Magazine article Variety

For Sale: Gore Vidal's Italian Cliffhanger

Magazine article Variety

For Sale: Gore Vidal's Italian Cliffhanger

Article excerpt

1 For more than three decades, uncommonly erudite, American-bom writer Gore Vidal famously owned a gravity-defying villa in the resort town of Ravello along Italy's postcard-perfect Amalfi Coast. The whitewashed residence, theatrically cleaved to a craggy and precipitous cliff 1,000 feet above the Tyrrhenian Sea, has come up for sale, we first learned from kindly informant I. Talon Toorist, with an asking price of just over $21.1 million.

Dubbed La Rondinaia for its uncanny resemblance to a swallow's nest, the 6.5-acre estate was first visited by the rabble-rousing raconteur and gleefully polarizing sociocultural provocateur in 1948, with his playwright pal Tennessee Williams. Vidal bought the property in 1972, made it his full-time home in 1993, and regularly entertained his vast network of high-profile friends and acquaintances, including Greta Garbo, Lauren Bacall, Paul Newman, Susan Sarandon, Andy Warhol and Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton. In 2004, when it became too cumbersome for Mr. Vidal to navigate the multistory Cliffhanger, the estate was sold to a local hotelier, and the writer moved to a dignified but less dramatic 1920s Mediterranean he'd long owned in L. …

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