On the same piazza del Vescovado which the Cathedral overlooks, rises the plain entrance tower, of the magnificent Villa Rufolo, whose ancient function was that of watch-tower. The Villa, whose original construction dates from 1200AD, belonged, of course, to the powerful Rufolo family, to the Confalone, the Muscettola, to the D'Afflitto and, finally, to the Scot Francis Neville Reid.
It could equally be described as the visionary creation of an English lord or the invention of a visionary lord. Its history is controversial, but the result is incontrovertibly fascinating. Villa Cimbrone's site, like its name, is ancient: it was a large possession of land belonging to the noble Accongiagioco family, on which stood a vast rustic farmhouse.
The city's Cathedral, which is also the city's heart, was built in 1087 on the central piazza del Vescovado, by the wishes of Nicolò Rufolo, and was consecrated by Orso Papice, the first bishop of Ravello. The facade has three ancient marble portal: the central one is closed by the famous bronze door created in 1179 by Barisano da Trani.
Designed by the Brazilian architect ten years ago, the Auditorium Oscar Niemeyer, inaugurated in January 2010, occupies a steep slope overlooking the splendid panorama afforded by Ravello. The whole site covers 1500 square metres and includes an auditorium seating 400 spectators, a semicircular stage and a recording studio. Access to the auditorium is across an elongated concourse, and on arrival you are confronted both by splendid views of the coastline and by the surprising building itself.