Here are some quick tidbits to help you get to know Ravello a little better.
Ravello’s history was initially tied up with the Maritime Republic of Amalfi. It enjoyed strong economic growth as part of the Amalfi Republic, until 1081 when the town refused to support Amalfi in its betrayal of the Norman King Roberto Il Guiscardo in 1081, electing their own Doge. Ravello received the appellation of “Rebellum” by the Amalfi population. However on this occasion, it had the support of Pope Vittore III who redeemed it from subordination to Amalfi, making it a bishop’s palace and subsequently making it an Episcopal seat.
A flourishing Mediterranean trade link between Arabs and Byzantines meant that Ravello prospered. Its many exotic visitors left a great number of artistic treasures of churches and villas that can be seen today. In 1137 Bernardo da Chiaravalle described the city as “… ancient, well fortified and impregnable, as well as being opulent it is so beautiful that it can easily be numbered among the first and most noble cities…”
The town that was once part of the Republic of Amalfi, is now a peaceful historic village popular with tourists and honeymooners, renown for its spectacular vistas, gardens and summer concerts.
In the 18th and 19th century, Ravello became a great favourite among writers and artists who made it as one of their key destinations on their Grand Tour of southern Italy.
Artists, poets, musicians and film stars have beaten a path to Italy’s stunning Amalfi Coast for decades and it’s not difficult to understand why.
The German composer Wagner used the view as inspiration for his opera Parsifal, while writers DH Lawrence, MC Escher, Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams fell in love with the town.
Many others came here to hide away from the glare of publicity.
Noted American author Gore Vidal lived and wrote in Ravello (Villa Rondinaia or Swallow’s Nest) for 30 years, eventually becoming an honorary citizen. According to him, here you’ll find the world’s most beautiful panorama.
“The magical garden of Klingsor is found!” – these words were pronounced by Richard Wagner in 1880 when he walked into the garden of Villa Rufolo in Ravello.
“The view from there, for me, is the most beautiful of all”, in regards to Villa Cimbrone.
Tuscan Renaissance writer Giovanni Boccaccio wrote: “This is the most pleasant region in Italy, a coast dotted by small towns, gardens and fountains… and men rich and profitable in the art of trade and other. Amongst the towns there is one called Ravello”
“Twenty five years ago I was asked by an American magazine what was the most beautiful place that I had ever seen in all my travels and I said the view from the belvedere of the Villa Cimbrone on a bright winter’s day when the sky and the sea were each so vividly blue that it was not possible to tell one from the other.”
“A wonderful place from which to observe the end of the world.”
“When I’m away, I think about Ravello all the time. Knowing I can come back here makes the road bearable.”
“Often, when the orchestra plays Wagner, the full moon rises above the mountains in the east, their profile recalling a dragon’s head reclining gently on the beach, while the birds of Ravello, who after all these years are particularly musical birds, trill their counterpoint from high up in the dark pine trees.”
“The Day of Judgement, for those amalfitans that will go to the Paradise, it will be a day like all the others.”
“Ravello is closer to the sky than to the seashore.”
“Never before have I seen anything that can even compare” – in 1841 at first seeing the coast.
“Lost to a world in which I crave no part, I sit alone and commune with my heart. Pleased with my little corner of earth, glad to have come, not sorry to depart.” – adaptation of a Catullus verse from around 60 BC
“A wonderful journey through history and geography. Once again Italy shows the unequalled merit of knowing how to balance architecture, nature, colour, “art de vivre.”
Bernardo da Chiaravalle:
In 1137 Bernardo da Chiaravalle described the city as “… ancient, well fortified and impregnable, as well as being opulent it is so beautiful that it can easily be numbered among the first and most noble cities…”
“The road to Ravello full of beauty and grandeur; Ravello itself unlike anything I ever beheld.” William’s journal is quoted by his son Wilkie Collins in the biography he wrote of his father Memoirs of William Collins, R.A. published in 1848.
“If there is still some remembrance of the lost Paradise among us, that is Ravello, suspended between sky and sea and full of poetry that nature and art provided for the joy of men.” Il Messaggero, August 15, 1959
- Country: Italy
- Region: Campania
- Province: Salerno (SA)
- Hamlets: Sambuco, Torello, Castiglione, Marmorata, San Cosma, San Pietro alla Costa, Monte, Casa Bianca
- Mayor: Salvatore Di Martino
- Area: 7,94 km2 (3 sq mi)
- Elevation: 365 m (1,198 ft)
- Population: 2,500
- Density: 310/km2(920/sq mi)
- Demonym: Ravellesi
- Time zone: CET (UTC+1)
- Summer: CEST (UTC+2)
- Postal Code: 84010
- Dialing Code: 089
- Patron Saint: St. Pantaleon
- Saint Day: July 27
- Site: comune.ravello.sa.it