Simploring 2020 (22) Rocca Sorrentina, 1790: Italy and the “Grand Tour”

I picked Rocca Sorrentina for my simploring tour on Tuesday, February 18th, from scoop.it SL Destinations. What caught my eye was a picture of it in a blogpost written in Japanese. I checked if there were other blogposts about Rocca Sorrentina – and there were many! Inara Pey has visited it back in 2016 “A visit to the 18th Century in Second Life” and wrote that her “only regret is that it has taken me five years to discover it“. Hence it took over 9 years for me to discover this classic place in Second Life.

Rocca Sorrentina is a project of Brown University, featuring a representation of a fictitious but historically-plausible 18th century island community, located in the Bay of Naples, off the coast of the Sorrento region in southern Italy. Rocca Sorrentina is an approach to interpret and better understand various aspects of the Enlightenment and the era of the “Grand Tour” as they were manifested in Italy in the latter part of the 1700’s.

Rocca Sorrentina splits into three areas:
– a skybox with the information center and changing exhibitions
– the island, a fictitious but historically-plausible 18th century island community
– the surrounding Bay of Naples

I started my visit in the skybox where I landed next to a information board that gives out 9 (!) notecards packed with information. I used a lot of this information in my blogpost. But there’s more to discover in the landing skybox. I first visited an exhibition named “Nettuno”, which is Neptune in Italian.

Rocca Sorrentina – in the landing skybox: Information board, entrance to the Information Center (upper left) / Impressions of the exhibtion “Nettuno”

Ancient gods and goddesses of mythology still capture the imagination.  The title of our latest exhibit, Nettuno, is Neptune in Italian. Neptune, the Roman God of the sea, is known as Poseidon in Greek mythology.  Neptune was also the god of horses and the patron of horse racing. Often in mythology, gods were paired with female consorts. In Neptune’s case his Roman consort was named Salacia. Curiously, much of the research done for this exhibit show Salacia paired with Neptune but using her Greek name of Amphitrite. The exhibit contains a small sampling of various works of art showing Neptune’s godly power – and you can grab more ingormation about the exhibits by notecards.

There’s another exhibtion in the landing skybox, the “Grand Tour” and I visited this one next. I personally never heard about the “Grand Tour” before. The “Grand Tour” meant different things to different people over time.  As it is most commonly understood, it was a coming-of-age educational experience involving extended travel to the continent – mostly through France and Italy – that primarily benefited young, affluent Englishmen from the late 17th century until the time of the French Revolution.

Rocca Sorrentina – in the landing skybox: The “Grand Tour” – a very educational exhibtion

The “Grand Tour” provides a lot of information about the journeys of young people through Italy and France in the 17th and 18th century. Actually just visiting this exhibit will occupy you for at least an hour if not more, just like a visit to a museum in real Life. Honestly I postponed a longer visit.

Rocca Sorrentina – Information center in the landing skybox (upper pictures) / landing at the island (lower pictures)

Finally I went to the Information Center where you could spent a lot of time as well getting even more information. I decided to start my visit to Rocca Sorrentina on the ground level. In one of the information notecards, actually in the first from the information board is an orientation map of Rocca Sorrentina and I matched it with a bird eye view. The Harbor Master Island and the Lighthouse Island belong to the neighour sim “Bay of Naples”.

Rocca Sorrentina – orientation map and bird eye view

The buildings on the island  reflect the complex society and the diverse architecture of southern Italy in the 1780’s and 1790’s. There are the small shops of 18th century tradesmen, a dock area displaying merchant ships of the period, ancient ruins, fortifications, a grand villa (with chambers underneath which house a set of “En Garde” pistes that all are welcome to use), an underground cavern and lake, and a number of private residences that are marked with a “Residenza Privata” sign. You’re asked not to enter these private areas.

Rocca Sorrentina is not a roleplay sim, although there is roleplay activity. If you take part of roleplays you’re asked to wear a human avatar and appropriate 18th century clothing (well, anything else wouldn’t make any sense *winks*). I just visited and kept my sexy black latex outfit, but I was all alone during my visit aside of the figures that are used to liven up the scenery at Rocca Sorrentina.

Rocca Sorrentina – The Villa Vesuviana

I first went to the largest and dominating building: The Villa Vesuviana, a grand house residence inspired by Andrea Palladio’s famous Villa Capra La Rotonda and its surrounding gardens, which functions as a government house and main public building for events. The villa is very impressive with it big cupola and all the paintings at the walls. It clearly documents the wealth of at least some citizens of that time. Please be aware that there are also private apartments on the second floor.

Rocca Sorrentina – vineyard, Villa vigna, curch and obelisk

I visited the vineyard, the Villa vigna, the curch and the great lawn with the obelisk before I had a look at the Accademia di Sorrentina with its lecture hall and library (through which electronic versions of important 18th century publications may be accessed). On the second floor you find the Cabinet of Curiosities, representing the broad range of interests being studied by enlightenment-era scholars and gifted amateurs.

20200218 Rocca Sorrentina_056
Rocca Sorrentina – The Accademia di Sorrentina

I explored the harbour area and docks along with several shops and the taverna. The shops depict 18th century trades and wares, some of which sell era-appropriate items. There are also SL shops which sell 18th century clothing, home furnishings, and other items appropriate for life on the island. I saw the Shrine of Santa Maria Stella Maris and visited the Anfiteatro, inspired by the Bosco Parassio in Rome, where concerts, plays and poetry readings may be presented. And I went to beach, the fountains “The Cascade”, the Fortezza (a late Renaissance Spanish fortification), the watch tower and the Coffee House.

Rocca Sorrentina – The Cascade, the Shrine of Santa Maria Stella Maris, the Anfiteatro and the taverna

Finally I visited the Lighthouse island and went up to the lighthouse tower where you have a great view over Rocca Sorrentina and the Bay of Naples. I also played with the windlight setting and took a few pictures at night, which changed the atmosphere quite impressively.
I’m still a bit surprised that it took more then 9 years for me to come across Rocca Sorrentina considering how much you can learn and discover there. Once again the variety and the possiblities of Second Life impressed me.

Rocca Sorrentina – view from the Lighthouse Island and 2 pictures of Rocca Sorrentina at night

Rocca Sorrentina was originally the result of the vision, creativity and hard work of CapabilityTodd Elswitt and Blue Revolution. They are, however, no longer the owners. The current owners and managers who may be contacted with questions and comments, or for rental inquiries are: Aldo Stern, Serenek Timeless, Lady Leena Fandango, Candace Ducatillon, Nimue Brezoianu and Una (unalunaqat). Thank you all for your passionate work to keep Rocca Sorrentina available to the SL community. I did enjoy my first extended visit a lot.

Landmark to Rocca Sorrentina (Skybox with information center and exhibitions)
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Rocca%20Sorrentina/86/162/2802
Landmark to Rocca Sorrentina docks
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Rocca%20Sorrentina/56/232/22
Inara Pey’s post “A visit to the 18th Century in Second Life”
https://modemworld.me/2016/03/29/a-visit-to-the-18th-century-in-second-life/