Ravello, one of the jewels of the Amalfi Coast, a Unesco World Heritage Site, perched on a rock at a height of 350 m above sea level, overlooking all the gulf of Salerno, offers a spectacular panoramic view of rare intensity. Of its beautiful views and indescribable landscapes, the writer Andre Gide has given us a splendid and synthetic description: “Ravello is nearer to the sky than it is to the shore.”
For centuries the beauty of the place has attracted many travelers, intellectuals and artists of all nationalities, who have found inspiration for their work in the peace and tranquillity of these areas. Giovanni Boccaccio, for example, charmed by the beauties of these places, described them in his work “Decameron”. Lawrence wrote here some pages of his “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” and Wagner imagined that the magnificent gardens of Villa Rufolo were the magic garden of Klingsor in his masterpiece “Parsifal”.
Residence for the Roman patricians, Ravello had its heyday between the tenth and thirteenth centuries when it enjoyed a good economic development as a part of the Amalfi Republic. It then became an economic power, seat of flourishing textile industries with a very intensive maritime trade.
The city has a very quiet, silent atmosphere that enchants all the people coming to visit it and offers architectural gems of rare elegance. One of these is the Cathedral, built in 1087, with its three ancient marble portals. The central one is closed by the famous and beautiful bronze door created in 1179, composed of 54 panels representing the Passion and scenes of the Saints. Also the inside with the nave and the two aisles is magnificently decorated. On the left of the altar there is a chapel of S. Pantaleone, where the Saint’s relics and a reliquary containing his blood are preserved. Every year his blood liquefies on July 27th in the anniversary of his martyrdom.
Ravello boasts beautiful villas, as Villa Rufolo, built in the XIII century, very famous for its terrace on the sea. In fact it is a complex of buildings set on a terrace overlooking the sea. Its charm reaches its zenith in the lovely garden so loved by Wagner.
Of equally great fascination is Villa Cimbrone, with its elements of Arab-Sicilian style, built in the twentieth century and commissioned by an English nobleman. The beauty of the villa consists in its gardens decorated by statues, busts and marble groups. The charm of the terrace has earned it the nickname “terrace of Infinity”, from which the eye sweeps up to lose in the blue limpidity of the sky and the sea.
Every year, in summer the International Music Festival of Ravello, famous festival of classical music with visual arts and films, is held in various locations including the beautiful gardens of Villa Rufolo and the Central Auditorium Oscar Niemeyer, one of the most important contemporary architectural works.
With its cobbled streets, its workshops where artisans have handed down for centuries the fine art of ceramic, beautiful villas, architectural masterpieces and breathtaking viewpoints full of magic atmosphere, Ravello enchants its visitors.