We have determined the gas kinematics, diagnostic and ionic radial profiles, spatial structure, and evolutionary phase of NGC 6720 (the Ring Nebula) by means of tomography and a three-dimensional recovery technique applied to long-slit high-resolution spectra. The main shell of the Ring Nebula is a triaxial ellipsoid (radii of 0.10, 0.13, and 0.20 pc) seen nearly pole-on and expanding in an approximately ballistic fashion (Vexp = 0.65 km s-1 arcsec-1). The central star characteristics [log(L*/Lodot) simeq 2.3, T* simeq 120,000 K], combined with the nebular age of 7000 yr, indicate that the M* simeq 0.61-0.62 Modot post-AGB star is approaching the white dwarf cooling sequence. The equator of the Ring Nebula is optically thick and much denser than the optically thin poles. The inner halo surrounding NGC 6720 represents the pole-on projection of the AGB wind at high latitudes (circumpolar) directly ionized by the central star, whereas the outer, fainter, and circular halo is the projection of the recombining AGB wind at mean to low latitudes, shadowed by the main nebula. The spatio-kinematical properties of the Ring Nebula and the origin of the dense knots commonly observed in late-stage planetary nebulae are critically compared with the predictions of radiation-hydrodynamic and wind interaction models.Based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555.