Villa Cimbrone

Top choice gardens in Ravello

If you could bottle up a take-away image of the Amalfi, it might be the view from the Belvedere of Infinity, classical busts in the foreground, craggy coast splashed with pastel-shaded villages in the background. It's yours to admire at this refashioned 11th-century villa (now an upmarket hotel) with sublime gardens. Open to the public, the gardens were mainly created by a British peer, Ernest Beckett, who reconfigured them with rose-beds, temples and a Moorish pavilion in the early 1900s.

The villa (also owned by Beckett) was something of a bohemian retreat in its early days; it was frequented by Greta Garbo and her lover Leopold Stokowski as a secret hideaway. Other illustrious former guests include Virginia Woolf, Winston Churchill, DH Lawrence and Salvador Dalí. The house and gardens sit atop a crag a 10-minute walk south of Piazza Duomo.


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