We The Italians | Italian gardens and parks: Villa Cimbrone, Ravello

Italian gardens and parks: Villa Cimbrone, Ravello

Italian gardens and parks: Villa Cimbrone, Ravello

  • WTI Magazine #169 Nov 17, 2023
  • 533

Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, quaint town in the province of Salerno, is a historic building built on a rocky promontory overlooking the Amalfi Coast and largely occupied by an extensive park decorated with statues, antiques, fountains, caves and culminating in a belvedere. It draws the origins of its name from the rocky ridge on which it stands, once part of a large estate of over 8 hectares of lush vegetation, called "Cimbronium".

In the late 60's Marco Vuilleumier, with deep tenacity, was responsible for the recovery, preservation and protection of the Villa. The gardens are characterized by the dominant and strategic position and especially for rare and precious leveled farmland in contrast to the steep slopes of the surrounding area.

Very important was the intervention of the famous English landscape gardener Vita Sackville West, a friend of Gertrude Jekyll, whose precious botanical texts are still preserved in the private library of the Villa. Driven in part by some preexisting grounds, the gardens were set up following the aesthetic concepts of English architects and landscapers, skillfully organizing different spaces and paths that branch off from the main axis, which consists of a renaissance avenue.

The Temple and the statue of Ceres mark the end of the Avenue and the entrance to the famous "Terrace of Infinity", which by its position has earned the designation of "The Gate of the Sun". From this point the view descends from the mountains of Cilento to the tip of Licosa on the Amalfi Coast. The bronze of David, built by the Neapolitan sculptor Joachim Varlese, in imitation of that of Verrocchio, is close to a wonderful "rock garden" full of succulents and exotic plants, following a sinuous boxwood ("Buxus sempervirens" ) driveway.

Garden and plants

The Garden looks full of different areas such as the crypt, the temple of Bacchus, the Cave of Eva, the Terrace of the roses, the Tea Room Pavilion and the Avenue of hydrangeas.

Most of the tree species present in Villa Cimbrone have about 100 years, except for some "Pinus Pinea" and a precious example of "Nolina recurvata" implanted around the middle of 1800. Other notable examples are a "Phoenix canariensis", about 12 meters high, and several "Cycas revoluta" about a century old. The shady "Avenue of the Immense" was built in the early decades of the seventeenth century and is covered in its initial part by a thick canopy of "Wisteria sinensis" whose fragrant bunches in full bloom can measure up to 6 ft.