Villa Cimbrone gardens in Ravello

Published in Focus
31 January 2018

Looking over infinity among eighteenth-century marbles and rose gardens in bloom


A true example of an English garden within the Mediterranean atmosphere. Villa Cimbrone, with its six hectares of greenery overlooking the sea of ​​the Amalfi Coast, in the town of Ravello, is one of the most desired destinations for those who want to immerse themselves in the Italian “Dolce vita”.

Originally it was the home of some noble families of Ravello, which then went downhill. Starting from 1904, it was recovered by a cultured and refined English traveller: Ernest William Beckett, Lord Grimthorpe, who, thanks to the fertility of the land, gathered together the best English experiences for setting up a garden, with the precious help of the English gardener Vita Sackville-West.

In this immense garden, the Anglo-Saxon culture of the gardens is combined with the Italian one, in a perfect synthesis. A walk in the Viale dell'Immenso is a must: you walk under a dense arbor of wisteria sinensis, a wisteria with beautiful flower bunches. Among rows of pines and sycamore trees, spots of colorful hydrangeas can be seen, as well as a rare exotic plant: a recumbent nolina which has been proudly displaying for 150 years.

You finally reach the Infinity Terrace, embellished with eighteenth-century marble busts, from where you can admire the beauty of the coastline, but also the Mediterranean, with broom bushes alternating with copious lemon groves. Disseminated on the path of the large garden, there are valuable architectural and marble grafts. A Bacchus, intent in doing a propitiatory dance with its bunches of grapes, is inserted in a classic temple. The scent of lavender bushes floods the air all around.

We can also go up a shadier path, among chestnut trees, alders and holm oaks, and reach the Grotta di Eva, a natural cave with a marble sculpture, depicting Eve, by Adamo Tadolini, a pupil of Antonio Canova. Or push ourselves towards an area where wild orchids bloom spontaneously in spring.

Further up a bronze statue representing David welcomes us, set in a garden adorned with an odorous boxwood. Not far a portion of land welcomes fat and exotic plants.

Enclosed in balustrades in Arabian style, there is the roses terrace: a multicolored rose garden, arranged in geometric flowerbeds, which bloom spectacularly between May and October. Here too we find some marble elements that make the atmosphere very special: Flora, goddess of flowers and spring, Leda with the swan, two wrestlers, peep out among the lush greenery.

Leaving behind us an open pavilion, with a very original workmanship with elements from the Roman era, we arrive at an avenue bordered by hydrangeas with flowerbeds of multicolored peonies, espaliers of giant dahlias, magnolia trees, ginko biloba and viburnum box hedges, but also with a delicate banksiana rose with fragrant flowers. You walk under a pergola supported by large circular columns in brick, in Renaissance and Medici style.

The ancient residence is now a luxury hotel, but the garden can be visited all year round, from 9 am to sunset. You can experience a special day of happiness in  a place with a rarefied atmosphere.

Via Santa Chiara, 26, Ravello (Salerno). T: 089.857459.


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