Chills in Sorrento

Welcome to the 352nd Metamorphosis Monday! While we were staying in Sorrento, on afternoons or evenings when we were out touring or were just free to explore on our own, we would often walk the short distance to a nearby market area where we could shop and dine. About a block away from our hotel, there was a bridge that had to be crossed to reach the shopping/dining areas. We merrily crossed over it several times, never realizing what lay below.

One day while walking back, we crossed the bridge on the opposite side of the road and I glanced down and about passed out. What I saw was so unexpected and truly one of the creepiest things I’d ever seen. It was like the earth had split apart and down inside the huge abyss was a buried city.

I don’t normally think of myself as being afraid of heights but the combination of the height, the depth of the canyon and the view of what I saw below sent chills all over me. I knew I had to share it with those of you who were following this trip on Instagram, so I pulled out my cell phone and forced myself to reach out over the rail and take a few pics. That’s the edge of the rail you see in the lower, left corner of the picture.

Abandoned Mill in Vallone dei Mulini, Sorrento


In this photo, you can see this abandoned place is now filled with all types of vegetation and trees. Is this not completely creepy?!!! But wait, it gets even creepier!

Abandoned Mill in Vallone dei Mulini, Sorrento Italy


At night, it’s all lit up! We were walking back from dinner one evening and as we approached the bridge, I was doing my best to not think about the scary black hole just a few inches to my right on the other side of the rail. Then I noticed it, an eerie glow coming up from the abyss. Again, forcing myself to the edge of the rail, I looked down to find this. As if it’s not scary enough in the daylight, at night the creepy factor ratchets up a few more notches.

Once back to the hotel, I Googled to learn more about this abandoned place. I found a fair amount of info online indicating that it was once an old flour mill that was built around 900 AD. At that time it was in a great location because it had direct access to the water from the nearby bay.

Abandoned Mill in Valley in Sorrento


Over the years, this area became known as the Valle dei Mulini or Valley of Mills. The deep crevasse in which the mill sits was thought to have been caused by a huge eruption that ultimately devastated the Mediterranean area 35,000 years ago. This whole area along the coast has a history of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

The flour mill was built from stone and its location was perfect at that time due to the ever-present stream of water at the bottom of this deep valley. The mill was used to grind wheat for the Sorrentine people living in the area. Later a sawmill was added to provided materials needed by local cabinet-builders. There was even a wash/bath house for women where they could bathe or wash clothes.

I’ve read conflicting stories about why it was abandoned. One article said the milling of flour moved to some nearby pasta mills and with the reduced work, the buildings eventually closed and were abandoned around the 1940’s.

Other information I found online said the area surrounding the mill was filled in to build all the shopping areas that are above it. This greatly increased the humidity, hampering the flour milling process and cutting off the access the mill had to the bay. That article indicated the mill was abandoned in 1866. Since the mill’s closing, the buildings have been slowly taken over by nature.

Old Abandoned Mill in Sorrento


Apparently they have different lights that rotate through because sometimes it glows with an eerie blue color. If you ever visit Sorrento, check it out. Just don’t go too close to the edge of the canyon, especially if you’ve had a bit too much wine to drink. Back in 2011, a British tourist lost his balance and fell 150 feet down the slope.

Vallone dei Mulini, Abandoned Mill in Sorrento


I wish I had a “Before” picture to share. Imagine a thriving business with workers moving in an out, working to grind wheat for bread. Imagine a saw mill working away to create the wood materials needed for local cabinet makers. Imagine ladies gossiping and laughing while bathing and washing their clothes. Hard to envision all that now. It’s amazing to me how quickly nature attempts to reclaim the land when man is no longer there to keep it at bay. The high humidity of the area has sped the process up even faster.

Vallone dei Mulini, Abandoned Mill, Sorrento


Sometimes the building appears to glow a fierce red…probably from another one of the lights that occasionally shines on it.

Abandoned Mill in Valley of the Mills, Sorrento


Would this give you chills crossing over and peering down into this deep crevasse at night? It definitely gave me a case of the hebbie jebbies!

Abandoned Mill in the Valley of the Mills in Sorrento Italy


If you follow BNOTP on Instagram, you saw this place in real-time during my trip to Italy. I was posting there daily since it’s such a fast way to share beautiful, fascinating and interesting things quickly. If you would like to follow on Instagram, you can do that here: BNOTP on Instagram

Abandoned Mill in Vallone dei Mulini, Sorrento


Looking forward to all the fabulous Before and Afters for this Met Monday!

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  1. I was ok looking at the photos – more gorgeous than creepy and then you had to go and mention the British tourist and my legs went weak !!!
    How terrifying !
    ( but still gorgeous – really – it’s like you found a buried ( literally ) treasure!
    Thanks for sharing – I’m pinning ( I have a board for abandoned buildings ! )
    ANd of course many thanks for hosting such a great party !

    • I know, I was surprised to read that! Wonder if that’s why they have it lit up now since that happened after dark at 3 AM one night/morning.

  2. Those photos are amazing, Susan! I would totally be creeped out by the height, though. I think the red and blue lights make it look fitting for a horror movie 🙂
    Thanks for hosting another party this week!

  3. Thanks so much for the party each week!!
    What an amazing looking place!!


  4. Susan, I am so enjoying “visiting” Italy through your words & pictures.Thanks!!

  5. What an amazing place! It doesn’t look creepy to me either, more like a mysterious beauty. I would also love to see a before picture when it was full of life!

  6. Okay, I don’t think you could get me to walk over that bridge – day or night and with out without that creepy abandoned building below!!! I can’t believe you got near the edge!!!

    🙂 Linda

    • Linda, I can’t tell you how much it freaked me out, especially to reach my arms out over the edge to take the photos. I was praying I wouldn’t drop my phone into that giant hole, but I had to get pictures of it because it was just so amazing!

  7. Wow that is incredible! You did a good job of capturing it in your pictures. How awful that someone fell from there! I never used to have issues with heights but with age it’s become an issue. We lived in Chicago for a few years and I was up and down elevators and inside of tall buildings all the time but now because I’m not doing that all the time it’s become difficult for me. I like how they light it up with different colors. The red and blue give the best affect! Do they allow people to hike down there and check it out?

    • I don’t think so. A photo I found online showed some steps built into the side area just underneath the bridge, but they didn’t look like they went all the way up. I think they may have been steps that were left over from the time when it was an actual working mill. Can you imagine all the creepy crawlers and snakes that must be down there. No way this girl would hike to it. I wouldn’t want to be the person in charge of keeping the lights working or the vegetation cut back either. lol

  8. Amazing! I think I would have had a bit of vertigo too! Thanks for hosting!

  9. Thanks for sharing that story. I missed that on my trip to Sorrento. Isn’t Sorrento truly one of the most beautiful places you’ve ever seen? I hope you get to the Island of Capri. So beautiful and lots to see there!

  10. Wow, very creepy indeed! thanks for the fun Susan~

  11. Thanks for sharing your instagram pictures……I scrolled through them and you got some lovely shots…….love the animals in Africa and the ones of Italy. You’ll have to share what souvenirs you brought home from these amazing trips. Wow…two big ones in one year! Where are you off to next because once you travel, you just want to keep going….at least I do!

  12. We loved Sorrento, had such a good time there. Thanks for posting these photos. God bless,


  13. Having so much fun with the picture apps…lol…yes some really creepy places around this earth…thanks Susan, for sharing and hosting again, Sandi

  14. Good grief…I get THAT sensation, too!! It starts in my feet and radiates..something about looking at that kind of photo…spooky, huh!! You were brave crossing “that” bridge at NIGHT!! Luv’d Sorrento…purchased one of my fav mirrors there *sigh* franki

  15. I’m glad you were brave enough to take some photos to share with us. I’m not generally afraid of heights either, but being that high on a bridge would have me a tad queasy. It is amazing what things have survived all these centuries. And yes, this is a bit creepy. Wonder if it is haunted? ‘-)

  16. Of all the places I visited in Italy, Sorrento was my favorite. Love that Amalfi Coast!

  17. Susan, I’m so happy you got to go to Sorrento. When I sang in Italy, that was the one spot I didn’t get to visit on my days off from the opera. It’s on my list to visit one day, definitely. Thank you for sharing the pics and for hosting. Happy week to you! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  18. Susan, I was just thinking yesterday about your trip and how brave you were to go alone. Then I thought ‘Does anything scare Susan?’ and today you share your scary moments! I remember seeing this on Instagram! The height alone would have made me crazy with fear! That red light makes it look a bit hellish! Very appropriate for this Halloween week!

  19. So cool! I would have wanted to go explore it!

  20. Breathtaking pictures!

  21. pam ~ crumpety cottage says

    Susan, your seemingly endless energy amazes me! I think I’d be out like a zombie after the trip you’ve had. I’m glad you’re so energized. 🙂

    Beautiful pictures. It is indeed fascinating how nature is encroaching on this property. Soon it will be buried like 75% of Herculaneum! What a wonderful trip.

  22. Oh my WORD! And to think you may have missed this incredibly sight – wow, just wow wow wow, I don’t even know what to say.

    What a thing to behold!

  23. Those are such great pictures and such an interesting story. I am really curious and about to look up the story online and see if I can get more info. And the pictures remind me of those churches in Ethiopia that are are built in underground caves.
    Thanks for sharing them.

  24. Susan, this post was so interesting. How amazing that the structure is still there, and what a perfect post for Halloween season. Thank you for hosting.

  25. Not creepy at all just so, so cool! I love it! ~Ann

  26. It looks like a castle…until the colored lights glare on it 😉 I bet is was beautiful in its day and so full of life. So interesting. Thanks for sharing with us!

  27. Linda Page says

    I probably would have gotten in trouble because I would be looking for a way down to the mill so I could go exploring. I love abandoned buildings. So fun to explore and see what may have been left behind. That definitely adds to your trip. You won’t see that anywhere else. Great pictures.

  28. I discovered this abandoned mill several years ago on a trip to Sorrento. I was walking from the cameo factory down to the waterfront for lunch and there it was. Great memories in a lovely city. You may wish to visit my Amalfi Coast posts for more photos.

  29. those pictures are amazing. creepy & cool all at the same time. thanks so much for sharing. i’m keeping that in my travel file if we’re ever in sorrento. have a great week. xo- maryjo

  30. That was definitely not on my route in Sorrento! There was another bridge just off the main square overlooking a road, but nothing like this! It’s kind of cool, I think!

  31. Oh my I can understand about heights! Your pics are just breathtaking. Thanks for sharing your site for this party have a great week, Lynn

  32. I saw this city when I was in Sorrento, and yes I thought it was a bit creepy too. I was just in awe the entire time I was there. Such fabulous scenery and so much history. I am glad you made the trip!

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  33. I find this spooky and fascinating at the same time. I love history and am amazed at how quickly nature reclaims what was once hers. It just reinforces how temporary mankind is on this earth. I have a fear of heights, so I would have had to work up to look over that railing and lean over for pictures! I’m so glad you snapped them for us and that you got nighttime as well as daytime views. I have loved seeing your pictures on Instagram and reading your blogs.BTW, you are missing all this rain in your area, aren’t you? We’re on our 3rd day, but thank goodness, ours is gentle and not raging. My flowers and weeds both are loving it!

  34. Hi Susan, your pictures have brought back lovely memories of my childhood, when my mother would take us to visit relatives in Italy. (We lived in Germany at the time.)Thank you for sharing so much of your trip with us! Your pictures are perfect!! Hugs – Christine

  35. Yes, that was a little bit creepy at night with the lights….but so very interesting……thanks for taking the pics, you were so brave!! A lot of critters live down there, cats for one……

    When I was in Rome, we would walk to the cafes at night and up and down the streets, and we would come upon areas that had iron railings on the sides. All you could see were the tippy tops of trees….and we wondered, where are the bottoms?? Well, as in all ancient cities… cities are built on top, areas get filled in or bulldozed etc. There are ancient ruins below, rather than destroy them, they just let them go wild. There is no way to get down there to view them so they don’t have to be maintained. But critters find a way…….we were told that’s where the homeless cats and dogs hang out. As we were snuggled in our beds that night, we could hear them howling and making lotsa noises!!! People will throw food down there to feed them because they keep the cities clean of rodents!!! Hey, make use of what’s available!!!

  36. What an appropriate post for this Halloween week, Susan! What a terrifically, ghostly site that was. I’m not IG so I’m glad you shared this. Thanks, always, for hosting this get together. I’m glad you’re home safe, and I look forward to hearing all about your travels in upcoming posts.

  37. OMG! Amazing photography of that creepy city, perfect for Halloween, lol..
    I didn’t see it when we were in Sorrento, that’s funny.
    I love Italy, it’s almost my fav country, but no, I love them all!
    Thanks for sharing and for hosting dear Susan.
    Have a great week.

  38. So cool and beautiful, in it’s own creepy way. Thanks for sharing and for hosting. Hope you have a great week!

  39. Love the creepy pictures! I didn’t see this when in Sorrento! I would have loved it. Italy is my all time favorite country and the Amalfi coast is the most beautiful place ever in my opinion! So glad you got to visit. I would love to see this if I ever get to go back.

  40. Your photos are amazing! The place is very creepy indeed! Thanks for sharing.

  41. This is one of my favorite things about Sorrento, it was just so beautiful. We would walk by it at least once a day the week we were there. It is mesmerizing to say the least. Thank you for bringing back a special memory 🙂

  42. Hi Susan,
    Nice seeing you in EU.

    Sorrento is lovely. Don’t forget the Capo di Monti. They have one equisite variety.

    Njoy to the max.

    Hugs from Stockholm.

  43. Ooooo, agree totally spooky but very appropriate for Halloween … ☺. I myself haven’t been to Sorrento, however my son has so I will have to check with him if he ever saw this. With appreciation of all your fabulous photos! -Brenda-

  44. Renee Cook says

    Hi, Susan… I’m finally getting a chance to see all of your posts about your trip! It is fabulous and I’m so glad you had a great time but, then again, how could you not?! The abandoned mill is just fascinating.

  45. Thanks for posting this. I was in Naples in 2010 and spent one day in Sorrento. Due to a camera mishap, I thought all my pictures were lost, but just found a bunch posted on my Google Plus account. I have no memory of doing that and don’t know how they got there so it was like a gift! Anyway, I had forgotten all about this old building although it must have been interesting at the time because I took several pictures. Seeing them spurred my to do a Google search, which led to your blog. Thanks for your research and explanation.

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