Not so much a hotel as an exclusive private villa offering accommodation to the most discerning guests. Just a short walk from the centre of the village, at one of the highest points in Ravello, this venue is a secret paradise surrounded by magnificent gardens and grounds. The villa, which has 20 beautifully-decorated rooms featuring period furniture, boasts Hollywood film actress among its most-famous guests over the years. In fact a wall plaque proudly declares the stunning Swedish star’s famous – and famously romantic – assignation with conductor Leopold Stokowski in 1938. D.H. Lawrence, among many other luminaries, chose this venue to ‘commune with my heart’ as he wrote in a verse carved in stone in one of the delightful garden grottoes. The villa is also where he wrote much of his famous work ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’. Virginia Woolf hosted a summer salon for the Bloomsbury Set accompanied by her sometime lover Vita Sackville-West who is believed to have helped plan the villa’s magnificent gardens. The villa’s gardens are considered the most beautiful –and some say the most eccentric – formal gardens in Ravello.
Originally an 11th Century patrician villa, the Villa was acquired at the turn of the 20th Century by a somewhat eccentric English Lord, who spent his fortune on restoring the old palace and surrounds.Assisted by a talented local lady designer, he created a neo-classical, Victorian ‘folly’ of a landscaped, sculpted, harmonious set of gardens.
A mini-temple is dedicated to the ancient God of Revels, Bacchus, and a sunken grotto is dedicated to Eve, the original temptress. A sublime wisteria-arcaded walk leads down to an immense belvedere terrace with Roman busts lining the balcony parapet from which the terrace offers breathtaking and unparalleled views out over an infinite blue-blue sea and sky. The utterly impressive panorama stretches as far as the range of mountains along the Cilento Coast on the southern arc of the Gulf of Salerno. This ‘Terrace of Infinity’ is a wonderful setting for aperitifs for the bride and groom and their wedding party.
Receptions are custom-made to the wishes of the bridal couple and held in the enchanting gardens or in the atmospheric Gothic-style vaulted Crypt, both of which offer a unique setting and enticing vistas as guests enjoy the venue’s excellent Mediterranean cuisine and impeccable level of service and attention to detail.
The venue is equally suited to smaller and larger wedding groups and offers a fabulous setting for Jewish, Protestant and symbolic wedding ceremonies.
The owners, the Vuillemier family, and their staff are long practiced in the art (and science) of hosting every bride and groom’s ‘special day’. This villa is a completely unique and distinctive venue and offers an enchanting setting for an unforgettable fairytale event.