What to see in Ravello: Villa Rufolo

What to see in Ravello: Villa Rufolo

The Amalfi coast offers to its visitors an incredible show of art and nature. Here the beauty of the sea is mixed with breathtaking landscapes that attract thousands of visitors especially during the summer period. The city of Ravello is one of the obligatory stops on the coast tour, in particular Villa Rufolo is a spectacular destination you don’t want to miss.

The history of Villa Rufolo

The origins of Villa Rufolo in the late Middle Ages, when the Rufolo family played an important role in Ravello and boasted different properties, including Villa Rufolo. The family swore loyalty to the Angiò, changing part of the family's herald by integrating Angevin symbols and colors, such as red and the three lilies. Despite their position as bankers of the Kingdom, in 1283 the Rufolo were accused of high treason and of several crimes against the Crown and suffered the confiscation of all their assets, including the majestic villa that stood on Ravello. Probably, the move by Prince Charles II was carried out solely with the aim of reinvigorating the coffers of the Kingdom following the economic crisis caused by the war of Vespers.

Villa Rufolo: place of inspiration for different artists

Among the prominent personalities hosted at Villa Rufolo, some have lem an indelible mark to say the least. Boccaccio in his Decameron tells of a certain Landolfo Rufolo and mentions the villa itself in some passages, praising its magnificent garden. Following the decadence of the Rufolo family, the villa passed to the Confalone, Muscettola and D’Afflitto families who were unable to restore the structure to its splendor. It was in the second half of the nineteenth century that Sir Francis Neville Reid bought the now dilapidated Villa Rufolo and carried out a restoration whose work is visible today. Botany expert, Sir Reid worked with particular attention to the garden and terraces. It is said that Wagner recognized the settings of the "magic garden of Klingsor" in Villa Rufolo, not surprisingly it is here that he will compose the second act of Parsifal.

The gardens of Villa Rufolo

The architecture of Villa Rufolo alternates an Arab-Norman style typical of Southern Italy with romantic details deriving from the restoration carried out by Sir Francis Neville Reid. What really attracts many visitors are its immense and well-kept gardens. Renamed Garden of the Soul, the external environment is the real masterpiece of Sir Reid. Conceived as a summer residence, Villa Rufolo boasts several varieties of exotic plants and the gardener of Reid, Luigi Cicalese, took care of the care of numerous native species and a large number of roses, including many specimens of Dijon now lost.

The gardens of Villa Rufolo boast an elaborate irrigation system that made their management particularly efficient despite their large size. The irrigation of the gardens of Villa Rufolo were also a philanthropic work as they were connected to an aqueduct, built at the expense of Reid himself, which brought water from the Tabernacle district to the town of Ravello: the maintenance of the aqueduct it has always been borne by Reid, as well as the public fountain in Piazza Vescovado, still functioning.

How to visit Villa Rufolo

The visit to Villa Rufolo is possible from Monday to Sunday and is carried out only with guided tours lasting about 30 minutes, so the last available entrance is at 19:30. At the villa you can buy the entrance ticket. It is possible to make group visits up to a maximum of 10 people but it is necessary to book the guided tour in advance. The tour includes a visit outside the villa through a one-way route.

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