attractive social life. Sailing to Ischia and Procida, more beaches and cliffs await you amid truly unforgettable landscapes.