A DAY IN RAVELLO
It's official. I am in love with Ravello. The Amalfi Coast as a whole is pretty spectacular, but sometimes the hordes of tour groups/tourists can get a little grating. For some respite from the crowds, I would highly recommend a day or two up in Ravello, situated on the cliffs above Amalfi (and thus slightly removed from the ferries and cruise ships that bring the groups).
My travel companion and I hopped on a bus in the main square of Amalfi (you can buy tickets at any of the souvenir shops or cafes in the area), and within about 25 minutes were up in Ravello. Ravello's position on the cliffs affords it some incredible views and gentle breezes - most welcome in a hot Italian summer. We wandered the town, full of cute shops selling painted pottery, juicy figs, Italian pastas, etc. There is a peaceful quietness in Ravello that brought a certain level of calm over us - yes, even on vacation you can be un-calm.
Ravello seems to have an inordinate number of villas, some of which have restaurants, have been turned into hotels, or can just be visited. We explored Villa Cimbrone and its gardens, a villa that dates back to the 11th century and is famous for it's scenic Terrazzo dell'Infinito (below). It's safe to say that we took a lot of pictures at this villa and throughout its gardens...If you're around at dinner time, the villa has a michelin starred restaurant that's supposedly excellent, but alas I was here at lunchtime, so had to venture elsewhere for noms.
We had read that the pool at Hotel Caruso in Ravello is jaw-dropping, so we naturally had to investigate this assertion. Even if the pool wasn't what it had been hyped up to be (it was), the path to the pool was alone worth the investigation. (sadly, I was too in awe to take photos of the pool etc).
We continued meandering through the hotel, full of impressive vistas and airy rooms with arched windows, until we stumbled out onto a patio where we were greeted by some servers. We were easily swayed, and took a seat with this as our view.
We ended up having a 3.5 hr lunch, complete with 1.5 bottles of wine and that crazy view. Sometime later, we slowly made our way back down to Amalfi. Safe to say, I was quite pleased with this day.
Oh yea, if you're in Ravello in the summertime there is a summer concert series, so if you like music be sure to check it out here.