The arrival of industry and tourism

The arrival of modernity, or the arrangement of the Walloon fund and the engineering projects realized by Falcon, did not interrupt the pilgrimage of the artists – on the contrary, the Walloon was enriched with more images.

In 1842 a large part of the valley, owned by local nobles, was purchased by a young Neapolitan engineer of French extraction, Enrico Falcon, and his wife.

Enrico Falcon was liberal, anticlerical and anti-bourbon; he loved architecture and had traveled extensively. He thought of enhancing the bottom of the valley by rebuilding a mill from its foundations and transforming it into a steam mill.

It was an innovative enterprise, which followed the most advanced bourgeois Europe model.

In 1848 Enrico Falcon, wanted by the Bourbon police for his liberal ideas, fled to Paris with his wife Josephin, who died shortly after, while the engineer returned to Sorrento in 1851, where he defended his business from attacks of political and economic obstacles.

In 1861, Falcon naturally participated in the unification of Italy.

Enrico Falcon

Enrico Falcon (Naples 1810-1868 Naples) completed in Paris

Falcon had studied in Paris and directed the works of the Naples-Portici railway in 1839.

[Photograph by Mayer & Pierson Paris.

Mathieu private archive, courtesy]

Josephin Sicard

Josephin Sicard (1819-1851 Paris)

She was the daughter of the Dutch Consul in Naples and came from a family of steamship entrepreneurs.

[«Grandmère Falcon-Sicard», drawing on cardboard.

[courtesy of Mathieu private archive]

William HAVELL – Frederick James HAVELL, The glen at Sorrento, Naples
William HAVELL (Reading 1782 – Kensington 1857) – Frederick James HAVELL (Reading 1801-1840), The glen at Sorrento. Naples. Engraving, cm. 59×84.

«Drawn by W. Havel – Eng. by F. J. Havel».

Drawing by William Havell and engraving by Frederick James Havell.

William HAVELL - Frederick James HAVELL, tuff quarrymen
In the Havell drawing, in the foreground, there are some tuff quarrymen at work.
William Havell

William Havell in a self-portrait of 1838

English, he was a great landscape watercolorist. From 1816 he traveled for a decade to Asia, China and India.
In the early 1960s, with the unification of Italy (1861), tourism was finally able to cross the country more easily and Sorrento became even more successful. Tourists stayed in Sorrento to make excursions in the gulfs of Naples and Salerno: Capri, Massa Lubrense, Amalfi, Cava, Salerno, Paestum …
«Sorrento enjoys the most temperate climate in Italy, and during the summer months it is crowded with visitants, chiefly English, who make it their head-quarters for excursions to Paestum, Salerno, Capri, and other interesting localities.»

[Mapei 1864, p. 109]

In 1864 Camillo Mapei thus described the valley and the ancient eastern gate represented in the view of Brockedon and Willmore. For Mapei the extraordinary ravines from which “the singular and beautiful” Sorrento was almost entirely surrounded were still surprising. At the bottom of the ravine a steep and narrow path led to the sea or to the mill and the hill.
“The extraordinary ravines by which Sorrento is nearly surrounded are among the striking features of this singular and beautiful locality. The lofty arches that cross the gorge in our view, are of Roman construction, and over them lies the approach to the eastern gate of the town. Near the bottom of the ravine a steep and narrow path leads to the sea shore. ”

[Mapei 1864, p. 109]

William BROCKEDON - James TIBBITTS WILLMORE, The Gate of Sorrento from the ravine
William BROCKEDON (Totnes 1787 – 1854) – James TIBBITTS WILLMORE (Bristnald’s End, Birmingham 1800 – Londra 1863), The Gate of Sorrento from the ravine, in Camillo Mapei, Italy, illustrated and described in a series of views from drawings by Stanfield R.A., Roberts R.A., Harding, Prout, Leitch, Brockedon, Barnard, ecc, ecc. with description of the scenes and an introductory essay on the political, religious, and moral state of Italy, Blackie and son, Paternoster Row, London, 1864, p. 106. Incisione su acciaio, cm. 23×15,5.

«Drawn by W. Brockedon from a sketch by Mrs. J. Davenport – Engraved by J. T. Willmore».

Drawing by William Brockedon, engraving by James Tibbitts Willmore.

[Rotili 1977, tav. XLVI; Miniero, Ercolano 1990, p. 18; Cuomo 2005, pp. 68-69]

From the mid-nineteenth century photographers replaced painters



Being able to photograph the violent contrast between light and shadow was challenging and emotionally expressive

E. Ziegler, Il vallone
E. Ziegler, Il vallone (The Valley), Paris, 1870.

Ziegler was a photography studio on Boulevard de Capucines in Paris.

[Fiorentino 1991]

Florian GROSPIETSCH (Zwrócona 1789-1830), La Madonna del Mulino presso Sorrento, Roma, 1823
Brogi, Valloni di Sorrento – lato meridionale (Valleys of Sorrento – southern side), 1890.

[Filangieri 1929, p. 69]

The valley taken from above, looking towards the hill; below you can see Falcon’s mill.
Anonimo, Vallone di Sorrento, 1865
Anonimo, Vallone di Sorrento (Valley of Sorrento), 1865.

[Fiorentino 1991, p. 98-99]

Brogi, The Valleys of Sorrento – eastern side
Brogi, I valloni di Sorrento – lato orientale (Valleys of Sorrento – eastern side), sd.

[Filangieri 1929, 26; Della Rocca, Russo 2001, 93]

The bridge with the view of the mill and a local figure became one of the favorite subjects, endlessly reproduced in postcards for the tourist market until the early twentieth century

The valley of Sorrento became the “valley of the mills.”

Anonimo, Sorrento, Vallata dei Mulini (Valley of the Mills), before 1906
Anonimo, Sorrento: Vallata dei Mulini (Valley of the Mills), before 1906. Postcard, 9×24 cm.

[«Surrentum», anno II, n. 5 luglio 1983]

Anonimo, Sorrento Vallata dei Mulini, n. 11281, Stengel e Co. Dresden
Anonimo, Sorrento Vallata dei Mulini (Valley of the Mills), n. 11281, Stengel e Co. Dresden, undated. Italian Postal Service post card.
Anonimo, Ponticello sul vallone dei mulini
Anonimo, Ponticello sul vallone dei mulini (Bridge over the valley of the mills), undated.

[Cuomo 2013]

Karl August LINDEMANN-FROMMEL, Aus den Schluchten Sorrent, in Skizzen und Bilden aus Neapel und der Umgegend, Goupil, n. 17, 1848
Anonimo, Sorrento. Sorrento. Vallata dei mulini (Valley of the mills), n. 5551.
Anonimo, Fabbriche del mulino sul fondo del vallone, 1900
Anonimo, Fabbriche del mulino sul fondo del vallone (Mill factories at the bottom of the valley), 1900.

[Fiorentino 1991, 97]

Karl August LINDEMANN-FROMMEL, Aus den Schluchten Sorrent, in Skizzen und Bilden aus Neapel und der Umgegend, Goupil, n. 17, 1848
De Luca e C., Sorrento. Vallone nei mulini (Valley in the mills), n. 73, Naples, undated. Postcard.
Jules Louis Philippe COIGNET (Paris 1798 – Paris 1860) -  ? VILLENEUVE, Vue des Ravins de Sorente, in Vue pittoresque d’Italie, dessinées d’après nature
Anonimo, Sorrento – Vallata dei molini (Valley of the mills), undated.

[Petagna, Siniscalchi 2003, p. 99]

De Luca, Il vallone dei molini,  undated
De Luca, Il vallone dei molini (The valley of the mills), undated.

[Filangieri 1929, p. 28; Senatore 1998, p. 83]

Click to explore the sections of the virtual exhibition on the valley of the Sorrento mills