Holidays to Ravello serve up superior views of the Amalfi Coast. And this is the place for ancient villas and famous gardens with as much of the region’s warmth and beauty as you could possibly want.
The high ground
When the Amalfi Coast’s seaside jewels like Positano and Sorrento started to become overrun with tourists, those in the know escaped to the more rarefied air of Ravello. Hidden high up in the mountains, and with staggering views of the Bay of Salento, the town has welcomed its fair share of celebrity visitors, famously Greta Garbo, and author Gore Vidal. The Mediterranean beaches may be 7 kilometres away, but who cares when you’ve got the world at your feet.
Ravello’s manicured gardens are an Englishman’s dream. Pay a visit to Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo to find wisteria-lined walkways, rose gardens, and panoramas that stretch out in to infinity. Villa Rufolo’s grounds are said to have inspired Richard Wagner, who included them in his opera, Parsifal. The villa returns the favour by hosting an internationally renowned classical music festival every year in his honour.
Ravello trades on its discreet, unruffled charm. Its web of car-free lanes, which spider over the mountaintop, all seem to lead back to Piazza del Duomo, the main square. It’s here that the cathedral, originally built in the 11th century, casts its shadow in the midday sun. Elsewhere around town, you’ll find a few dozen trattorias and pizzerias serving delicious Italian cuisine. Ravello’s other major talent, fine ceramics, are on display at a handful of celebrity-frequented shops.
Close to Amalfi
Ravello’s closest neighbour is Amalfi, a picture-postcard seaside town 15 minutes’ drive away, around countless hairpin bends. It serves up a busy pebbly beach, a towering cathedral, and a vibrant nightlife. You can also take the boat to the island of Capri or to pretty Positano from Amalfi’s harbour on Spiaggia Grande.
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