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

Manoj Kumar (2 years ago)
Nice place. Great view
William Eldredge (2 years ago)
Nice way to spend a few hot hours in the shade.
Susan Mcclymont (2 years ago)
Lovely grounds and amazing views over the Amalfi coast
Dee Summerill (2 years ago)
Didn't seem a lot to see for 6 EUR. Pretty but small.
Andy McCarroll (2 years ago)
One of the most breathtaking and picturesque places we could ever imagine
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