Its quiet charm and tran­quil­lity and its splen­did ar­chi­tec­ture have made many a com­poser, pain­ter and ac­tor fall in love. A mu­si­cal city on the Amalfi coast, it hosts the sum­mer fes­ti­val ded­i­cated to Wag­ner

Where Naples Coast & Islands - - CONTENTS -

A mu­si­cal city on the Amalfi coast that with its quiet charm has made many artists fall in love

Ajewel on the Amalfi coast whose quiet charm and tran­quil­ity, small pic­turesque roads, splen­did gar­dens and Ara­bian-Si­cil­ian ar­chi­tec­ture re­call its pe­riod of max­i­mum splen­dour, when in, 200 A.D., its in­hab­i­tants ben­e­fit­ted from the trade be­tween the East and Si­cily. Ravello is far re­moved from the in­tense life which is com­mon to other coastal cen­tres. Sit­u­ated high up in the moun­tains, Ravello is like a ter­race (stand­ing at an al­ti­tude of 350 me­tres) over­look­ing the Gulf of Salerno.The favourite haunt of jet­set­ting tourists, over the cen­turies, its beauty has in­spired many fa­mous artists in­clud­ing Ar­turo Toscanini, Leonard Bern­stein, Mirò, Escher, Boc­cac­cio (who de­scribed it in one of the novel­las of his De­cameron) and Richard Wag­ner, who lived there and likened the gar­den of Villa Ru­folo to that of the Kling­sor in his Par­si­fal. It is in hon­our of the Ger­man com­poser that, ev­ery year, the town of­fers vis­i­tors a mul­ti­tude of con­certs and the emo­tions of a nat­u­ral par­adise, over­look­ing the deep blue wa­ters of the sea. Where takes you on a jour­ney to dis­cover the ex­tra­or­di­nary charm of Ravello’s myr­iad beau­ties. In the square that still bears his name, the Duomo, ded­i­cated to Saint

Pan­ta­le­one, was founded in 1086 by the first bishop of Ravello. The beau­ti­ful fa­cade, graced by three mar­ble por­tals, was re­worked in the 16th cen­tury and is fa­mous for its bronze doors which were de­signed by Barisano da Trani in 1179 and cast in Con­stantino­ple. Its in­te­rior was heav­ily mod­i­fied in 900 when, dur­ing restora­tion works, its 18th cen­tury re­fur­bish­ments, vaults and stuc­cos were re­moved. The crypt houses a small mu­seum where you can ad­mire sculp­tures and jew­elry dat­ing back to var­i­ous eras (089858311). Also sit­u­ated in pi­azza Duomo is the fa­mous Co­ral Mu­seum founded in 1986 by Gior­gio Filo­camo to pre­serve the pre­cious her­itage of the an­cient arte­facts passed down by his fam­ily. Those vis­it­ing mu­seum might be lucky enough to take home a branch of co­ral which, as Gior­gio Filo­camo sug­gests, should be red, bro­ken and given as a gift (089857461 www. museodel­co­rallo.it).

Pi­azza Duomo leads to Villa Ru­folo, a se­ries of build­ings, of clear Is­lamic in­flu­ence, perched on a ter­race over­look­ing the sea. The ter­raced gar­dens of Villa Ru­folo open onto spec­tac­u­lar views of the beau­ti­ful Amalfi Coast, em­brac­ing sea and sky and moun­tains. It is here that the fa­mous Ravello Fes­ti­val, ded­i­cated to the com­poser, is cel­e­brated. Known as the “gar­den of the soul”, it oc­cu­pies two lev­els and can be ac­cessed along a Victorian-style, tree-lined path (089857621 www.vil­laru­folo.it). A few steps away from pi­azza Duomo is the Au­di­to­rium Os­car Niemeyer, named af­ter the Brazil­ian ar­chi­tect who de­signed it. To­day, the Au­di­to­rium hosts con­certs and shows, at­tract­ing a vast au­di­ence with its 400 seats (089858360).

By walk­ing along via San Francesco and then via Santa Chiara you will reach Villa Cim­brone. Lo­cated in a splen­did panoramic po­si­tion and sur­rounded by lav­ish gar­dens, it was built by Wil­liam Beck­ett, one of the many English trav­ellers who re­mained spell­bound by the beauty of Ravello. An un­for­get­table set­ting, it fea­tures a meld of di­verse styles and eras. The villa’s lush gar­den, brim­ming over with stat­ues, small tem­ples and nat­u­ral caves, is con­sid­ered one of the most important ex­am­ples of Bri­tish land­scapes and botan­i­cal cul­ture in South­ern Europe. The high point of its lux­u­ri­ants gar­dens, quite lit­er­ally, is the In­finito belvedere, whose set­ting was de­scribed by Gore Vi­dal as one of “the most beau­ti­ful in the world”, of­fer­ing vis­i­tors a mag­nif­i­cent view that stretches from Atrani as far as Punta Li­cosa (089857459 www.vil­lacim­brone.it).

Ravello is also renowned for its delectable cui­sine in­fused with fresh, lo­cal in­gre­di­ents. Veg­eta­bles and herbs, such as rose­mary and oregano, are fre­quently used to en­hance its mouth wa­ter­ing dishes. An ab­so­lute ‘must-try’ are its ‘scialatielli served with seafood and fresh toma­toes. Ravello’s desserts are also ex­tremely eclec­tic, en­riched by the sweet­ness of honey, dried fruit and the scent of le­mon which pair per­fectly with that of cin­na­mon and orange blos­som. Make sure to end your meal on a high note with a glass of iced limon­cello.


Villa Cim­brone, court­yard

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Italy

© PressReader. All rights reserved.