*Note: This property is now Palazzo Avino
A visit to Palazzo Sasso and the beautiful, historic village of Ravello with its views of lemon trees, olive groves, vineyards and the sea, pastel-colored houses, quaint chapels and gorgeous flowers everywhere, is a trip back to an enchanted time. Palazzo Sasso captures the Italy that has drawn poets, thinkers and romantics. It is so magical in fact, that Richard Wagner was inspired to write part of the Parsifal at the palace in 1880.
The Palazzo opened as a hotel after World War II and many of its original medieval and Baroque features have been retained. The hotel's furnishings are largely from the 18th and 19th centuries. Today it boasts 32 rooms and eleven suites, which are all (and this is rare in Europe) air-conditioned. Most rooms have Jacuzzi baths and all suites have views of the sea, and some with mountain views. On the hotel's sun terrace, guests enjoy two hydro massage plunge pools and there are several panoramic garden terraces for reading and lounging, as well as a swimming pool on one of the terraces. In addition, during the warm summer months, from June to September, all guests are granted exclusive access to a private villa called Sasso by the Sea. Just a downhill walk or quick shuttle ride away, this beachside bungalow features a salt water pool surrounded by lush gardens, shaded cabanas, “relaxation living” rooms, and a small restaurant offering pizzas, seafood, and a full bar. You might get inspired to write an overture or poem yourself!
Every year, as a nod to Wagner, the internationally attended Ravello Music Festival is held in the village, but even during other times there are plenty of things to do and see such as Villa Rufolo, Villa Cimbrone, The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the Roman ruins of Pompeii and Ercolano, the Greek temples of Paestum and the picturesque cliff-hanging villages of Positano, Amalfi and Praiano. Naples, Sorrento and Mount Vesuvius are all within easy reach, so are the islands of Capri ands Ischia.
Writer Gore Vidal was so enamored with the Ravello and its ancient churches and gardens that he has made the village his permanent home and is an honorary citizen. Other famous visitors include Jacqueline Kennedy, Ingrid Bergmann and Roberto Rosselini.
Spend the afternoon enjoying the dolce far niente and let the evening culminate in a terrific Neapolitan dinner by executive chef Pino Lavarra and such entrees as tuna steak served with eggplant pureé, soufflé potato and caper scented sauce, and the spaghetti "alla chitarra" flavored with basil chlorophyll wrapped in swordfish paper, baby squid stew and black olive oil.
When the hotel reopens in March, after its traditional winter solstice, upon arrival, guests will find a "sleeping menu" on their pillow which they can register their preference for bed linen for the remainder of their stay. A guest can opt for a pure linen (Italian, of course), and for those who want the ultimate in slumber decadence, the hotel will make their beds with a Frette 300 thread-count satin. And, if guests want to take decadence to yet another level, they may change to a different linen style every day if they wish.
Reservations at Palazzo can be made by calling Palazzo Sasso at +39 089 81 81 81. Please, visit the website at www.palazzosasso.com.
(Updated: 08/06/13 CT)