Civil buildings of considerable architectural value are present in numerous municipalities of the UNESCO site. These buildings display decorative elements that rework the taste of the time in a widespread and capillary key, transferring these characteristics from representative and religious architectures to those used for daily activities.
In the building heritage dating back to the Middle Ages, for example, we witness a frequent use of the typical decorations of religious architecture: the polychrome tuff inlays frame the windows and underline the string courses, defining motifs in which the yellow tuff alternates with gray tuff. Not infrequently, circular motifs appear on the facades, always in tuff, which refer to the decorations of religious buildings.
A recurring element, especially in eighteenth-nineteenth-century architecture, is the external decoration with volutes and stucco curls that embellish the frames of windows and balconies. These decorative motifs translate into an often crude style (often made with the sole use of plaster) what the Baroque taste had introduced into religious architecture, where pilasters, false capitals and volutes were covered with gilded stucco.
Another recurring decorative feature in the interiors is the pictorial decoration of the ceilings. Both on the vaults and on the flat ceilings it was a must in important houses to reproduce landscapes: real or fictitious, framed by fake pergolas or Baroque structures. Inevitable in the bedrooms a central tondo with a small angel whose pictorial technique generated the optical illusion of the gaze always directed towards the observer. These decorations were created until the first half of the 1900s by painters connected to the school of the Costaioli, the artists originating from the Amalfi Coast who between the 19th and 20th centuries knew how to inaugurate a new vision of the landscape, often animated by the locals intent on Work. The decoration of the ceiling was so considered so important that even in the presence of exposed beams it was covered with a canvas reinforced with sheets of paper and the decorative motif was painted on it.
Typical is the typology of medieval buildings. These buildings, of which we can see numerous examples in Ravello, combined a “corporate” part (intended for processing the products of the family’s possessions) with the residential part. Through a large door, often surmounted by the heraldic coat of arms of the family (the desire to affirm one’s noble ancestry, real or reconstructed at a table, was a constant among the important families of the place), one enters a central courtyard, on two sides of the which opened the rooms used as warehouses for outgoing and incoming goods. On another side, a wide staircase, usually open to the courtyard from a large window, led to the residential part on the upper floor. The processing of the products is generally at an underground level, although often the terraced arrangement of the entire structure meant that this area opened directly into the gardens.