Already dreaming of your next sweet escape for 2019, ladies? While people around the world make plans to visit the notable towns along the Amalfi Coast in Italy, many overlook one of the best features of the coast – a little town called Ravello.
Sitting up on a hilltop overlooking the coast, many travelers cruise right by this sleepy little Italian village perched in the clouds. While staying down in the town of Amalfi at the Santa Caterina Hotel, I made the easy 18 minute journey up to Ravello and spent two nights there at a family owned hotel – Hotel Palumbo.
These were two of the most idyllic days of the trip. First off, Ravello is home to some of the most intricate and famed gardens in the world – which are a “must see” for any trip to the Italian coast. And second, I found that Ravello was the most peaceful of all the spots along the Amalfi coast because it less overrun with tourists. During the day, yes, there are plenty of tourists bused in from the cruise companies and they wander around the village with fanny-packs and loud voices. But at night, the village becomes a dream come true – ringing church bells, the noise of local children playing in the park, and not one ounce of the English language. Bellissimo!
In today’s featured post, I am sharing details on two famous floral filled spots in Ravello, Italy. And as always, at the bottom of this post, you can refer to the Ladyhattan Guide for all the key things you need to know before you go. If you are a traveler looking for untouched charm, less tourists and more tranquility along the Amalfi coast then Ravello, Italy should definitely be on your list for the new year! Scroll on down below and enjoy photographs of Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone located in Ravello through the Ladyhattan lens.
Make your way to a cliff top palatial estate of towers, exotic plants and terraced gardens at the Villa Rufolo. After paying a modest entrance fee and making your way through the gates, you garner access to one of the most phenomenal views of the Gulf of Salerno.
Built by a wealthy merchant family in the 13th century, the villa has a rich and storied past. Boccaccio, one of the earliest authors of the Italian renaissance, wrote a story about the villa and its owner in his Decameron, which was published in 1353. Fun fact about the villa is that there were rumors about a hidden treasure on the property for years.
You can easily spend a few hours here just wandering, admiring the architecture, the exotic plants and genius design in the landscaping schemes. We perused the gardens for about two hours before making our way to the next famed Italian villa.
The Villa Cimbrone is known as the crown laurel of Ravello. Its origins date back to the 11th century, but the villa and the gardens were extensively renovated by a British nobleman, Lord Grimthorpe, in the early 20th century. With its expansive gardens and dramatic views, the villa is a popular place for weddings, honeymoons, and receptions. The villa is a private five-star hotel (Hotel Villa Cimbrone), but the gardens are open to the public and it ranks, perhaps, as the most memorable sight on the Amalfi Coast.
At the edge of the cliffs where a line of statues adorn a path, you can find an adorable “snack shop” and bar. We took our shoes off, walked through the wet grass and had ourselves a little picnic with beers from the bar. There are plenty of trees to make yourself comfortable and get some shade while you gaze out at the magnificent ocean before you. The gardens at Villa Cimbrone were a bit more expansive than Villa Rufolo, so we spent more time wandering here. Again, similar to Villa Rufolo, you pay a modest fee to enter the public gardens and can spend as long as you like there. If you really want to splurge on a special occasion travel experience, I suggest staying at the villa itself – which is now one of the top luxury hotels in all of Italy. Very pricey but worth it for a lifetime experience.
LADYHATTAN’S GUIDE TO RAVELLO
- Fly into Rome or Naples, then connect to Amalfi by car or bus service (2-3 hours).
- From downtown Amalfi (the main city on the Amalfi Coast), you can reach Ravello by a 15 minute taxi ride.
- For a day trip, be sure to checkout both Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone for insanely stunning views and exploring.
- Highly reccomend staying at least one night, ideally two, to experience the village at dusk when it is the most peaceful and free from groups of tourists.
- Two nights in Ravello can easily be tacked on with a full trip itinerary, for example try three nights in Positano, three nights in Amalfi and then two nights in Ravello.
- Consider staying at a luxury family-owned villa for an authentic experience – Hotel Palumbo has reasonable rates ($250) and the location cannot be beat.
- If you enjoy shopping for local items, the antique and ceramic shops here are delightful. Many of the ceramic boutiques offer shipping back to the USA if you are on the hunt for new dishes, coffee cups or other colorful Italian items for your home.
- For a pizza lunch break, taste one of the richest pizzas in the world (drizzled with truffle oil if you request) at Pizzeria Mimi.
- When out exploring the town and the gardens, wearing flats/comfortable shoes is a must – there are many narrow streets with cobblestones so be careful, ladies!
- Entrance tickets to both famous villas featured in this post are about $10 and the hours are from 9am until sunset, unless there is a featured evening event or show so be sure to check before you go.
- For more information on Ravello or other travel tips, feel free to e-mail Ladyhattan@gmail.com directly.