Capri – Villa San Michele
“I want my house to be open to sun and wind and the voice of the sea, like a Greek temple, and light, light, light everywhere”
The words of Alex Munthe, Swedish physician, when he fell in love with the idyllic island of Capri off the Amalfi Coast.
He wanted to create a home for the soul, because
“the soul needs more space than the body”.
Villa San Michele, the home he created, is surrounded by an impressive garden, colonnades, pergolas and cypress trees with a view that extends forever. Behind the villa, in the Barbarossa mountain, Axel Munthe created a sanctuary for migratory birds. A place to rest on their journey from one continent to another.
Henry James, who visited the villa, wrote that it is “a creation of the most fantastic beauty, poetry and inutility that I have ever seen clustered together.”
Ravello, Villas Cimbrone & Rufolo
The two other stunning villas we’ll visit during our May 2019 tour to Puglia and the Amalfi coast are located in one of my favourite places on earth, Ravello. Perched high above the Mediterranean Sea, where the perfume of lemon blossoms and the spectacular scenery combine to seduce the visitor. Here, we’ll find the Villa Cimbrone with its expansive gardens and dramatic views from the belvedere, known as the Terrace of Infinity.
Terrace of Infinity, Villa Cimbrone, Ravello
Its origins date back to the 11th century. The villa and gardens were extensively renovated by Lord Grimthorpe in the early 20th century. It became a popular retreat for London’s famed Bloomsbury Group. Other notable guess included Winston Churchill and D.H. Lawrence. It’s a view , once seen, impossible to forget.
Next, Villa Rufolo, the historical and cultural centre of the beautiful town of Ravello. Built in the 13th century the villa and its owner featured in Boccaccio’s Decamaron, published in 1353.
Scottish botanist, Sir Francis Neville Reid, fell in love with its Moorish towers and expansive views and in 1851 began an extensive renovation of its rooms and gardens.
View from Villa Rufolo, Ravello
Visiting the villa in 1880 Richard Wagner was so inspired by the gardens he lingered in Ravello long enough to complete the second act of his opera Parsifal. The spirit of Wagner remains as Ravello has become known as the ‘city of music’. It hosts an annual summer concert series on a stage built jutting out over the Mediterranean Sea with the rugged Amalfi Coast below.
The Amalfi Coast deserves to be on everyone’s bucket-list. Why wait? Join us in May and discover for yourself the enchantments of these three stunningly beautiful villas and the towns in which they are located. Space for the soul, indeed.