The Villa Rufolo, which overlooks the Piazza Vescovado, is the historical and cultural center of Ravello. Built by a wealthy merchant family in the 13th century, the Villa Rufolo has a rich and storied past. Boccaccio, one of the earliest authors of the Italian renaissance, wrote a story about the villa and its owner in his Decameron, which was published in 1353.

In its prime, it was one of the largest and most expensive villas on the Amalfi Coast, and legends grew about hidden treasure on its premises. In the 14th century the Rufolo family hosted banquets for King Robert II of Naples and other Norman royalty.

When Sir Francis Neville Reid, a Scottish botanist, visited the villa in 1851, age and neglect had taken a toll on the villa and many of the rooms had fallen into ruin. Reid, however, fell in love with the Moorish towers and the expansive views. He purchased the villa and began an extensive renovation of the gardens and the remaining rooms.

When Richard Wagner, the famous German composer, visited the villa in 1880 he was so impressed by what he saw that he famously exclaimed, “I have discovered Klingsor’s garden.” Wagner, who was 67 years old at the time of his visit, was so inspired that he stayed in Ravello long enough to write the second act of Parsifal, an opera that he had been working on for over two decades. If he had not visited the Villa Rufolo, he might never have completed the opera, for he died just three years later.

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Details

Founded: 13th century
Category: Historic city squares, old towns and villages in Italy

More Information

www.ravello.com

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Milica Tomasevic (7 months ago)
I would like to be positive but I can't, unfortunately. So disappointed by missing the fresh flowers in the pots, almost everything look like abandoned. Apart from an amazing view that you can almost face it outside of the villa, not worth to visit.
maria nikopoulou (8 months ago)
One of the diamonds of Ravello. The most magnificent gardens you have experienced with the best view of costiera amalfitana. Perfect spot to read and relax for 6 euro. The inside of the villa is quite empty and there are very few furniture but the trademark is definitely the gardens. During summer it hosts classical concerts which should be delightful. I also loved that they have a video room where they play films of photos from the 60’s and provide information about famous people that connected with Ravello.
Rusty Sears (8 months ago)
Beautiful views. Interesting history. Worth the price of entry. Great place for panoramic pictures with you and your loved ones. Accessible tower with an even higher vantage point.
Tt Fox (9 months ago)
A beautiful place to visit, with a nice 360 degrees view of the area on top of the tower. The garden is nice to walk through or sitting relax on one of the wooden benches to enjoy the view. We had some seniors with us, which received some senior discount.
Mark Aa (9 months ago)
Very beautiful villa and gardens! We spent a hot summer day there in August 2018 and really enjoyed it. There’s an amazing overlook from the top that’s worth visiting too. You might want to get some refreshments in a small bar by the gardens (it’s a bit pricy though).
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