Thursday, October 6, 2011

Giardino - Villa Cimbrone

Returning to Ravello, we were raving about the beautiful gardens we'd explored the day before.  The driver thought we were talking about Villa Cimbrone. What?  There is another Garden of Paradise in this same medieval town?

Turns out Villa Cimbrone was originally built around the same time as Rufalo (11th century).  Two splendid castles like this must have lent themselves to countless intrigues.

While Rufalo was returned to it's former splendour by a wealthy Scottish industrialist, Cimbrone was revitalized by an aristocratic Brit.  He must have plundered the countryside for Roman relics, they are all over the grounds.

Vita Sackville-West was a one-time visitor, although long before she designed her famous White Garden.
Many famous visitors came to the villa during the Beckett family's ownership. It was a favourite haunt of the Bloomsbury Group, including Virginia Woolf, Leonard Woolf, E. M. Forster, John Maynard Keynes, and Lytton Strachey. Other visitors included D. H. Lawrence, Vita Sackville-West, Edward James, Diana Mosley, Henry Moore, T. S. Eliot, Jean Piaget, Winston Churchill and the Duke and Duchess of Kent. The actress Greta Garbo and her then-lover, the conductor Leopold Stokowski, stayed at the villa several times in the late 1930s; (Wikipedia)

We only had an hour or so here, I could have spent the entire day.  Beckett, the wealthy Brit,  died in London in 1917, asked his remains be placed at the Temple of Bachus, overlooking the sea, with this inscription:

Oh what is more blest than when the mind,
Cares dispelled, puts down its burden
And we return, tired from our travelling, to our home
To rest on the bed we have longed for?

Home is where the heart is.

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