Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone are the two must-see villas of Ravello. Together with the stunning views from the village, they are what make Ravello world-famous today.
The Villa was built in the 13th century for the Rufolo family. Since then it’s also been the home of several popes including King Robert of Anjou and it was bought and restored in the 19th century by a Scottish botanist, Sir Francis Neville Reid.
Over the years, it has inspired many artists from Boccaccio, who wrote about the Villa in his masterpiece the Decameron, and the musician Wagner to who one of the gardens was his source of inspiration.
The 11th century ‘Villa Cimbrone’ was created by Ernest Beckett, a British banker, who transformed a ruined farmhouse into a fortified palace with towers, battlements and a mixture of Arabic, Venetian and Gothic details, and a garden which sits between the house and the cliff edge.
We chose to drive and park in one of the private parking lots. You are not allowed to park in the village but you will find loads of people try to park on the streets. However, these roads streets are ‘coastal roads’ and therefore quite narrow so we wouldn’t run the risk.
Ravello is quite small so its perfect for an afternoon trip. We found we had plenty of time to visit both Villas and to still enjoy a cup of coffee in the main square.
Villa Rufolo as seen by us
Villa Rufolo was our first stop as the entrance is by the main square. The Villa is a mansion built on three floors, including a chapel with numerous columns.
When entering you are welcomed by the Moorish cloister and two towers, both overlooking the garden.
The main tower, Torre Maggiore, is now an interactive museum of all the art, archaeological finds, and ceramics linked to the Villa. The garden surrounds the Villa and is home to the perfect view of the coast.
Monica’s parents Sabato and Adele, married in Ravello and had their photo taken in the Villa’s garden which proved to be a stunning location for their wedding photos. The garden also plays centre stage to one of the most important yearly orchestral concert festivals, The ‘Ravello Festival‘. The entire tour and walk around took us around an hour.
Villa Cimbrone as seen by us
Having left Villa Rufolo we started our walk uphill to Villa Cimbrone. The walk itself is pleasant as you get to see the old town, the local shops, and walk through the little streets.
From Villa Rufolo it took us around 10 minutes on foot. Today, the Villa is a 5-star hotel and its private gardens can only be accessed by purchasing a ticket.
From the entrance, you will find a long path that runs through the middle of the gardens and takes you to the ‘Belvedere of Infinity’. A terrace with marble busts all along and which overlooks the most stunning view of the coast.
Having admired the view we then toured the rest of the gardens which offer you an opportunity to admire both the Gulf of Salerno and also the mountain ranges. There is also a lovely small bar where you can sit and have a coffee and light refreshments.
If you plan to stay with us, you’re in luck as its just a 35-minute drive from Villa Di Martino. By car take the right exiting Via Orazio and second exit to the roundabout following the signs to Corbara. From Corbara follow the signs, staying on the SP1 road, to Ravello.
If you plan to go by bus, bear in mind the bus journey can take you up to 2 hours. From outside Villa Orazio, walk to ‘Caseificio Saturno’. On the opposite side of the road, there is a bus stop from where you can get the 5010 direction Minori, which is also the last stop. One in Minori take the bus 5120 direction Amalfi and stop in Castiglione. From there you can reach Ravello in only around 30 minutes’ walk.
How much does it cost?
Villa Rufolo is open every day from 9 am (the museum in the main tower opens at 10 am) until 6 pm (last entry 5:30 pm).
Villa Cimbrone gardens are open from 9 am until sunset.
Ravello is one of the special local places we visit every time we go back to Villa Di Martino.
With it being so close to Villa Di Martino and away from the crowds of tourists, it makes the perfect place to have a relaxing time while at the same time enjoying all its beauty. Also, the view you get of the Amalfi Coast and the mountains from Ravello can’t be likened by any other place in Campania.
Photos by Monica
Looking ahead and want to plan your next trip? Make sure to check out our apartments via our ‘Stay with us’ section! We’d love to welcome you to our Italian home!