Villa Rufolo, Ravello

Ravello is a small village that sits high above the Amalfi coast, and if you’re staying in the vicinity, a daytrip there is an absolute must.

We were staying in Atrani (the smallest village in southern Italy) and caught the bus up to Ravello, which doesn’t take long but is fairly hair-raising as the road is narrow and full of hairpin bends. We had to stop and wait while a pair of buses going in opposite directions extricated themselves from an overly optimistic pass.

The whole of the Amalfi coast is crowded, even in late September/early October when we were there. But at least Ravello feels quieter and somehow more refined. I considered staying here rather than in Atrani, but in my opinion after visiting Ravello I think it’s a bit out of the way if you want to do day trips to other parts of the coast.

Once there we took a stroll around the charming  village …

Ravello streets

Amalfi coast pottery

Amalfi coast pottery

Ravello

And found a number of churches featuring beautiful mosaics, including some of Jonah being eaten by the whale!

Ravello mosaics Jonah and the Whale

Look closely and you can see Jonah’s last moments – being swallowed feet-first on the left, and head-first on the right

Mr Travelling Pantaloni was chuffed to find his namesake on the beautiful bronze doors, cast in Constantinople (Instabul), found on the Duomo.

Saint George and the Dragon, Ravello

St George & the Dragon

But it’s the gardens most people come to see. The one closest to the main piazza is Villa Rufolo, so let’s start there. The villa has been around since the 13th century, but there’s not much left of it now. It’s a lovely place to wander around but the real highlight is the view from the belvedere at the edge of the garden.

Villa Rufolo, Ravello

Villa Rufolo, Ravello

The famous shot of the coast that EVERYONE takes. I had to wait in line to do it, but it’s such a pretty view I think it was worth it

The current garden was established by Neville Reid, a Scottish industrialist who owned the villa at the turn of the 20th century, and descendants of the original team of gardeners still keep it looking beautiful.

Villa Rufolo, Ravello

From there it’s a lovely stroll through the lower part of town to reach Villa Cimbrone, my favourite of the two gardens here in Ravello. The villa itself is now a fancy hotel, but the extensive gardens are open to the public.

This land was also owned by a Brit – Englishman Ernest Beckett aka Lord Grimthorpe – who came to Ravello to recover from the serious depression he suffered after the early death of his much loved wife. He enjoyed the estate so much he bought it in 1904 and, with the help of a local man, started bringing it back to life.

Fun fact: apparently Greta Garbo had an affair at the villa in 1939. I found a news report of the time here which shows that the villa still looks pretty much the same!

Let’s have a look around …

villa cimbrone, ravello

The entrance

cloister, villa cimbrone, ravello

The cloister – a beautiful little courtyard in an Arabian – Sicilian – Norman style. I’m a sucker for this style of architecture.

Crypt, Villa Cimbrone, Ravello

The crypt, which apparently became one of the meeting places of London’s Bloomsbury Group

view from Villa Cimbrone Ravello

The terrace of infinity, another incredible belvedere

tea room, villa cimbrone, ravello

The tea room

statue, villa cimbrone, ravello

Ravello is a really beautiful place to spend the day. There’s lots of see and it’s full of lovely places to sit and have a coffee or a leasurely lunch, all with that incredible view of the Amalfi Coast

I hope you enjoyed your wander around Ravello with me today!

Until next time, safe travels,

The Travelling Pantaloni

Passport stamp for Travelling Pantaloni

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