Ravello is situated at an altitude of 360 meter, high above the Amalfi Coast.
In the fall of the Roman Empire many Roman aristocrats, were seeking protection against the incursions of the barbarians from the north. They built settlements which today are Ravello and Scala and brought so many of their traditions to the poorer south of Italy.
Also at the time of the Maritime Republic Ravello was a refuge for its opponents.
In its glory years under the counts of Anjou Ravello counted thirteen churches, four convents and numerous palaces.
In recent times, it mostly acquired the reputation of an artists village. Its main occupants include: Richard Wagner, Maurits Escher (see the etching right) and Virginia Woolf.
In the Decamerone Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) dedicated a full story on one Landolfo Rufolo.
""He was rich, but wanted more. He was pirate, shipwrecked, but was rescued. He returned to Ravello, where he built a villa and lived on 'honorably' until his death "
The Villa Rufolo was built in the 13th century by the family Rufolo and architecture includes Arab and Sicilian influences. In the 18th century monastery buildings were added, the gardens were built in the 19th century.
The first mention of the Villa Cimbrone dates from the 11th century. The name refers to the rock on which the villa was built (Cimbronium in Latin).
At the end of the 19th century it was owned by the Englishman Ernest William Beckett.
In 1960 it was sold again and converted to a hotel. Only the gardens are open to the public (see belvedere on the picture)