On one of our many trips to Italy, a few years back, we discovered Ravello. What makes Ravello so remarkable is its height, Ravello sits very high above sea level and therefore benefits from the most phenomenal Mediterranean views. It has beautiful gardens, elegant villas, and hosts the famous Wagner Arts Music Festival every year. There are so many restaurants to enjoy, luscious gardens to explore, and walks or hikes that take you to discover Ravello’s pathways and trails. In 1996, Ravello was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This amazing, little gem can be seen in one day, but I recommend to take several days to really enjoy it. As with most of these gorgeous seaside Italian towns, there is so much to see and do, but here are my top 5 favorite attractions and activities if you’re spending a day in Ravello:
A visit to the Villa Cimbrone Gardens
Villa Cimbrone occupies the most breathtaking position on the entire Amalfi Coast, perched high above the sea. The gardens are what most people visit for, with its many statues, temples, fountains, natural grottos and of course, the spectacular Belvedere of Infinity from which the view sweeps wide to take in a panorama of the coast. The villa was actually converted into a hotel and is considered by many one of the most beautiful gardens in Italy. But even if you’re not a hotel guest, the grounds are open to the public for a small fee.
Strolling the Villa Rufolo Gardens
A 14th century tower marks the entrance to this villa, famed for its beautiful cascading gardens. The historic villa located right in the center of Ravello, is one of the most popular travel destinations in Campania. The gardens are truly magnificent, commanding panoramic views packed with exotic colors. It is said that the German composer Richard Wagner was so struck by the beauty of the Villa Rufolo gardens during his visit in 1880 that he used them as the inspiration for the magical garden of Klingsor in his opera Parsifal. Following the pretty pathways through the gardens leads you to the famous Belvedere overlooking the coast. Enjoy the colorful flowers and stunning views looking down the coastline toward the seaside towns of Minori and Maiori. If you visit during the summer months, you’ll find a large stage constructed on the Belvedere where the main concerts of the Ravello Festival take place. Definitely something to experience!
This part of Italy is famous for its lemons, which are very juicy and smell fabulous. Although lemons are used to make the sweet but tangy liquor all over the Amalfi Coast, Ravello is known for some of the best in the area. I always enjoy a glass of limoncello, because I really love the taste, traditionally served as a cold after dinner drink. I even like the creamy version a bit more. I’ve never had a chance to visit the factory, but f you have the time, you can experience how it’s made and enjoy a nice tasting at the Limoncello Factory (Via Trinità, 37).
Walk the center of town
This town is very charming, but can get quite hot in the summer months. Make sure you stop for a quick snack or a delicious cool gelato while you’re strolling around and taking in the scenery. There are many good restaurants and gelato places throughout the center of town. You’ll also love admiring the beautiful rustic architecture of Ravello by following its quiet streets of colored stucco houses, lemon groves and wrought iron gates.
Ceramics, ceramics and more ceramics
While beautiful ceramics can be found all along the Amalfi Coast towns, what initially brought us to Ravello, was a recommendation of a ceramics shop by a dear friend. Knowing that I love ceramics, and that I pick up new pieces on every trip, he suggested we visit Ceramiche Cosmolena di Margherita Di Palma (Via della Marra 15/19). Of course, hubby was a bit afraid of this visit, with good reason. Margherita can sell ice to an Eskimo. After my first visit there in 1999, she somehow convinced me that I needed to make some purchases and I left with an entire 8 place setting of gorgeous ceramic dinnerware (shipped to our home of course). Did I need it…no, but boy is it beautiful and we use it to this day! As if that weren’t enough, we returned for one additional piece on our 2009 visit, and of course, I left with quite a few more pieces to my set. She is charming, but beware, she is a great salesperson and will convince you of buying her entire shop. But in her defense, her ceramics and linens are breathtaking! The store displays autographed photos of various Hollywood celebrities with Margherita up on the wall, also prior customers. Ceramiche offers an unbeatable stunning selection of pottery and ceramics that can be shipped to any place throughout the world. Stop in a take a peek!
The one thing I would love to experience on my next visit to Ravello is a cooking class with Mamma Agata. She has cooked all her life and now runs a cooking school out of her home in Ravello, which is quite well-known. She has even cooked for a number of celebrities and has a fantastic cookbook for sale. I found Mama Agata’s recipe for limoncello on a wonderful blog called The Italian Dish, which is loaded with wonderful Italian recipes. Click here for Mamma Agata’s limoncello recipe.
Have you been to Ravello, and if you have, what have you enjoyed most about it?