In this 12th-century home of the aristocratic Sasso family, Wagner penned part of his opera Parsifal in the 1880s, and in the 1950s the palazzo hosted film star Ingrid Bergman and the director Roberto Rossellini. Formerly part of the adjacent Hotel Palumbo, the property was opened in 1997 as Palazzo Sasso by Sir Richard Branson—the first guests were Placido Domingo and his entourage. Members of the glitterati still drop by the renamed Palazzo Avino, but ordinary
mortals can also sightsee and peek at the gleaming marble lobby (once a chapel), glass elevators, two rooftop hot tubs, and roaring waterfall replete with Playboy Mansion statuary. Traditionalists might find this much glitz in quaint Ravello an affront, but no one will complain about immaculately furnished guest rooms, with the latest computer-operated lighting and air-cooling systems. Even better, the gilded, Empire-style Rossellini restaurant is now among the finest in Campania and offers the latest in regal, nouvelle fare.