Villa Rufolo

Ravello, Italy

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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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

John (2 years ago)
This was a great experience, and we had a great time. When you arrive here, it’s a little deceptive as it appears you’re paying €7 just to get into the tower. However, there are actually extensive and lovely gardens to visit too. We would definitely come back here, as the views are amazing!
Malek Abdel-Fattah (2 years ago)
A beautiful and sprawling historic villa featuring panoramic views from the top of Ravello, including beautiful gardens, a mix of ancient Roman and Arab-influenced European architecture as different parts of the villa have been renovated over the years. Some beautiful artwork throughout also, including the beautiful Alvero Della Vita (tree of life) ceramic exhibit created by modern women artists. Definitely worth a visit.
Ant Wirjo (2 years ago)
Lovely villa with beautiful gardens and views of the coast line and other nearby villas. Walking around the villa really gives you a feel of what living in opulence feels like! Entrance fee was around 7€, they accept cash or credit. Overall recommend allocating about 30 mins - 1hr here to walk around, explore, and take in the views.
Ha-SAN AKAI (2 years ago)
Amazing villa with outstanding views overlooking the Amalfi coast. It has a very rich history and you will feel like you are transported back in time. The yard and the garden are well maintained and beautiful. Many spots for taking pictures for a lifetime of memories.
Kitty van Meurs (2 years ago)
Villa Rufolo was a hidden treasure in a rather tiny but attractive village. A Moorish castle with an attractive garden and probably the best view over the sea! One little remark to the lady who sells the tickets: madame, I understand that you don't have the most interesting job in the world, but selling tickets while constantly talking to friends/family through your cellphone, hardly noticing the visitors itself, is very rude.
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