- Among the pearls of one of the most charming centres in the Amalfi Coast, there are Villa Rufolo, Villa Cimbrone and their enchanting parks. Of an incomparable beauty are also the Cathedral, the Church of San Francesco and the Church of San Giovanni del Toro.
That of Ravello is one of the most beautiful towns in the Amalfi Coast. Particularly suggestive for its wonderful panoramic sights, this small centre is rich in historical, artistic and monumental beauties.
The splendid reality which is on the high part of aridge-line, is rich in history and, thanks to diligent cares, it can keep numerous works of art worth of being visited.
First of all the very ancient Villa Rufolo and the most recent one, but not less famous, Villa Cimbrone. The earliest historical residence was built in the 13th century by the very rich local family of which it brings the name. In it, elements of Arabian architecture mix with elements of clear Norman connotation which ended up to integrate themselves with each other and to give life to an absolutely unique building. Yet, more than by the building itself, visitors are enchanted by the harsh and boundless garden surrounding it.
Even more cured and as suggestive as it, is also the very large park in which Villa Cimbrone is immersed. This one was built in the 20th century – according to the English nobleman William Bechett’s will – but it is characterized by the use of classical and medieval shapes and styles. Inside the park of the Villa we can appreciate busts, marble groups, simpler statues and even some small templedrawing inspiration from the Doric style. Among these ones, there are the temple of Ceres (inside which we can appreciate the marble representation of the ancient goddess) and that of Bacchus (enriched with the presence of a bronze statue of the God of wine besides a reproduction of the David of Vernocchio).
Of a different genre and rich in a different sort of works are the monuments of religious kind. In this field, a relevant place is held by the Cathedral, whose origins date back to the end of the year 1000. Its entrance is made unique by a wonderful bronze portal made in 1174 by Barisano from Trani, and considered as a real masterpiece because composed of 45 different panels representing some scenes of Jesus’ life besides images depicting Saints and warriors. Inside this church, in an apparently essential context, a splendid marble pulpit and an ambo richly decorated with mosaics stand out.
Enchanting are also the Church of San Francesco (outside which we can visit a recently renovated Cloister) and the Church of San Giovanni del Toro, going back to the 12th century and decorated with mosaics similar to those of the Cathedral, besides by frescos of the 14th century.
Considered as an ideal destination to ensure pleasant stays to intellectuals, artists and writers, Ravello also gave hospitality to the famous musician Richard Wagner, besides Klingsor (who drew the attention of the German collective imagery of the 19th century), from whom also writers such as Mann and Hesse would have drawn their inspiration.