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Fodor's Italy 2014
Villa Cimbrone Review
To the west of Ravello's main square, a somewhat hilly 15-minute walk along Via San Francesco brings you to Ravello's showstopper, the Villa Cimbrone, whose dazzling gardens perch 1,500 feet above the sea. The ultimate aerie, this medieval-style fantasy was created in 1905 by England's Lord Grimthorpe and made world-famous in the 1930s when Greta Garbo found sanctuary from the press here. The Gothic castello-palazzo sits amid idyllic gardens that are divided by the grand Alleé of Immensity, leading in turn to the literal high point of any trip to the Amalfi Coast—the Belvedere dell'Infinità (Belvedere of Infinity). This grand stone parapet, adorned with amusing stone busts, overlooks the entire Bay of Salerno and frames a panorama the late writer Gore Vidal, a longtime Ravello resident, described as the most beautiful in the world. The name Cimbrone derives from the rocky ridge on which the villa stands, first colonized by the ancient Romans and hailed as Cimbronium back then. The villa itself is now a five-star hotel.
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