Posted by: Debra Kolkka | October 30, 2011

A place for noblemen, and me, in Sorrento


The sign in front of the Sedile Dominova, or Dominova Seat says it is the only existing testimony in the Campania region of the ancient seats of nobility. It is a beautiful open loggia originally constructed in the 16th century.



The structure is covered in frescoes from the 18th century. There are amazing trompe l’oeil columns and the family coat of arms. It once belonged to the seat of the town council and nobles would meet to discuss civic problems. It was a men only affair.
It is well preserved and men still gather there to chat and play cards.



On a cold wet day in Sorrento I asked these gentlemen if they would mind if I sat at one of the tables to write my blog. Permission was very kindly granted.



You will find the Sedile Dominova in the centre of old Sorrento in Largo Dominova. Don’t miss it.If you ask nicely they might let you sit there too.



  1. Sorry to ignore the substance of this excellent post, but I do like your glasses, visible in the third last photo.

    Mevrouw T has several very similar pairs, purchased at the Waterlooplein markets in Amsterdam, and subsequently left strewn in various locations around the world, possibly including, but not limited to, Bagni di Lucca.

    • The glasses are cheapies I bought in Paris. I leave my real ones at home as I tend to lose things as well.

  2. Beautiful photos, as usual. The “Sedile Dominova” is the only example remaining in Campania of the place where representatives of noble families (the person was then called a “sedile”) used to meet and seat there to give advice and resolve disputes. It was a tradition that goes back to the Middle Ages. Your photos show one of their coats of arms. The word “Dominova” stems from the Latin “Domus = house and nova = new. So technically, it was the new house for the “sedile”. From ancient times there is a connection with the word “seat”, like in “sedile” and a place of importance in society, basically because those were the people who could be seated at a gathering or in front of the emperor, king, pope or higher dignatary. Seats and Chairs described your rank in society. A “cathedral” is technically the chair or seat for a particular Bishop. No cathedral, no bishop. As an example, San Giovanni in Laterano is Rome’s cathedral because it is the chair for the Bishop of Rome, who happens to be the Pope.
    And, just as you said, this used to be a “men only” affair. Until you broke the tradition. Good on you!

    • Tourists of both sexes were wandering in and out, but I did ask before I sat down. A very nice gentleman called Antonino spoke to me for quite a while and was happy to let me get out of the rain.

  3. The trompe l’oeil frescoes in this loggia are stunning. Has any restoration work been done on them or are they original? A perfect retreat for sitting and working on the ipad! Have you been using it for blogging yet?

    • I’m sure work had to be done to clean the frescoes, but they look to be in fairly original condition. I have been using the iPad for most of my recent posts as I have been on the move a bit. I am in Montalcino now. I came down for a festival. There was a very important archery competition which you will see soon.

  4. I love the juxtaposition of the very old frescoes with the sleek iPad. And, hate comment on the glasses, as well, but my Sara has a nearly identical pair.

    • They are cute glasses.

  5. Beautiful spot to blog and that’s a majestic looking coat of arms.

  6. I remember this place -we were told no women allowed, it’s good to see you convinced them to break that rule.

    • I didn’t have any trouble at all, perhaps it was the rain and they felt sorry for me.

  7. So glad you made it back to Sorrento/Amalfi Coast. I am filled with longing for a return. Sedile Dominova is quite amazing. I hope you tried the profuma di sorrento flovour gelato at Bouganvillea and Inn Buffalito restaurant…
    Ciao, Maria Luisa

    • I didn’t try the gelato, but there is always next year.

  8. I see this post above from mia sorella, we were there last fall for language school and though Tony Bennett may have left his in San Francisco, I left mine in Sorrento! Thanks for the posts and photos…I am traveling vicariously with you! Marianna

    • The whole Napoli/Amalfi area is gorgeous. There is no wonder people have been flocking there for centuries.

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