Amalfi is a town in a dramatic natural setting below steep cliffs on Italy’s southwest coast. Between the 9th and 11th centuries, it was the seat of a powerful maritime republic. The Arab-Norman Sant'Andrea cathedral at the heart of town, with its striped Byzantine facade, survives from this era. The Museo Arsenale Amalfi is a medieval shipyard-turned-exhibition space.
Positano is a sophisticated resort town today and the jewel of southern Italy's iconic Amalfi Coast. Steep slopes covered in pedestrian lanes and sweet-scented wisteria face out onto the Sirenuse Islands. The village abounds with smart boutiques selling lemon-themed ceramics and artisan leather sandals. Sample fresh seafood and earthy wines at the town's countless romantic restaurants.
Villa Rufolo - Ravello
Villa Rufolo is a villa within the historic center of Ravello which overlooks the front of the cathedral square. The initial layout dates from the 12th century, with extensive remodeling in the 19th century.
Originally belonging to the powerful and wealthy Rufolo family who excelled in commerce (a Landolfo Rufolo has been immortalized by Boccaccio in the Decameron).
Around the middle of the nineteenth century it was sold to the Scotsman Francis Neville Reid who took care of a general restoration, resulting in today's layout.
Villa Cimbrone - Ravello
Villa Cimbrone is a historic villa in Ravello. Dating from at least the 11th century, it is famous for its scenic belvedere, the Terrazza dell'Infinito (Terrace of Infinity). Much altered and extended in the early 20th century by Ernest William Beckett (later Lord Grimthorpe), the villa is today composed of many salvaged architectural elements from other parts of Italy and elsewhere; little of the original structure remains visible.
The gardens were redeveloped by Beckett at the same time. The villa is now a hotel but its gardens are open to the public.
Ravello - A brief history
Ravello was founded in the 5th century as a shelter place against the barbarian invasions which marked the end of the Western Roman Empire. In 1086, at the request of the Italo-Norman count Roger Borsa, who wished to create a counterweight to the powerful Duchy of Amalfi, Pope Victor III made Ravello the seat of a diocese immediately subject to the Holy See, with territory split off from that of the archdiocese of Amalfi. Early on, the bishops of Ravello all came from patrician families of the city, showing the church's municipalized character.
In the 12th century, Ravello had some 25,000 inhabitants, and it retains a number of palazzi of the mercantile nobility, the Rufolo, d'Aflitto, Confalone, and Della Marra.