Villa Rufolo is a cliff top palatial estate of towers, exotic plants, and terraced gardens with outstanding views of the Gulf of Salerno. It was built in the 13th century for the powerful Rufolo family and has played host to popes and royalty.
As you walk around the villa soak up its architectural details. There have been several changes over the years and gothic, Arabic and Norman influences can be seen in its structure and decoration.
Enter the villa’s grounds through the grand tower, the Torre d’Ingresso. Look up and inside the tower’s domed roof to see the interlocking arches. This is a design motif used throughout the villa. Walk along the tree-lined avenue to the cloister, a Moorish courtyard enclosed by arches.
The highpoint of a visit to Villa Rufolo is the beautiful tiered gardens. Enjoy the colors and scents of thousands of blooms. The German composer Richard Wagner was so enamored by the gardens that they inspired the creation of the magic garden of Klingsor in his Parsifal opera.
Every summer the gardens are one of the settings of the Ravello Festival, an internationally famous series of music and dance events. Art exhibitions are also held here periodically throughout the year. For details of Villa Rufolo’s program of cultural activities check out its official website.
See the archeological ruins of the Balnea, a spa area with Turkish and mineral spring water baths. Observe the remains of water ducts and the ribbed domed ceiling.
Make your way to the Belvedere, the English-style garden with manicured flowerbeds and views out to sea. This is the setting for the main classical music concerts of the Ravello Festival.
Villa Rufolo is situated in the center of Ravello, just off the main Piazza del Vescovado. It is adjacent to the cathedral. The villa and gardens are open daily and there is an admission fee.