One of the gems of the Amalfi coast is Ravello, 350 meters above sea level, where the light effects and magical architecture create a vision of rare intensity. Its name is immortalized in Boccaccio’s Decameron.
Famous for its tranquil and serene atmosphere, Ravello offers architectural gems of rare elegance. The 11th century Duomo, dedicated to San Pantaleone, is rich with artistic treasures like the grand bronze central door adorned with 54 panels. To the right of the Cathedral a square tower marks the entrance to Villa Rufolo. Immersed in a verdant park of exotic and mediterranean flora, the original structure dates back to the 13th century; and even today some of its arab-siculian architecture is evident. The polychromatic arabesque colonnade is splendid. The garden is one of the most beautiful in Campania.
Nature and man’s touch compete to create a highly evocative atmosphere: villas lined by lime trees and cypresses, cascades of flowers. From the belvedere the sea seems infinite. Each summer, in the gardens of the villa, the concerts of the Ravello Festival are held. Wagner’s inspiration for the Klingsor Garden, in his opera Parsifal, came from the gardens of Villa Rufolo. Notable is the brand new Oscar Niemeyer Auditorium, which enriches Ravello’s already exceptional music scene.
Villa Cimbrone was, originally, a simple hut. It was bought in 1904 by Ernest William Beckett, who transformed into an exceptionally fascinating Villa. It has hosted many celebrated personalities, from Winston Churchill to Greta Garbo. There is a very special feeling in the cloister of the villa, still showing elements of the ancient arab-sicilian style it was built in. The belvedere is a terrace that gives on to infinity, and has no equal in the world. San Giovanni del Toro and Santa Maria a Gradillo churches, both built in the 12th century, also merit a visit. The San Giovanni del Toro church has a pulpit rich in mosaic decorations. The Coral Museum, which exhibits coral, cameos, decorated mother-of-pearl and shells from Roman times to the 1900’s, is also interesting.