Ravello crowns the Amalfi Coast from a balcony of limestone 1,100 feet above sea level. From this elevated position, the fortressed town overlooks the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Gulf of Salerno. On the left, the town descends to the valley of Dragone, on the right, to the coastal town of Minori. And from the Terrazzo dell’Infinito, the Terrace of Infinity at the Villa Cimbrone, you can see an infinite plain of cerulean sea from Paestum to Cape Licosa, and the Apennine Mountains with their violet hue shadowing the background. Ravello is suspended between sea and sky.
Giovanni Boccaccio, the Italian writer and poet, described Ravello as the most delightful place in Italy, “… a coast covered with little towns… gardens and fountains…amongst which there is one called Ravello.” Ravello is immortalized in Boccaccio’s The Decameron, written between 1349 and 1351.
The drive to Ravello involves a precipitous climb along hairpin curves that taper into a narrow one-way strip where cars need to take turns going up and down. Our favorite place there, aside from the villas and gardens, is Cumpà Cosimo, a trattoria on via Roma owned by our friends Lucca and Netta Bottone.
Ravello is also hailed as the International City of Music, and is known for its precious panoramic view from the gardens of Villa Cimbrone. The Villa Cimbrone leads you through the gardens of the Terrazza Della Rosa, and the Terrazzo dell’Infinito, Terrace of Infinity. This natural balcony is adorned with imposing marble busts. From this unique vantage point you can see the distant Cilento Mountains and the Licosa beyond the sparkling sea, the lush Amalfi Coast with its distinctive terraces of colorful lemon trees, and the typical whitewashed houses that cling to the rugged coastline. Stroll along the streets and alleyways and discover little gems of churches, chapels, and noblemen’s residences with a visit to the Cathedral, Villa Rufolo, San Giovanni del Tauro, and Santa Maria.