Zeffirelli's villa in Positano one of the most stunning 5 Star Hotels on the Amalfi Coast

The former home of Zeffirelli in Positano, has been a hotel owned by the American Friedland family since 2011 , where a room can cost up to Euro 10,000 per night. There was, in those who frequented it, the vivid sensation that  they were in paradise. Villa Tre Ville, located in Positano, the ancient seaside village of colorful houses on sloping terraces. Franco Zeffirelli bought the residence "with the fierce desire to make it more and more beautiful and more and more mine". He decorated it at the end of the 1960s, almost transforming it into a theater, amidst verandas, lush gardens and halls filled with marble, ivory, mirrors and mother of pearl. The villa has changed hands twice in the last fifteen years. Initially the entrepreneur Giovanni Russo took it over, for the renovation he relied on Fausta Gaetani, sister of Raimonda, one of Franco's costume and set designers. There could not have been a better successor, an attentive, thoughtful, respectful host of the past, he kept the grace, elegance and beauty of the place. The American Friedland family has been the owner since 2011.

Liz Taylor's anti-paparazzi strategy was to stay at Zeffirelli's villa every summer where you would find the international jet set, actors, singers, conductors, and lifelong friends, such as Gregory Peck and Pasquino, all mixed together. The only reminder, as Pippo Corsi remembers, the adopted son of the great director who runs the Zeffirelli Foundation in Florence, was the bell that rang at the agreed lunch and dinner time, at 2 pm and 9 pm.  Who used to stay at the villa? Elizabeth Taylor, besieged by the paparazzi, could not go to the beach so she accepted Franco's advice: dressed and made up, have your picture taken and then they'll leave you alone; Liza Minnelli went with Kay Thompson, her godmother and teacher (also of her mother Judy Garland) who accompanied her to the piano; Laurence Olivier and Eduardo De Filippo.

The core of the three Villas have remained unchanged: 16 exclusive rooms (in addition to the large green spaces), each different from the other, but all with sea views; they cost from 1800 to 10 thousand euros per night for the Master Suite. The  villa  is connected to the sea by four elevators carved into the rock and by galleries illuminated by Yahya Rouach, a well-known Moroccan artist. The villas, as they are called with a touch of understatement, each have  a different color. The Pink houses the rooms named after Nijinski, where the ghosts of Diaghilev and Massine seem to hover. In the Villa Azzurra there are the floors left by the master and the 18th century Neapolitan ceramics bought by antique dealers. And then Villa Bianca, designed by architect and set designer Renzo Mongiardino, is the central body, it housed, among other things, the master's apartment, with a Moroccan imprint, and the living room is embellished with a Murano chandelier. Franco's guests gathered on the sofas with white curtains overlooking the bay of Positano.

The Kessler twins performed every August at the Villa, and frequent guests included Carla Fracci and Beppe Menegatti with his colorful caps, and poor Robert Powell, who became famous for his interpretation of Jesus in Zeffirelli's movie. The Russian noblewoman Maria Saint Just, best friend of Tennessee Williams who was fundamental for Franco's first great international successes, at Easter prepared the paskha, a traditional dessert of her land. It was an unusually small, seated, numbered breakfast. Lina Wertmüller, without warning, brought some friends. Maria Saint Just, mother of Natasha, Franco's "goddaughter", went around the table to serve the guests. When she got to where Lina was sitting, she said nothing.


The Green House of the Villa is famous for its stunning garden with jasmine from Madagascar, cacti, lime trees, grapefruits, pines planted by Zeffirrelli and a beautiful private area  with sun beds. 

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Comments: 4
  • #1

    Harriet S. Liroff (Saturday, 19 March 2022 16:44)

    I am interested in the possibility of renting 6-7 bedrooms at the hotel for 5-7 nights in mid to late May, 2023.
    Do any of the villas have that capacity? Please send information and pricing. Are any meals included?
    Please send the information to :hsliroff@usa.net
    I look forward to receiving your reply.
    Many thanks.
    Harriet S. Liroff
    (Mrs.)Richard B. Liroff

  • #2

    ciao@amalfistyle.com (Saturday, 19 March 2022 23:50)

    Dear Mrs Liroff, we have forwarded your enquiry to the Villa Tre Ville in Positano. You should receive a response shortly.
    Thank you for reading our blog.�

  • #3

    Gordon Stubbs (Thursday, 14 March 2024 03:18)

    Having long visited Positano... and had a friend once be a guest of Mr Zeffirelli... on an upcoming trip in late April, I was hopeful of enjoying a luncheon at your great facility. Do you serve non-resident guests mid-day, at lunch, or early dinner? And, if so, is there a menu that one may contemplate?

  • #4

    ciao@amalfistyle.com (Monday, 22 April 2024 00:32)

    @Gordon Stubbs. Sincere apologies for the delay in responding. For any reservations please contact Villa Tre Villa directly: contact@villatreville.com
    Grazie. Thank you.