The architecture is characterized by the Entrance Tower with the straw-yellow surface, probably obtained from the powdered ceramic glazes; the Moorish cloister with small columns supporting pointed arches; the Main tower; the 18th century Garden; the Well; the Turkish bath with Balnea and Theatre; the Dining rooms and Chapel that today hosts art exhibitions and events.
Fondest memory: If you're in any way interested in architecture you won't fail to notice the different influences throughout the villa. I found it intriguing to see how they'd preserved things such as the Moorish arch (see pic 5) and the turkish bath whose roof attracted me.
There are times when touring that you arrive at places and, perhaps because you've seen the image a hundred times before, the gloss is taken off.
Villa Rufolo is not one of those places! No matter how many times you see images it does not fail to enchant.
The first time I visited the dreaded Eurohaze (as we photographers call it) hung about the coast but the next time it was a near perfect day and we felt blessed to be in such a spot on such a day.
Fondest memory: I hope the pictures reflect that sentiment. The flowers in bloom making tracks between historic buildings is something I find enchanting and I'm sure many others feel exactly the same way.
Villa Rufolo takes its name from an ancient family of Ravello, rich and powerful in the times of the Maritime Republic of Amalfi.
The villa suffered through carelessness and degradation until 1851 when the Scottish Francis Neville Reid bought it and brought it and revived its ancient splendor.
In 1880 Wagner, who stayed in the Villa for some time, remained astonished by the extraordinary glamour of the place and it was here he found the inspiration to compose the second act of the "Parsifal". From that time, the Villa continued to attract visitors and artists and personages as Jacqueline Kennedy and Hillary Clinton.
Fondest memory: The gardens of the villa set the scenery for the Ravello Festival. Performances of classic music and ballets of the highest level take place at night, with the orchestra playing on a stage hanging between the sky and the sea.
Favorite thing: Scala is a nice small village located in the mountain in front of Ravello. The most important monument of the village is the Duomo (cathedral) which was built in the 11th century. It has got a romanesque shape and in its interior you can see fantastic sculptures like Il Crocifisso, La Vergine and San Giovanni (the Crucifixion, the Virgin and St.John) made in 1260.
Favorite thing: There's no escaping the impact of Wagner on Ravello - the street leading up from the main square is named after the composer who concertos are played in the Villa Rufolo during the summer months. Such a pretty street too, typical of Ravello with its steps and colourful blooms.
The Belvedere della Principessa di Piemonte, has a stunning view - in clear weather - of the whole gulf of Salerno.
Truly a lovely spot with the gardens in the forefront - an ideal place to rest your legs a while whilst admiring the view.
We reached Ravello by walking down the road from Scala and then up the stepped path to Ravello - a walk of no more than 30 minutes. The entrance to the town is by the church of S.Maria a Gradillo with its 3 naved aisle - see must see section.
Alternatively you can enter through the road tunnel (using the pathway at the side) and admire the view of the Gulf of Salerno as you exit. Turn right and then enter another short tunnel and you will be in the main square of Ravello.
The Duomo - the Cathedral of S. Pantaleone was a favourite church we visited in Ravello. It was erected in 1087 A.D., by the Noble family Rufolo. It can be found in the Piazza Vescovado - you can't mis it.
Check out the must see section for more info of the interior of the duomo and what can be seen.
The gardens of the Villa Cimbrone built in the twentieth century and commissioned by the English nobleman William Bechettare are dotted with statues, grottoes and temples. In the cloister, just on the left of the entrance, there is a bas-relief reproducing the seven deadly sins. The glorious view from its terrace has been coined the "Terrace of Infinity".
Villa Cimbrone: reachable from the town centre in 15 minutes' walk; the rooms have been built at the beginning of the century in neogothic style. visit time: from 9 am to sunset.
In Ravello the Moorish Villa Rufolo is the most famous monument and has glorious semi-tropical gardens. Built approximately in 1280 by one of the richest and most important families in Ravello. It inspired Wagner to imagine Klingsor's magical garden in Parsifal. (This is authentic: Wagner wrote it in the guest book in the Villa Rufolo.)
Villa Rufolo: visit time:
June - Sept. 9.30 am 1 pm and 3 pm - 7 pm; Oct. -May 9.30 am - 1 pm and 3 pm - 5 pm
Favorite thing: The splendid Piazza Vescovado with tall, whispering Pines is the main square in Ravello. A relaxing place to sit and have a drink and view the imposing Cathedral of S. Pantaleone with its beautiful bell-tower which dominates the piazza. See must see section for more info of the cathedral.
Fondest memory: Just as Scala has a great view across to Ravello the same is true of Ravello - it has great views of Scala! From Piazza Vescovado is the best view to Scala - as this was where we were staying, it was a memorable view.
A winding road from Amalfi ascends seven kilometres up the "Dragon's Valley" to the hill town of Ravello. It is located on the small escarpment of Monte Lattari and overlooks the coast south towards the Gulf of Salerno, and the town of Amalfi directly below.
Fondest memory: The wonderful sunny climate! Boccaccio, D. H. Lawrence and Wagner are among the "greats" who succumbed to the spell of Ravello. Wagner partly composed his opera "Parsifal" here, and today author Gore Vidal lives and derives inspiration from this charming town.
Fondest memory: With postcard stands and street vendors in the piazza, this is as touristy as Ravello gets. This town is very small and can be visited as a mini side trip from Amalfi. We strolled around the town, saw the incredible views of the Mediterranean, bought an incredible ceramic plate, had lunch and still had time to visit the town of Amalfi below, before heading back to Sorrento.
Favorite thing: Well a few days later the weather was much clearer, less hazy, so chance for a better picture of the Gulf of Salerno from the Belvedere della Principessa di Piemonte.