June 5, 2015 | Posted in HISTORIC PLACES | By



Is Ravello, Italy one of the most beautiful places in the entire world?

The view from Villa Rufolo in Ravello, Italy. All photos on this page were taken by the author, sockii, in January 2014.

The view from Villa Rufolo in Ravello, Italy. All photos on this page were taken by the author, sockii, in January 2014.

There may be more stunning places in the world that I have not yet visited, but I cannot think of any that have taken my breath away like Ravello, Italy. This quiet, ancient town on the Amalfi Coast of Italy is located high up on a cliff, offering incredible views of the coastline below. There are also lush gardens and incredible villas, orchards full of citrus trees, and winding streets that make you feel as though you have stepped back in time several hundred years.

If you are planning a scenic drive or tour of the Amalfi Coast, don’t miss spending a few hours in Ravello to take in the view and explore its scenic beauty and history. Or perhaps you’d like to stay for a few days, to relax in the natural beauty of it all? There are several luxurious hotels to choose from, and even a popular music festival every summer to delight visitors.

A brief history of the town

The gardens at Villa Rufolo.

The gardens at Villa Rufolo.

Ravello was founded in the 5th century, as a shelter against barbarian invaders at the end of the Roman Empire. By the end of the 9th century it had become an important part of the Amalfi maritime republic, a center for dying wool and for trading through to the 13th century.

At the height of its power and importance in the 12th century, Ravello was home to some 25,000 people, many of them nobility and hence the large number of palaces in the town. But an attack by the Republic of Pisa, in the year 1137, laid waste to the town. From that time forward it slowly entered a population and economic decline as its former inhabitants moved to Naples and elsewhere in Campania. Today, there are only approximately 2,500 residents of the town, which is 3 square miles in area and location 1,198 ft above sea level.

The main piazza of Ravello.

The main piazza of Ravello.

The town’s economy today is primarily driven by tourism, although you will also find vineyards, wineries, and artistic-oriented shops for ceramics and other local crafts. The gardens of the two most famous villas (Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone) can be visited to take in their scenic beauty, there are several historic churches to see, and the Ravello Festival brings together music, art and crafts every year in the summer months.

Villa Rufolo

Photos from a tour of the gardens and grounds:

The layout of the villa dates back to the 13th century, although it was heavily modified in the 19th century.

The layout of the villa dates back to the 13th century, although it was heavily modified in the 19th century.

Year round there is something in bloom in the gardens.

Year round there is something in bloom in the gardens.

Cloud-covered hillsides as seen from Ravello and Villa Rufolo

Cloud-covered hillsides as seen from Ravello and Villa Rufolo

Geormetric designs dominate the planning of the flower beds.

Geormetric designs dominate the planning of the flower beds.


Villa Cimbrone

The view from the Villa’s famous Terrace of Infinity-beautiful yet also dizzying! These gardens are open daily to the public.

The view from the Villa’s famous Terrace of Infinity-beautiful yet also dizzying! These gardens are open daily to the public.

Another view from the Terrace, as the late afternoon sunlight begins to fade.

Another view from the Terrace, as the late afternoon sunlight begins to fade.

Sculpture fills the gardens at Villa Cimbrone, creating a contemplative space.

Sculpture fills the gardens at Villa Cimbrone, creating a contemplative space.

Villa Cimbrone’s gardens have a more rustic, woodlands feel to them than at Villa Rufolo.

Villa Cimbrone’s gardens have a more rustic, woodlands feel to them than at Villa Rufolo.

Getting to Ravello

Location and other travel information

Scenic RavelloRavello is located along one of the most scenic parts of the Amalfi Coast, about halfway between Positano and Salerno. Driving the winding road clinging to the rising hillsides and coastline can be, well, a bit scary for a driver without experience on these roads; I would not recommend it unless you have nerves of steel and are accustomed to such driving conditions.

Instead, consider hiring a driver for the day or to get you to Ravello from Naples, Sorrento, Salerno or whatever your point of origin in the region. Or, you can take one of the regional SITA buses; one travels the coast line and stops in the town of Amalfi, from which you can either get a connecting bus or hike uphill to Ravello. There are also boat lines running along the coast which will get you to Amalfi.

While we enjoyed the quiet and calm of visiting Ravello in the wintertime, we found many shops and restaurants closed for the off-season, so keep that in mind when planning a visit!

You can learn more about getting to Ravello, where to eat and where to stay in town in the Ravello travel guide at WikiTravel. Travel guides to the Amalfi Coast can also tell you more about the region and how to best enjoy exploring it.

Italy's Amalfi Coast: Positano, Ravello, Salerno, Amalfi & Paestum (Travel Adventures)

Italy’s Amalfi Coast: Positano, Ravello, Salerno, Amalfi & Paestum (Travel Adventures). Available at Amazon.

The Amalfi Coast: What the Guide Books Don't Tell You

The Amalfi Coast: What the Guide Books Don’t Tell You. Available at Amazon.

sockii

sockii is just your typical Jane-of-All-Trades who never has enough time in her day for all of her projects. She has written for many websites online including Squidoo, Zujava, Yahoo! Contributors Network, HubPages and Wizzley. She has been attending and vending at science fiction and media conventions for over 15 years, and for several years ran an art gallery and jewelry store in Philadelphia. Today she is happy to be living in South Jersey with her partner David and their 6 cats. Sockii is a member of several affiliate sales programs including Amazon Associates and Viglink. Products from these services may be advertised on her posts and pages to generate sales commissions.

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