Ravello is a small clifftop village that sits just above Amalfi, on the eponymous coastline. It is famous for its sweeping vistas over the coast and the sees below, many of which are found within picture-perfect gardens.
In the distant past, this area played an important role as both a shelter and maritime settlement. For instance, during the Barbarian attacks that started the end of the Western Roman Empire, Ravello was a haven for local inhabitants. Centuries later Ravello became an important town in the Maritime Republic of Amalfi. Unfortunately from here on in Ravello’s history is one of diminishing importance, suffering attacks and divisions on many occasions. By the mid 12th Century, many of the town’s inhabitants were moving to Naples and its surroundings following their town’s destruction at the hands of Pisa.
Today, however, it is a top destination for couples and view-chasers. Though it is so small, it is worth staying here for more than one day, if only to enjoy the gorgeous sunsets of this bay.
As part of the Amalfi Coast, a certain glamor pervades this town. That said, you might find it to be a more subtle luxury than in Amalfi below. That said, Ravello has succeeded in attracting some of the biggest names in of 20th-century celebrity, from Greta Garbo to Jacquie Kennedy, Tennesse Williams, Virginia Woolf, Truman Capote and Richard Wagner. In fact, Wagner is so implicated in Ravello’s cultural identity that it now holds an annual musical festival in his honor.
Interestingly, this is where the self-same composer found inspiration for his opera Parsifal. This came from the stunning gardens of the Villa Rufolo. Here you can wander through exotic vegetation before gazing out over the sea. This and other villas such as the Villa Cimbrone are open to the public for a small fee. The latter villa is particularly famous for its Infinity Terrace which offers panoramic views.
Within the town you will find the impressive 11th-Century Duomo, or cathedral. Here you can also visit the church’s museum which lies in its crypt. In stark contrast to this, Ravello is also home to one of the Amalfi Coast’s most modern architecture. The New Energy Auditorium is the brainchild of Oscar Niemeyer who wanted it to mirror the swell of the sea.
To see the rest of the Amalfi Coast, Ravello also has boat trips that run up and down the coast.
You can drive to Ravello, though the roads that lead to it can be incredibly daunting if not dangerous. From Amalfi, however you can get both taxi and bus transfers. Should you wish to walk to Amalfi, dedicated paths will lead you down the cliffs,