Ravello’s Visitors & Residents

1841 – John Ruskin arriving at Capo d’Orso (coming over the mountain from Pagani and first seeing the coast) exclaimed:

“Never before have I seen anything that can even compare”

1851 – Sir Francis Neville Reid (Scottish Botanist/Art Collector and owner of Villa Rufolo)

1880 – Richard Wagner (Composer) referring to the garden re-designed by Sir Francis Neville Reid exclaimed:

“The Garden of Klingsor is found”

And it was here that he completed his final opera Parsifal.

1884 – Edvard Grieg (Composer for Ibsen’s Peer Gynt). Rostropovich (Cellist)

1902 – André Gide (Author/Nobel Prize for Lit in 1947) writes L’Immoraliste (The Immoralist):

“Ravello is closer to the sky than the shore”

1904 – Lord Grimthorpe (owner of Villa Cimbrone) welcomed many guests to the villa such as the Bloomsbury Group which included Vanessa Bell, Virginia and Leonard Woolf, EM Forster, the writer/critic Lytton Strachey, the economist JM Keynes, the philosopher Bertrand Russell (1950 Nobel Prize for Literature), TS Elliot (1948 Nobel Prize for Literature). Various works were inspired by these visits such as Forster’s The Story of A Panic (Collected Short Stories 1947). The poet/author/gardener Vita Sackville-West was also a guest and DH Lawrence wrote:

“Lost to a world in which I crave no part, I sit alone and commune with my heart. Pleased with my little corner of earth, glad to have come, not sorry to depart”.

(Lawrence’s version of Cattalus’ “Lost to the world of which I desire no part, I sit alone and speak to my heart, satisfied with my little corner of the world, content to feel no more sadness for death.”)

1923 – M C Escher (Dutch Graphic Artist) develops his Labyrinthine Style.

  • 1926 King Umberto II di Savoia
  • 1929 King Farouk, Arturo Toscanini
  • 1931 Hungarian Royal Family
  • 1938 Sir Alexander Fleming (Nobel Prize for Penicillin), Margot Fonteyn (Ballet Dancer), Greta Garbo, Rosalind Russell (Actress), Leopold Stokowski (Conductor)
  • 1953 John Huston (Film Director), Gina Lollobrigida, Humphrey Bogart
  • 1962 Jacqueline Kennedy
  • 1978 Ronald Reagan
  • 1988 James Donnelly
  • 1989 Claudia Cardinale, Giorgio Albertazzi (Author)
  • 1991 Princess Maria Gabriella di Savoia, Honourable Giulio Andreotti (Former PM), Peter O’Toole
  • 1993 Dustin Hoffman
  • 1994 Wim Wenders (Film Director)
  • 1995 Diane Keaton

Authors Thomas Mann and Graham Greene have also visited the town (Greene wrote the screenplay The Third Man whilst staying at the Caruso). Playwright Tennessee Williams has also visited.

The 1950s film “Beat the Devil” directed by John Huston was shot largely around Ravello, with some great black and white shots (Robert Capa). It starred Humphrey Bogart, Gina Lollabrigida, Robert Morley and Peter Lorre.

Pasolini’s 1970 Decameron was shot partly in Ravello.

Heads of State have included Winston Churchill, Luigi Einaudi, Françoise Mitterand and Gerhard Schroeder:

“A wonderful journey through history and geography. Once again Italy shows the unequalled merit of knowing how to balance architecture, nature, colour, “art de vivre”

Author/Critic Gore Vidal lived in Ravello from the 1970s until 2005 at Villa Rondinaia:

“The most beautiful place that I have seen in the world, in all my travels is the view from Villa Cimbrone’s belvedere on a luminous winter day when sky and sea are so vividly light blue that it is impossible to tell them apart.”

Vidal welcomed numerous artists, actors (Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Paul Newman) and political figures (Jacqueline Kennedy – a relative – and Hillary Clinton in 1994).

The film Mr & Mrs Smith with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie was partly shot in Ravello in 2004 and Woody Harrelson (Cheers, Natural Born Killers, Indecent Proposal, No Country For Old Men) named his third daughter Ravello after her birthplace.

More recent visitors include the singer Alicia Keys (2006), REM, Rod Stewart, Lenny Kravitz, Chad Smith (Drummer, Red Hot Chilli Peppers) and actors Harrison Ford, Roger Moore, Nicholas Cage and Mel Gibson (2007).

2008 visitors to Ravello and/or the Amalfi Coast included the King & Queen of Sweden, The Agnelli Family, Edward Norton, Jessica Biel & Justin Timberlake and Guy Ritchie (Film Director).  In 2009, Winona Ryder, Duffy (Singer), Gary Lineker (married in Ravello), Dan Fante (Author), Mark Knopfler, Noel Gallagher, J Lo & Naomi Campbell, Alicia Keys, Pierce Brosnan & Family.

2010: John Malkovich (The Infernal Comedy)