Ancient Medieval City, known in all over the world for its history, for its supreme monuments, for the magic of its landscapes and patrician estates, enchanting land that the most illustrious wanderers of any time elected to "Homeland of the Spirit", only by visiting Ravello it's allowed to live intense moments of magic astonishment.
The city has been probably founded in the VI century by Roman settlers who clambered up those mountain zone in order to escape the vandalisms of the barbarians. As any other centre of the coast, the earliest news concerning the town go back to the IX century, when it was included in the jurisdiction of the Republic of Amalfi. The city soon became prosperous thanks to a flourishing spinning mill. In the XI century Ravello tried to get free from the domain of Amalfi, surrounding itself with walls and building sumptuous mansions for the patrician families. Nevertheless, with the Norman Conquest, along with other cities, it started a period of decline and decadence. In 1137 The Maritime Republic of Pisa had been devastating the city for three days, the city that in the meantime had reached a population of 36.000 inhabitants. After the French occupation during the war of Vespro (1282 - 1302), in the XVII century the plague decimated the population and, in the end, the bishop's seat was abolished and aggregated to Amalfi. The city, reduced to a faded image of its illustrious past, it would have only recovered in the second half of the IXX century, when it became a favourite destination of the European travellers, appealed by the beauty, the nature and the art.
The city of Ravello, and the neighbouring locations, offer the visitor manifold historical and cultural places to visit.
The Cathedral of Ravello has been founded in 1086 by the bishop Orso Papirio. It's told that the bronze door, by Parisano da Trani, was carried out in the city of Constantinople and subsequently transferred to Ravello by the sea. It is divided in 54 squares, each of those showing Saints, Stories of Passion and different features. In the crypt you can find the Museum, rich in Roman finds, sarcophagus and sculptures of particular interest.
The Church of San Giovanni del Toro
Built in 975, here you can find a marvellous pulpit that is based on two round arches made up of mosaics and upheld by four columns with different capitals.
The Coral Museum
Opened in 1986, it gathers coral handmade articles, cameos, pearls and shells going back from the Roman Era to the latest century.
The Sicilian Arab architecture, the Moresque cloister, the terrace on the sea and the garden full of exotic flowers are the heritage that the tourist can admire in Villa Rufolo. From the vestibule of the entrance tower, decorated with small archs interlaced to the walls, having in each corner a four statues representing the Charity and the Hospitality practiced by the Rufolo, you can reach the three floors palace through a tree-lined path. On the left side you can see the major Tower, which is 30 meters high; on the right instead there's the courtyard which is like a small cloister. The estate, which enchanted many musicians, from Wagner - who found inspiration for the music and the scenes of his Parsifal - to Giuseppe Verdi, gives hospitality to the yearly Music Festival, to which lots of famous orchestras and soloists take part.
In the core of a wonderful garden, among forest trees and flowers of any kind you can find the temple of Cerere and the lookout of Mercury from which you can enjoy an unmatchable view of the Amalfi Gulf. At the entrance, there's a building with twin lancet windows and two little towers. The building goes back to the XII century, and it's erected on the ruins of a Roman Estate. Anyway, only in the XX century, thanks to the interest of an English noble, William Beckett, the house enlivened and became the favourite meeting point of politicians, showmen and artist, from Churchill to D. H. Lawrence and Greta Garbo. Nowadays a part of the estate has been converted into a luxurious hotel, with rooms that preserve period furniture.
Tastiness of ravello
The blending of two different cultures, the rural and the maritime, has left a deep sign in the local cookery. Ravello share with the entire Amalfi Coast a whole of dishes which are unique of its kind. The tattler with potatoes and the octopus with potatoes show at best this happy marriage between the sea and the earth cookery, as well as the stockfich and the borage, typical dishes from Furore. Beside the sweetest tomatoes called "spunzilli", which are preserved hanging and adorning the entrance halls of the houses, it's good to remember the dairy products, as "scamorza", "caciotta", "mozzarella and fior di latte". Among the first courses there are the "scialatielli", hard wheat ribbon shaped pasta flavoured with sea fruits and pumpkin flowers, the "crespoline", or better Amalfi ribbon shaped pasta, the "cavatielli" (like "orecchiette"), with tomatoes and caper-leaves, and finally the "vermicelli" with anchovies sifting. Even the offer of fish courses is extraordinary: all the varieties of fishes are prepared in the boiling water, with oil, garlic, parsley and tomatoes. In a few years a liqueur in vague spread in restaurants and wine cellars: the limoncello. The liqueur produced in small craftmade laboratories with alcohol, sugar, water and lemon fragrance, often got by grating the peel of the delicious citrus. Limoncello is usually served frozen as a digestive liqueur at the end of a meal, especially in small tiled grasses, frozen themselves.
It's absolutely amusing doing a walk through the small streets of the centre rich in shops, entering the firms and the picture-galleries and let that whirling of ideas and colours strike your imagination. Sometimes the choice becomes really embarrassing, because buying something means forgoing an item that struck our feelings. The ceramics of Vietri are surely one of the many peculiarities of the place. The yellow and the blue, colours of nature and sea, get mixed in vivacious decorations, which are often little masterpieces. Otherwise, if our interest is moved by local gastronomical products it gets very hard to make a choice that sacrifices one of the tastiness of the area. The pasta of Minori is one of he many, if you think that at the beginning of the XX century, thanks to its mills, the production of pasta wasn't secondary to the renowned location of Gragnano.
If there's something you can always find in Ravello, this is certainly the chance to lodge. If your goal is to book a vacation in Ravello, be sure you're going to have an endless range of options to consider. First you can choose to stay in one of the numerous hotel accommodations, having daily excursions in the manifold interesting sites and choosing the accommodation itself according to your budget and your needs, from the bed and breakfast to the five stars hotel. Otherwise, if your passion is being as much as close to nature, you can choose one of the various farm holidays of the area, as to have the chance to find out the gastronomical richness of the peninsula. Then, whatever is your idea of holidays, you'll find in the Coast the destination of your dreams.
On May 26th 1880, Richard Wagner comes for the first time to the little square of the silent small city. The director was in Naples for the orchestration of its Parsifal. In front of a scenery so romantic and fascinating like the garden of Villa Rufolo, on that terrace overlooking the immense sea, the artist had the immediate scenic inspiration of the Klingsor's garden, as he cried: "The magic Klingsor's garden has been found". The love and the enthusiasm that Ravello nourishes for Wagner and its art, live in the memories and is handed on from generation to generation in the Wagnerian exclamation. Today, Ravello is the "City of Music" in the Amalfi Coast. The International Happenings Calendar, the year's festival of the "Wagnerian Concerts" in Villa Rufolo are a tribute to the insurmountable creator of musical beauty: these happenings attract year after year lots of fans and connoisseurs in the world. They meet in Villa Rufolo to listen to the music in a particular natural frame that hasn't an equivalent in the world. Clearly, The International Festival of Music is only the peak of many happenings that represent an appendix, as the aperitif concerts, which take place during the whole summer in the evening hours. Among the religious events, the most important is the celebration of Patron Saint Pantaleone that is on July 26th. Twice a year (May and July) the believers rush to attend the miracle of the blood liquefaction, matched with many liturgical celebrations and a procession through the local streets.
Ravello offers its visitors numberless opportunities of delight, both during the day and the night, like polished open space coffee bars, typical "trattoria", disco and outdoor places. After an aperitif in the central square, it's good to spend a romantic dinner in one of the many restaurants, accompanied by typical Neapolitan live music. And by night, young people can go wild in the poshiest discos in South Italy, while adults who don't love confusion can take a walk and do shopping in the typical shops open until late. The host's duty is guaranteed and the local people's liking will persuade you to come back as soon as possible.
How to get there
From Rome: From the A1 Highway, once arrived to Caserta Sud, get onto the A30 motorway to Salerno. Get out in Pagani-Nocera. Follow the indication towards "Valico di Chiunzi" (Chiunzi mountain pass) and "Amalfi Coast", and reach Ravello by the pass.
From Naples: Get onto the A3 Naples-Pompeii-Salerno motorway. Get out in Angri and follow the indications towards "Valico di Chiunzi" and "Amalfi Coast", and reach Ravello by the pass.
From Reggio Calabria: arriving from the South (A3 motorway) get out in Salerno. Reach Vietri and run about 25 Km on the beautiful road of the Amalfi Coast until the crossroad to Ravello.
From Naples: SITA bus to Amalfi
From Salerno: SITA bus to Amalfi
From Amalfi: SITA bus to Ravello
For information and schedule visit the site www.sitabus.it
Reach Salerno Railway Station and continue by the SITA bus to Amalfi.
From Amalfi: SITA Bus to Ravello.
The nearest stop is Napoli Capodichino (NAP)
From the airport:
Reach Ravello by Taxi or Car Rental (65 Km)
By Bus: you can catch the transfer to Naples railway Station, then catch a train to Salerno and the SITA bus to Amalfi.