Ravello Travel GuideIntroduction
Ravello is a small, bustling town in Salerno, Italy, in the Amalfi Coast area. As with many of the locations nearby, this Italian destination is a favorite summer haunt for those who prefer to lounge under the Mediterranean sun during the summer months. It has a laid back atmosphere, and offers stunning panoramas of the nearby waters and mountains, which makes it a perfect place to relax and let your hair down. To further add to the ambiance, Ravello is also known for the annual Ravello Festival that is held every summer, and which features a series of outdoor concerts, performances, and art exhibits that visitors can enjoy. As of 1996, it has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks to its natural beauty and its rich history.
Originally established by the 5th century as a refuge site against invaders, Ravello soon established itself and over the hundreds of years, grew and flourished. By the Medieval ages, it was a prominent trading center in the Mediterranean, and was a key town for the maritime republic of Amalfi.
Nowadays, it is a popular tourist destination that is well-loved by visitors for its lazy, winding streets, delicious local cuisine, and perfect summer days.
What to See
The Cathedral (Duomo)
As with many Italian towns and cities, the local Duomo is the symbolic heart of the area and is one of its main landmarks. The Duomo di Ravello overlooks the town’s main piazza, and is boasts of a long history and a rich collection of art. It was first established in 1086, and features a pair of ornate bronze doors (one of only 24 in the entire country) that depict various scenes from the life of Jesus Christ. Meanwhile, its interiors are just as opulent as it is decorated in sculpted white marble. The Duomo is also home to the relics of St. Pantaleone, St. Thomas, and St. Barbara, and also features a two-room museum, various mosaics, sarcophagi, and other artifacts and pieces of art.
The Gardens of Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone
These two villas attract thousands upon thousands of visitors every single year as it offers the best panoramas of the town below as well as that of the surrounding waters and mountains, particularly on the famous “Terrace of Infinity” at Villa Cimbrone. Locations that are considered by many to be extremely romantic, the villas offer beautiful gardens that are full of lovely flowers and vegetation, bronze and stone statues, small temples, busts, mosaics, gazebos, and picturesque winding paths all throughout. In fact, these gardens are so pretty, that it served as the inspiration for the second part of Wagner’s final opera, Parsifal. Many wedding ceremonies and parties are also held here, so don’t be surprised if you run into one during your visit!
Ravello Music Festival
As mentioned previously, Ravello hosts an annual music and art festival during the summer months. There are many evening open-air or indoor concerts, and the entire event is actually held in honor of the famous composer, Wagner. It is a rather prestigious event, so many visitors attend it, and many popular celebrities and musicians perform here as well. On top of the musical performances, the festival also highlights art and dance, so there’s definitely always something for everyone!
For those who wish to experience the natural beauty of Ravello, one of the best ways to do this is to take a nice, relaxing hike on its trails and paths. These excursions offer gorgeous views of the area, and can be done either on your own or via a guided tour.
Want to learn classical southern Italian cuisine? Then one of the best places to make and appreciate good food at would be among the beautiful gardens and sights of Ravello! There are many small cooking schools that offer classes to tourists here, where you can learn how to prepare delectable dishes using only the best and freshest local ingredients.
Taste the Wines
There are a number of vineyards and wine producers that surround Ravello, and some of the most famous local labels include those that belong to the DOC appellation. Visit the local wineries for lovely wine tastings on a perfect Mediterranean summer evening!
Tips and Advice
- Being a popular tourist spot, Ravello has no shortage of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and eateries.
- The town is small enough to be explored on foot, and considering how pretty it is, this is the best way to appreciate Ravello! For those who really need a lift, though, taxis are available within the vicinity of the town’s main bus stop.
- Villa Cimbrone’s gardens are open daily from 9:00 am to sunset, while Villa Rufolo’s hours are 9:00 am to 8:00 pm in the summer, and 9:00 am to 4:00 pm in the winter.