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Art & Culture

Campania

At the Queen Giovanna Baths for a dip in a corner of paradise

It is said that Queen Giovanna II of Anjou of Naples, in the 15th century, met her lovers in a natural pool on the <strong>Punta del Capo in Sorrento</strong>, a place that has been called <strong>Queen Giovanna's Baths</strong> here for centuries. <br>

We defy anyone to find a more evocative, romantic and secluded place than this, and what's more, next to an archaeological site. <br>

Today, like the queen, you too can dive in.

The astonishing triangle-shaped natural pool enclosed by rocks and vegetation known as the Bagni della Regina Giovanna is reached by a nice walk of about 30 minutes from the centre of Sorrento.

The site is located on the Capo di Sorrento cliff where the remains of the imposing Roman villa of Pollio Felice (1st century AD) stand, one of the many built on the Sorrento Coast, a much sought-after holiday resort for wealthy Campanians, of which we have descriptions from chroniclers of the time.

After all, with the transfer of the imperial court to Capri, desired by the Emperor Tiberius, this was a particularly desirable area for the Roman aristocracy.

From the various rooms of the villa one could enjoy the view of Vesuvius to the east, Ischia to the north and Punta Campanella and Capri to the west; it also had a portico with marble columns sloping down towards the sea.

On the eastern side you can see the remains of six vaulted rooms, which still bear traces of the stucco that covered them. The villa was connected to the natural pool by various passages, also covered, and by stairs and terraces.

Today, Queen Giovanna's Baths are freely accessible from the overland path. In high season, avoid the middle of the day: if you are looking for intimacy, like the queen, go there at dawn or dusk.