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

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User Reviews

Milica Tomasevic (2 years 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 (2 years 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 (2 years 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 (2 years 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 (2 years 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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Beckov Castle

The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.

The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.

The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.

The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.

Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.

The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.