Villa Cimbrone (Ravello) – Valle del Dragone – Atrani -Civita -Villa Rufolo (Ravello)
Duration: 5,6 km
travel time: 3h 30′
Path – 300 meters in altitude that, traveled without haste and with several stops, are hardly felt. Many panoramic points and a wealth of historical and artistic testimonies. Approach and logistics – From Salerno or Sorrento, crossroads for Ravello near Atrani. From Angri (A3 motorway) through the Chiunzi Pass. At the beginning and end of the walk in Atrani, you can use public transport: SITA bus stop in Atrani, ferry in Amalfi (1.0 km) Services and refreshments – Bars and restaurants in Ravello and Atrani. Possibility of bathing in Amalfi and Atrani or in the nearby beach of Castiglione. For visits to the Rufolo and Cimbrone Villas, see details on the following pages.
The road that connects the towns of the Amalfi Coast is a relatively recent work. Before its construction, the traffic used, when it did not take place by sea, of mule tracks or paths built along steep slopes with long steps. The walk between Ravello and Atrani retraces some of them. In Ravello, in Piazza Duomo, it is easy to identify the entrance to the Villa Rufulo in correspondence with a showy tower. To the right of the Villa, take via San Francesco and, after passing the first deviation to the right, and the next to the left, go up a slightly sloping flight of steps. After passing the portico of the San Francesco convent, at the next deviation, on the left, take via Santa Chiara, to follow up to Villa Cimbrone to admire its gardens: first intermediate stop. Leaving the Villa, go back to the square, continue keeping to the left until you reach the rear side of the church of Santa Maria a Gradillo . After a few steps you go down to the left along the stairs of via Sigilgaida. You go down until you reach the road, to go up to the steps that cuts two hairpin bends. A few meters further down, other stairs lead to a block of flats. After crossing the building thanks to an underpass, you reach the road that leads to Pontone. Continue to go down to the left and, at the confluence with the road that goes up from Amalfi, continue downwards, up to a large bend overlooked by a ceramic workshop. Further on you leave the road to follow a wide and comfortable pedestrian street, marked by a little evident indication <<to Amalfi>>.
You enter the Dragone Valley which takes its name from the stream that crosses it. With a vaguely wild appearance, the valley was home to the ancient industrial area of Atrani (presence of the ruins of mills, pasta factories and paper mills for the entire journey). Along the way down you leave, on the left, the rock church of San Michele ” outside the walls “, which in the seventeenth century was used for the mass and hasty burial of the victims of the plague. Further on, we arrive at the Carmine church near which the remains of the ancient walls of Atrani and one of its gates are visible. The village of Atrani begins with its labyrinth of alleys and stairs. You are free to choose the path that attracts the most: the important thing is to always go down towards the sea to Piazzetta Umberto I where the church of San Salvatore de ‘Birecto is located which, in the ducal era, hosted the investiture ceremony of the Amalfi regents. The uphill return towards Ravello begins from the square in Trani. Behind the fountain take via Francesco Maria Pansa before reaching the road, turn left and follow the stairs that lead to the churchyard of Santa Maria Maddalena. Here you turn left and immediately right to take the staircase along which Mauritius Cornelis Escher, famous Dutch graphic designer of the last century, loved to linger.
A few minutes and you cross the village of Castiglione (short detour to the church of Santi Filippo and Giacomo) and continue to the left following a steep flight of stairs. Once on the asphalted road, cross it and start climbing again until you reach the rock wall on which the Terrace of the Infinity of Villa Cimbrone rests. The road you have reached must be taken to the right. After passing the sanctuary of Saints Cosma and Damiano, you reach via della Repubblica which from Ravelloporta to the hamlet of Torello.
The first records of Villa Cimbro-ne date back to the 11th century. Its no me takes its name from the rocky ridge on which it rests, in the past part of a farm called “Cimbronium”. The patrician villa originally belonged to the Acconciajoco family, later to the Fusco family, related to the Pitti of Florence and the D’Angiò of Naples. There is little information regarding the villa around the seventeenth century. It is assumed that at the time it was incorporated into the nearby monastery of Santa Chiara of the 11th century. Towards the end of the 19th century, Ernest William Beckett, a British citizen who became Lord Grimthorpe, was thrilled. In 1904 he bought it and started transforming the places. The garden was partially redesigned with the addition of small temples, pavilions, stone and bronze statues. The villa, in more recent times, has had countless illustrious guests. The visitor may be pleased to know that, walking in the gardens, he will find himself following in the footsteps of Forster, Strachey, Keynes, Moore, Russel, Elliot, Crick, Piaget, Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, the Dukes of Kent, Churchill, to name but a few. The strong point of the villa is the Infinity Terrace which offers a panorama that is difficult to forget. You will also hear “endlessly” that the famous love escape of Greta Garbo with Leopold Stokowsky took place in the villa.
Telephone: +39 089857459 – Opening hours: summer 9.00 – 20.00 winter: 9.00 – sunset – Admission fee
The origins of Villa Rufolo date back to the 11th century and had its moment of greatest importance during the Aragonese period. The villa takes its name from the homonymous family who owned it for a long time. When the Rufolo family fell, the site passed to the Confalone and Muscettola families and, finally, to the D’Afflitto di Scala in the 18th century. A period of gradual decline followed until in 1851 the Scotsman Francis Nevile Reid bought the complex consisting of the villa itself and the large and unique adjoining gardens.He entrusted the restoration work to Michele Ruggiero who was subsequently also director of the excavations of Pompeii. The villa is currently managed by the Ravello Foundation. Since 1953 its gardens have become the seat of the Ravello Festival, an annual classical music event of international appeal.
Telephone: +39 089 857621 – Opening hours: summer 9.00 – 20.00 Winter 9.00 – sunset – Admission fee.