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Ravello History
was founded in the 6th century A.d. by Roman colonies who arrived on the shores of the coast searching for high ground from where the could defend themselves against the aggression of their attackers, the invading Unni, Goti, Visigoti and Longobardi people.  These new inhabitants of Ravello recognized the fundamental need to trade and so sailed ships containing their merchandise (mainly cloth) to the Orient.  This proved to be very successful economically for the people of the area.  The noble families that grew up built great palaces, castles and churches, (approximately 80 in all).   Ravello, from the time it truly established itself, found rivalry from nearly Amalfi.  In fact it was probably the people of Amalfi who first named this town ‘’Rabellum’’ or ‘’Ravellum’’ both names deriving from the world ‘ribbelarsi’ which in English means ‘to rebel’.   Ravello at its most wealthy had a population of approximately 40,000,  but crisis after crisis followed in the form of internal conflict, earthquakes, pestilence and invasion from the Saracens. 

 Villa Rufolo - Ravello
Next to the tunnel which takes us away from the main square, we can see the main tower of the Villa Rufolo, the most important monument of art and antiquity in Ravello.  This palace villa was the dwelling place of the noble Rufolo family in the 11th century.  Giovanni Boccaccio the famous Italian writer also spoke of this family and of Ravello in his book ‘’Decamerone’’.  Situated at the entrance of the Villa there is the smaller of the two towers and is moorish in it's style of architecture.  It's function in days gone by was purely ornamental and never for defence purposes.  Taking the avenue leading into the Villa, which is lined with cypress and lime trees, we come to an impressive palatial courtyard.This monument is a unique example of classical art combined with Sicilian, Arabic and Norman styles.  A little further on we can take a set of steps which will take us to the upper level of the gardens where we can observe in the nearby museum some of the relics of families that have inhabited the Villa.  Dominating the gardens is the larger of the two towers (height approx. 30m).  On 26th May 1880 the composer Richard Wagner is recorded as saying ‘’Here I have found the magic garden of Klingsor’’ (for his opera Parsifal).   Every year Ravello, in memory of his visit here, brings together famous Italian and foreign orchestras to perform in the Wagnerian Music festival.  Each orchestra assembles on a specially built platform, which extends from the lower level of these marvellous gardens and appears to be suspended over the sea far below.   The setting is truly spectacular.


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