Ravello, Amalfi Coast, Italy
Written by Missy Johnston
Perched high above the Amalfi Coast, in the southern facing cliffs of the Sorrento Peninsula, sits Ravello, Italy, a lovely little village to visit while on a yacht charter cruising along the Amalfi Coast. When visiting the Amalfi Coast on a crewed yacht charter, head ashore by the ship’s tender to the village of Amalfi and jump in a taxi or for the vigorous, climb the mountain steps to the village of Ravello for a stunning view of the Amalfi Coast and your charter yacht on anchor below.
Ravello is well worth the time to visit, not just for the outstanding view of the Amalfi Coast that is hard to replicate, but also to explore this little village of less than 2500 people with its lovely central piazza. Ravello was first founded in the 5th century high up in the cliffs overlooking the Amalfi coast as a refuge against invading barbarians and pirates. Soon Ravello flourished and for many centuries was the center of wool gathering and weaving in the area and an important trading town.
In 1270, Villa Rufolo was built just off the central piazza by Nicola Rufolo, a wealthy merchant in Ravello. In more recent times, in the last several centuries, Ravello has become a haven for artists, musicians and writers seeking the beauty of the area for inspiration, including Richard Wagner, M. C. Escher, Giovanni Boccaccio, Virginia Woolf, Gore Vidal, André Gide, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, Graham Greene, and Sara Teasdale. Richard Wagner was said to have been inspired to write his “Parsifal” by the view from the gardens at the Villa Rufolo.
Whether by taxi or a brisk hike, arrival in Ravello is into the central Piazza Vescovado, overlooking the Amalfi Coast on one side and ringed on the other sides by the entrance to the Villa Rufolo, the Duomo (cathedral) of Ravello, and artisans’ shops. About a 5-10-minute walk from the piazza are the gardens of the Villa Cimbrone, open to the public for a fee and offering spectacular views of the Amalfi Coast. Here perched on the stone balustrade overlooking the Amalfi Coast are the busts featured in so many photos of the Amalfi Coast.
The gardens of the Villa Rufolo are also open to the public for a fee. These gardens are home to an evening summer concert series of classical music from July through September. Check in advance if you will be in the area for tickets to one of the concerts and spend a delightful evening, high above the Amalfi coast enjoying a classical music concert featuring world class musicians.
And take time to explore the various little shops many featuring hand painted pottery before descending back down to the coast where your crewed charter yacht awaits.
What to See and Do in Ravello, Italy
Villa Rufolo: Right off the main piazza, with big entrance gates, this Villa sits right on the hillside, with a garden with magnificent views of the Amalfi Coast. Enjoy a tour of the Villa complete with cloisters and a Turkish Bath and explore the Gardens. In the summer, The Ravello Festival takes place in the Gardens, which is a series of outdoor concerts, well worth attending if in the area at the time, if just for the setting alone.
Villa Cimbrione and Gardens: Today the Villa is a private hotel, surrounded by beautiful gardens that are open to the public. Tucked against the hillside, more than 1200 feet above the sea, the Villa’s belvedere, Terrazza dell’Infinito (Terrace of Infinity), is outlined by a series of marble busts on pedestals on the water side, that on a clear day are beautiful outlined against the sky above and the sea below.
Ravello Duomo: In the center of town, visit the Ravello Duomo with the Moroccan styled courtyard and gardens. First constructed in 1086, and dedicated to the village patron saint, San Pantaleone, this cathedral is a jewel of Romanesque architecture.
Ceramiche d’Arte Carmela: Ravello has its share of hand painted ceramics shops, however this shop, while costlier than competitors, is known to have high quality ceramics, and they ship internationally.
While on the coast, but not right on the coast, and needing a hike up an extensive staircase or a ride up to the village from the coast in a taxi, when on a private yacht charter along the Amalfi Coast of Italy, it is well worth taking the time to visit this charming little village, if just for the photo opportunities of the view alone. Once there, most find that the village itself is enchanting, and to have been well worth the trip up into the hills behind Amalfi on the Sorrento Peninsula.