– In Ravello the scaffolding from the facades of Villa Episcopio, residence of Vittorio Emanuele III in 1944 and of Jacqueline Kennedy in the summer of 1962, is removed. The ancient palace, bishopric since 1086, now owned by the Campania Region, is recovering the its splendor later important consolidation and restoration works.
In the future, it will be the seat of a training and improvement center for young musicians. The core of the building, with a breathtaking view of the Gulf of Salerno, was built starting from the 10th century, and the entire structure today is spread over six levels for a total of 1600 square meters of interiors, in addition to the wonderful panoramic terraces.
The first structural intervention lasted 22 months, with the reconstruction of the external walls deteriorated by time. Work that absorbed resources for 1.7 million euros. Workers and restorers under the supervision of the Superintendence of Archeology, Fine Arts and Landscape of Salerno and Avellino have restored the building to its former glory, using a special lime-based mortar with coloring deriving from natural products.
The renovation of the roofs also saw the recovery of pre-existing structures and elements: from the tiles with terracotta tiles to the supports of large chestnut wood beams, found in a fairly good state of conservation and appropriately restored. The construction site remains open: the last part of the intervention will now have to involve the internal environments, with the adjustments and construction of the systems, including modern lifts.
Villa Episcopio was the bishop’s residence of Ravello from 1086 until 1818. On May 26, 1880, he hosted Richard Wagner who in Ravello found the inspiration for the second act of Parsifal in the gardens of Villa Rufolo. Here André Gide wrote “L’immoraliste”, while Edward M. Forster set the story “Story of a panic”.
But it was also the cradle of republican Italy. From February 14 to July 1944, during the short period of Salerno as the capital, it was the residence of King Vittorio Emanuele III. Inside its rooms, on April 24, 1944, the first government of national unity led by Pietro Badoglio was sworn in and formed, among others, by Benedetto Croce, Carlo Sforza, Palmiro Togliatti.
On June 5 of that same year, the day following the liberation of Rome, the sovereign signed the lieutenant decree in favor of his son Umberto at Villa Episcopio. In August 1962, the First Lady of America Jacqueline Kennedy stayed there for three weeks.
Before her was the queen of the Netherlands, Juliana, a regular at the palace. In 2006, the attempted sale by the Aielli family, the last heir of the building, to a well-known hotel entrepreneur in the Nocerino area of Sarnese.