Characters who were here

who lived in the villa and walked in this magnificent building?



The Rufolo Family

Tradition has it that the Rufolo family, one of the leading dynasties in Southern Italy during the second half of the 13th century, descended from Rutilius Rufus, a statesman in the 2nd century BC who campaigned on behalf of military tribunes in the Pretorian army. The first information we have concerning the Rufolo family in Ravello dates from the 9th century. They owned land in the northern part of the town and were of a certain social standing: Giovanni Rufolo was Bishop of Ravello from 1150 until his death in 1209. Over this half century the family would surely have enhanced its status, and a few years later Nicola Rufolo married one of the most powerful women in the South of Italy, Sigilgaida Della Marra, sister of Angelo I, treasurer and fiscal supervisor to Federico II.

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Giovanni Boccaccio

Born in Certaldo or Florence in 1313, Giovanni Boccaccio was the illegitimate son of a Florentine merchant. He went to Naples to learn the art of trade but he spent a lot of time with intellectuals at the court of the king Roberto d’Angiò. In 1350 he met Francesco Petrarca with whom he had a devoted friendship. Between 1349 and 1353 Boccaccio started to write the Decameron, a collection of novellas containing 100 tales told by a group pf seven young women and three young men sheltering in a secluded villa just outside Florence to escape the Black Death. Landolfo Rufolo, a rich merchant who was the owner of the villa in Ravello, inspired the fourth story of the second day in the first volume of the Decameron. Boccaccio died in Certaldo in 1375.

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Francis Neville Reid

Born in 1826 in London by a Scottish descent, Francis Nevile Reid arrived in Naples in 1845 after the death of the mother. He stayed at the home of the haunt Lady Carmichael. He married her daughter Sophia Caroline and in 1851 he bought the abandoned and ruined villa Rufolo in Ravello. In collaboration with the architect Michele Ruggiero and the gardener Luigi Cicalese, he restored the villa and the gardens according to his romantic and eclectic ideas. Thanks to his interest for botany, Reid designed its gardens and planted exotic trees and rare flowers. He was an art collector and a member of an Archaeological Commission. He wrote the first travel guide of Ravello in English, printed posthumous in 1909 by John Murray. He died in 1892.

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Luigi Cicalese

Born in Ravello in 1852, Luigi Cicalese was the pupil of Francis Nevile Reid. He became an extraordinary gardener commissioned by Francis Nevile Reid to take care of the gardens and the villa Rufolo. Cicalese was also a dear friend of Reid. Cicalese had twelve children and decided to emigrate to Australia to seek his fortune, but Reid asked him to remain in Campania and gave a camera to stimulate him to learn the art. Cicalese became the first professional photographer and editor of postcards in Ravello. The result was that over almost forty years the “Reid’s gardener” captured innumerable images of Ravello proposing them to the more and more tourists. Cicalese died in 1932 in Ravello and his activities were taken over by the son Charles.

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Richard Wagner

A musician enchanted by Villa Rufolo. Born in Lipsia in 1813, Richard Wagner was a composer, theatre director, polemicist. He wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his stage works. Wagner theorized the romantic idea of the “Gesamtkunstwerk”, that is the total work of art. He realized this idea in the first half of the four-opera cycle “The Ring of the Nibelung”. In 1874 he completed this tetralogy that was represented two years later at the theatre of Bayreuth, built on the basis of a project by the same Wagner. Wagner stayed in the Villa Rufolo in 1880 where he was charmed by the garden, known as “the garden of the soul”, and recognized in this place the garden of Klingsor that he described in his opera “Parsifal”. Wagner died in Venice in 1883.

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Thematic Galleries

Multimedia materials

I Principi di Piemonte assistono alla rievocazione wagneriana.

Watch the video at:http://www.archivioluce.com/archivio/jsp/schede/videoPlayer.jsp?tipologia=&id=&physDoc=4690&db=cinematograficoCINEGIORNALI&findIt=false&section=/

Vita del Presidente Einaudi a Ravello.

Panoramica di Ravello e del suo mare; manifesti di saluto dei ravellesi verso Einaudi; un ragazzo offre dei fiori ad Einaudi; il sindaco di Ravello accompagna Einaudi indicando le bellezze del luogo; Einaudi ed il suo ospite tra i vicoli della cittadina; Einaudi, dall'alto, osserva il mare.
Watch the video at:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42-rrh4EFaQ

References

  • C_01: Autografo di Richard Wagner lasciato dal musicista nel 1880 all’Hotel Palumbo, da AA. VV., I Profumi di Reid Uno scavo archeologico a Villa Rufolo e la vita di un inglese nella Ravello dell’Ottocento, Napoli 1999, pag. 52 – Richard Wagner’s signature, made during his visit in 1889 at Palumbo Hotel, published in VV.AA., I Profumi di Reid Uno scavo archeologico a Villa Rufolo e la vita di un inglese nella Ravello dell’Ottocento, Naples 1999, page 52
  • C_02: Lapide commemorativa del Comune di Ravello in onore di Francis Nevile Reid e Sophia Carolina Gibson Carmichael da AA. VV., I Profumi di Reid Uno scavo archeologico a Villa Rufolo e la vita di un inglese nella Ravello dell’Ottocento, Napoli 1999, pag. 52 – Commeorative Stone by Ravello Council for Francis Nevile Reid and Sophia Bibson Carmichael, published in VV.AA., I Profumi di Reid Uno scavo archeologico a Villa Rufolo e la vita di un inglese nella Ravello dell’Ottocento, Naples 1999, page 52
  • C_03: Luigi Cicalese da AA. VV., I Profumi di Reid Uno scavo archeologico a Villa Rufolo e la vita di un inglese nella Ravello dell’Ottocento, Napoli 1999, pag. 109 – Luigi Cicalese, published in VV.AA., I Profumi di Reid Uno scavo archeologico a Villa Rufolo e la vita di un inglese nella Ravello dell’Ottocento, Naples 1999, page 109
  • C_04: Francis Nevile Reid, elaborazione della foto seguente – Francis Nevile Reid, artistic rendition of the following photo
  • C_05: Francis Nevile Reid, Fotografia d’epoca (Bingham Phot., 58 rue de Larochefoucauld, Ginevra, Archivio private famiglia Reid, Ross-shire, Scozia, da AA. VV., I Profumi di Reid Uno scavo archeologico a Villa Rufolo e la vita di un inglese nella Ravello dell’Ottocento, Napoli 1999, pag. 32 – Francis Nevile Reid, An ancient photo (Bingham Phot., 58 rue de Larochefoucauld, Geneva), Family Reid’s  Archive, Ross-Shire, Scotland, published in VV.AA., I Profumi di Reid Uno scavo archeologico a Villa Rufolo e la vita di un inglese nella Ravello dell’Ottocento, Naples 1999, page 32
  • C_06: Sophia Carolina Gibson moglie di Francis Nevile Reid, Fotografia d’epoca (Bingham Phot., 58 rue de Larochefoucauld, Ginevra, Archivio private famiglia Reid, Ross-shire, Scozia, da AA. VV., I Profumi di Reid Uno scavo archeologico a Villa Rufolo e la vita di un inglese nella Ravello dell’Ottocento, Napoli 1999, pag. 32 – Sophia Carolina Gibson, Francis Nevile Reid’s wife, an ancient photo (Bingham Phot., 58 rue de Larochefoucauld, Geneva), Family Reid’s  Archive, Ross-Shire, Scotland, published in VV.AA., I Profumi di Reid Uno scavo archeologico a Villa Rufolo e la vita di un inglese nella Ravello dell’Ottocento, Naples 1999, page 32
  • C_07: Sir William e Lady Carmichael, suoceri di Francis Nevile Reid, Fotografia d’epoca (Bingham Phot., 58 rue de Larochefoucauld, Ginevra, Archivio private famiglia Reid, Ross-shire, Scozia, da AA. VV., I Profumi di Reid Uno scavo archeologico a Villa Rufolo e la vita di un inglese nella Ravello dell’Ottocento, Napoli 1999, pag. 32 – Sir William and Lady Carmichael, parents in law of Francis Nevile Reid, an ancient photo (Bingham Phot., 58 rue de Larochefoucauld, Geneva), Family Reid’s  Archive, Ross-Shire, Scotland, published in  VV.AA., I Profumi di Reid Uno scavo archeologico a Villa Rufolo e la vita di un inglese nella Ravello dell’Ottocento, Naples 1999, page 32
  • C_08: Tomba  di Francis Nevile Reid e della sorellae Henrietta Cecilia Reid a Ravello, da AA. VV., I Profumi di Reid Uno scavo archeologico a Villa Rufolo e la vita di un inglese nella Ravello dell’Ottocento, Napoli 1999, pag. 32 – Tomb of Francis Nevile REid and his sister Henrietta Cecilia Reid at Ravello, published in  VV.AA., I Profumi di Reid Uno scavo archeologico a Villa Rufolo e la vita di un inglese nella Ravello dell’Ottocento, Naples 1999, page 32
  • C_09: Tomba di Lugi Cicalese a Ravello, da AA. VV., I Profumi di Reid Uno scavo archeologico a Villa Rufolo e la vita di un inglese nella Ravello dell’Ottocento, Napoli 1999, pag. 32 – Luigi Cicalese’s Tomb at Ravello, published in  VV.AA., I Profumi di Reid Uno scavo archeologico a Villa Rufolo e la vita di un inglese nella Ravello dell’Ottocento, Naples 1999, page 32