Ravello is certainly one of the most romantic and mysterious places on the Amalfi Coast. Compared to many other highlights along the Amalfi Coast, this small town is not by the sea but is located on the tops of the hills and mountains.
Ravello has about 2500 inhabitants and 16 five-star or four-star hotels. There is 1 luxury hotel for 160 inhabitants, so it is clear that Ravello is attracting a lot of tourists every year.
At the height of over 300 meters, Ravello offers one of the best views on the Amalfi Coast. Besides that, this lovely village has great historic attractions too. Its two villas, Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone, are something that you should necessarily visit. Here are all the things to do in Ravello:
Explore magnificent Villa Rufolo
The most famous sight of Ravello is definitely the Villa Rufolo, which was built by the Roman Rufolo family in the 13th century and partially rebuilt in the 19th century.
The rumors say that Giovanni Boccaccio used this magnificent villa as the setting for his collection of novels, Decameron. This beautiful villa has more than three hundred rooms on three floors, all richly decorated with arabesques.
As soon as you enter the villa through a high gate tower, you can already feel the big dimensions of the complex. Allow yourself at least an hour for your visit so that you can walk through the different sections in peace. The Villa Rufolo is open every day from 9 AM (9:00 hours) until 5 PM (17:00 hours), and the ticket costs 7 euros per person.
Villa Rufolo sits several hundred meters above the Tyrrhenian sea, overlooking parts of the Amalfi Coast and providing a breathtaking view. You can see not only the interior of the villa itself but also the surrounding gardens, which are carefully manicured.
They are spread over several levels and represent the real highlight of the complex. Furthermore, you shouldn’t miss the former Sala Dei Cavalieri (knight’s hall), the ruins of the Turkish baths, and the terrace with colorful flowers on the south side of the complex.
Besides all of that, there is a tower and a museum on the ground that is worth visiting. The entrance to Villa Rufolo is located at Piazza Vescovado, near the main square of Ravello.
Admire the incredible Villa Cimbrone
If you thought that Villa Cimbrone couldn’t beat Rufolo’s beauty and views, then luckily, we have to disappoint you. This unbelievable villa is a few times bigger, and the viewpoints are even more impressive. Villa Cimbrone is even a bit older than Villa Rufolo.
To be precise, its origins date back to the 12th century. However, the former palace no longer has much in common with today’s villa, which Sir Ernest William Beckett designed at the beginning of the 20th century.
When you pass the entrance, the path leads you through a medieval garden area, which feels like you are in a fairy tale. From there, the Villa Cimbrone looks more like a castle than an oversized Italian villa. The gardens are so large that the term “park” is more likely to be accurate.
There are many paved and non-paved paths to choose from, full of beautiful roses, oleanders, and terrific marble statues. Furthermore, if you follow the broad avenue of immensity to its end, you will find the Terrace of Infinity.
The Terrace of Infinity, lined with Romanesque statues, is the most popular spot at Villa Cimbrone. It definitely tops the terrace of Villa Rufolo for two main reasons. On the one hand, it “floats” over the abyss, and on the other hand, it is adorned with numerous small sculptures.
And there is also a spectacular view. To be honest, your jaws will crash down so hard when you see spectacular panoramic views of the bay to the South, Atrani to the East, and Conca Dei Marini to the West.
The entrance fee for Villa Cimbrone is 7 euros per person. It is located at Via Santa Chiara 26 and opens every day from 9 AM (9:00 hours) until sunset. When you enter the Villa, turn immediately left to see a magical cloister. It is was designed in the Arabic-Sicilian style and looks like from a long-forgotten time.
Spend a wonderful time at Ravello’s historic center
Besides impressive villas, the historic center of Ravello is also a place where you can nicely spend your time. The main square, Piazza Centrale, looks a bit more well-kept and not quite as rustic as some other squares in towns on Amalfi Coast. This lovely square is the perfect place to relax with a delicious cake or a creamy espresso.
Particularly great highlights are the nearby streets Via Della Mara, Via Roma, and Via San Francesco. Just let yourself drift through the narrow streets, and you will find beautiful corners and hidden gardens.
Take a look inside Ravello’s Cathedral
The Duomo di Ravello is located directly on the Piazza Centrale and is the most important church in the town. Visually, the 11th-century attraction has been adapted to the rest of Ravello’s appearance. Compared to many other churches in Italy, the Ravello Cathedral looks much “simpler” and less opulent.
The cathedral has a clean, white facade that contrasts with the colorful mosaics found inside. The entrance to the cathedral is free of charge for all visitors.
There is another small Ravello sight inside the cathedral. A museum with numerous exhibits from antiquity and the Middle Ages. For example, sculptures, urns, stone ornaments, or sarcophagi. The ticket for the museum costs 3 euros.
Visit a small fishing village Atrani
Nearby Ravello, there is a beautiful undiscovered village called Atrani. This little gem is still isolated from crowds and urban traffic, so there you can experience Italy as it should be.
You can walk through narrow streets full of flowers, or you can explore thirteenth-century baroque churches and piazzas with spurting fountains.
To reach Atrani from Ravello, you can choose between riding by SITA bus or hiking down the trail. We recommend you the hike that takes you across the entire village and the seaside cliffs.
Have fun taking the cooking class
If you visit Italy and are not thinking about taking the cooking class, you miss a lot. In the class, you will not only learn how to prepare delicious Italian specialties, but you will also have an unforgettable dining experience in a real Ravello home. The best cooking class in Ravello is Handmade-pasta class.
For 70 euros, you will have a 4-hour cooking session with a real Italian chef. You will learn how to make the most authentic handmade Italian pasta using the freshest local seasonal products grown in a nearby garden.
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