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Villa Tritone is in Sorrento, the land of the Syrens. The house and the garden stand on the top of a headland fronting a sheer drop to the sea, facing out towards Naples and the Vesuvius.
Long before Wagner, Ibsen, or Byron discovered its delights, the Sorrento peninsula attracted powerful and perceptive visitors.
On the I century A.D. Agrippa Postumus, grandson of Emperor Augustus built a fine villa in the same place where is now Villa Tritone, and Ovidius was one of its first eminent visitors.
On the site, on the thirteenth century was built a convent for nuns belonging to an enclosed order. Later on, at the end of the sixteenth century, after a destructive invasion by the Saracens, the place was rebuilt by Dominican priests, which started to cultivate the garden, bringing the first citrus fruits trees from the Middle East. At that time, in 1577, Torquato Tasso, Sorrento's foremost poet, author of "Jerusalem Delivered", shared his torments with the prior of the monastery.
In 1888 count Labonia, a distinguished collector of antiquities and friend of Schliemann, the excavator of Troy, bought the site and began to built the present house which he called "Aux roches grises", recalling the grey rocks on which the house stands.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, William Waldorf Astor bought the house and, where once was the convent, he designed the garden, behind the villa and on either side, encircled by walls and balustrades, to protect this private green oasis of palms, oranges, cycas, cypresses, eucalyptus, pines.
Secret paths and allčes run through the lush vegetation revealing statues, urns, fountains and glimpses of sea and sky through the windows cut out in the high wall along the seaward side.
Today it is the home of Rita and Mariano Pane and their family.
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