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  • Writer's pictureAmy Leggett

Ravello-A Hidden Gem of the Amalfi Coast

Villa Cimbrone Amalfi Coast Ravello
View from the Terrace of Infinity at Villa Cimbrone

When planning a trip to the Amalfi Coast, all the big names pop up. Positano, Capri, Amalfi, Sorrento. Of course, all of these places are extraordinary and have their own unique beauty that cannot be missed while you are on the Amalfi Coast. But I want to let you in on a hidden gem we discovered on our trip. Ravello is a hilltop village sitting 1200 feet above the Mediterranean that offers a glimpse into thousands of years of history and some captivating views of the Amalfi Coast. Ravello turned out to be one of my favorite stops on our trip!

Villa Cimbrone Ravello Infinity Terrace
Taking in the views from the Terrace of Infinity

Getting to Ravello:

Ravello is high above the coast so getting there requires some planning. There are three ways to get to Ravello:

  • WALK: If you are really fit, you can walk (or basically climb stairs) from Amalfi. We chose to get transportation up to Ravello and walk back down to Atrani/Amalfi and I can report that even the downhill trek is challenging. There are A LOT of steps (apparently approximately 1700!) and steep decline so I can't imagine doing it the other way up to the top! But if you are looking for some intense exercise on your vacation you do have the option to walk to Ravello.

  • BUS: We had hoped to take the bus up to Ravello as it is the cheapest and most convenient option. If the buses are operating, this is the option you should choose. A bus leaves from Amalfi about once an hour and the ride is about 20 minutes. Ticket prices are less than 2 Euro (either one way or round trip), but you may want to consider a Special Ticket which gives unlimited rides on the SITA buses around the coast for 24 hours from the time of first validation. If you are exploring several different areas this may be the best option for you. Check here for ticket options and pricing. Unfortunately, the day we wanted to go to Ravello, the buses weren't operating, so we had to take a taxi.

  • TAXI: Taking a taxi to Ravello is the most expensive option and was even more expensive for us as the buses were not operating. The Italian taxi drivers took advantage of the limited transportation options and were charging 60 Euros for a one way trip up to Ravello! At first we declined and contemplated walking up (but on our trip down I realized that plan would have lasted about 5 minutes before we turned around because the uphill climb was too difficult!). I really, really wanted to visit Ravello based on my pre-trip research so I bit the bullet and paid the outrageous taxi fee. All I can say is I don't regret it! As I said, Ravello was one of my favorite stops of our trip so I am so glad we decided to go despite the transportation difficulties. If the buses are operating, the fare for a taxi ride up to Ravello would probably be a bit more reasonable so it is an option if riding a crowded bus up a twisting mountain road doesn't sound appealing to you.

What to Do in Ravello:

  • Walk Around the Piazza and Surrounding Streets: Ravello has lots to explore in an afternoon. We arrived mid-morning on a Sunday and it was very quiet. We grabbed some breakfast and sat in the Piazza Vescovado looking out over the mountainside with the historic Duomo as our backdrop. The Duomo, which was built in the 11th century, serves as the spiritual and social hub of Ravello. After our breakfast we walked around the streets of Ravello and took in historic architecture and browsed the beautiful ceramic shops.

  • Commune with the Village Cats: One of our favorite things about Ravello was the number of village cats roaming around. We are cat lovers and were missing our kitties at home so this was a nice surprise. There was a black cat named Natari that is the official cat of Ravello and we were enchanted by her. We saw her actually jogging along side one of the residents of Ravello who told us of her official status. In addition to Natari, there were several other friendly cats and the girls had to stop and meet each one!

  • Visit Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone: Ravello is especially known for the beautiful villas and gardens that look out over the Mediterranean providing unbelievable views of the Amalfi Coast. There are two main villas that you should see on your visit to Ravello. Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone are both incredible and provide completely different experiences so I highly recommend checking out both of them.

    • Villa Rufolo sits right off the main Piazza. Villa Rufolo was built by a wealthy merchant family in the 13th century and at one time was one of the largest and most expensive villas on the Amalfi Coast. It's beautiful gardens are a popular attraction and Villa Rufolo is the host of annual summer concerts featuring piano concerts, chamber music and a grand orchestral performance on a stage jutting out over the Mediterranean Sea and the Amalfi Coast creating a breath-taking backdrop for the musical performance. Villa Rufolo opens at 9:00 am and tickets are €7. Depending on how long you linger it takes about an hour to walk through the Villa and the gardens.

  • Villa Cimbrone is a short walk (about 10 minutes) from the main Piazza. Villa Cimbrone itself is private 5-star hotel, but tourists can (and should!) visit the Villa Cimbrone Gardens. Villa Cimbrone was built in the 11th century, but was extensively renovated by a British nobleman in the early 20th century. On the Garden grounds there is a crypt, cloister, various statues and other artwork, and the famous Terrace of Infinity where you can grab that Instagrammable photo! The Terrace of Infinity sits high above the coastline and is lined with white marble busts creating a unique and breathtaking spot to take in the views and grab a photo. The cost of admission to the Villa Cimbrone Gardens is €7 and again will probably take around an hour to explore the grounds.

  • Grab a Bite to Eat: There are several places to eat in Ravello and I am sure they are all great. We stopped at Ristorante Villa Maria, a charming spot we passed on our way back from Villa Cimbrone. What a great find! The view from the terrace was spectacular, the food was excellent and the spritzes were refreshing. The perfect ending to our time in Ravelllo!

Heading Back Down to Atrani:

After our delicious lunch, we began the journey down to Atrani. It was downhill, but it was still challenging due to the steepness and the THOUSANDS of stairs. If your knees and stamina are up for it, I would still recommend it because the views were amazing! If you are in the mood for a more relaxing day, you can catch the bus or take a taxi back down. Here are some shots from our trip down to Atrani, a small fishing village right next to Amalfi. SIDE NOTE: If you are looking for some beach time, my girls highly recommend the Atrani beach. It is just a short walk from Amalfi and it was a lot less crowded. It was a free public beach, they just needed to bring towels.

Don't Miss This Hidden Gem!

A day in Ravello should definitely be on your itinerary. You will find a charming, historic village that will give you a break from the crowds at the more known Amalfi Coast spots, incredible views and a kitty fix if you are a cat lover! Ravello is a precious hidden gem on the Amalfi Coast so make sure you don't miss it!


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