La Rondinaia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
La Rondinaia
Ravello desde el mar 04 (La Rondinaia).JPG
View of La Rondinaia from the sea

La Rondinaia (built 1930) is a villa in Ravello on the Amalfi Coast in southern Italy.


Initially, the property was a part of the Villa Cimbrone, owned by Ernest Beckett, 2nd Baron Grimthorpe. His daughter Lucy (1884–1979)[1] built La Rondinaia around 1930 and she took to living there. It is built on the edge of a cliff, hence its name "The swallows nest" (rondine means swallow in Italian).[2] It has six floors and is 600 square metres (6,500 sq ft). The surrounding garden is 4 hectares (9.9 acres).[2][3]

Vidal ownership[edit]

It was owned by American writer Gore Vidal, and his partner Howard Austen, from 1972 to 2006,[4] who added pool and sauna in 1984.[5] While he owned the villa, Vidal hosted Paul Newman, Mick Jagger, Greta Garbo, Princess Margaret, Bruce Springsteen, Tennessee Williams, Italo Calvino and Hillary Clinton at the home. Critic David Cunningham referred to La Rondinaia as "perhaps the last great author's home/artistic salon."[6]

After Austen's death in 2003, and for his own health reasons, he posted it for sale around 2004 for around 14,000,000.[5] It was eventually sold to Vincenzo Palumbo, a local hotel man.[7]

Recent sale[edit]

In 2015, Palumbo offered the property for sale at £20,000,000.[8][9]

In popular culture[edit]

The villa was one location for the 2004 movie The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.[5]

La Rondinaia to the right. At the left can be seen the fences of Terraza Infinito, a panoramic viewpoint, part of the Villa Cimbrone.


  1. ^ Hon. Lucy Katherine Beckett at and Lucy (Lucile) Katherine Beckett at, last accessed on 27 July 2019.
  2. ^ a b Jones Lang Lasalle, La Rondinaia, sales brochure from 2007, available at Harry Kloman's tribute page, Farewell to La Rondinaia
  3. ^ La Rondinaia, Ravello from
  4. ^ AD Revisits: Gore Vidal's Amalfi Coast Villa in Architectural Digest on 1 January 1994.
  5. ^ a b c Joseph Giovannini, For Gore Vidal, A Last, Long Look From the Heights in New York Times on 26 August 2004.
  6. ^ Cunningham, David (June 2, 2018). "IN THE SWALLOW'S NEST". Scottish Review of Books. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  7. ^ David Cunningham, In the swallows nest, in Scottish Review of Books, published 2 June 2018.
  8. ^ Gore Vidal’s Famed Italian Cliffhanger ‘La Rondinaia’ Comes Up For Sale
  9. ^ "House Tour: Gore Vidal's Villa Rondinaia". Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Blog - Luxury Home & Style. 14 October 2015. Retrieved 5 August 2019.