Ravello Torre Maggiore at Villa Rufolo

Visit the Torre Maggiore at Villa Rufolo – Opens April 1st!

Ravello Torre Maggiore at Villa Rufolo

The Torre Maggiore at Villa Rufolo Opens as the Torre-Museo on April 1st

If you’ve been to Ravello and visited the Villa Rufolo, you’ve likely stood and enjoyed the view looking up at the Torre Maggiore. This historic tower dates back to the 13th century when the wealthy Rufolo family called the Villa Rufolo home. Behind the scenes a major restoration project has been going on to open the Torre Maggiore to the public by transforming it into a museum and creating a viewing platform at the top. The project is complete and opens to the public on April 1st!

Torre Maggiore at Villa Rufolo Garden

Can you spot the glass enclosed view platform on the tower?

Last weekend the Villa Rufolo opened the Torre-Museo for a sneak peek viewing by residents on the Amalfi Coast. I’ve been eyeing that viewing platform for some time now. I just new it would have an incredible view! Last Saturday morning was clear and beautiful, so it was the perfect time to visit the Torre-Museo for the first time.

Let me start with the viewing platform on the top, because that’s what really took my breath away. The view from the gardens of Villa Rufolo are justifiably famous. But what climbing to the top of the Torre Maggiore does is give you a bird’s-eye view over the gardens with that incredible sweeping view of the coastline and Bay of Salerno.

Plus, since it’s surrounded by glass on all sides, you get views of Ravello and across the valley to Scala that you wouldn’t see from anywhere else.

Since the inside of the tower has been transformed into a museum and interactive experience, the climb of about 100 steps really goes by quickly. The staircase itself is a fascinating site, twisting and turning like an M.C. Escher design.

Along the way on each level there are architectural pieces, artefacts and explanation about the history of the Rufolo family and the tower.

The lighting is striking and creates and evocative setting for displaying pieces. Along the journey climbing the stairs, there are also light projections and audio recordings to bring the history to life.

At the entrance to the tower there’s a small room displaying artwork showing Ravello, the Amalfi Coast and the Villa Rufolo.

A visit to the Torre-Museo is a great way to start your exploration of the Villa Rufolo. Then you can wander through the beautiful gardens and buildings that you spied from on top of the Torre Maggiore.

The Torre-Museo opens to the public on April 1st, 2017 and entrance to the tower will be included in the price of the Villa Rufolo ticket. Entrance to the tower may be limited to a certain number of people at a time to improve the visitor experience, so if you’d like to go you might want to check if there’s a line when you arrive at Villa Rufolo.

Find out more about opening times and ticket prices at www.villarufolo.com.

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Is This Your Cat?

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From the moment I met our cat Toulouse, it has been an adventure. This furry little guy arrived one Monday morning three and a half years ago, when someone buzzed at our gate and asked, “Is this your cat?” When I looked at the orange and white fuzzball with impossibly big ears, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It wasn’t very many hours before the adventure began, when this little kitten was attacked in front of our eyes by another cat and left for dead. We rushed him to the vet and I helped nurse him back to life. You can read all about that adventurous Monday here.

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It took some time for Toulouse to get his name. But to give you an idea of his playful nature, his first nickname was “Bitey McBite.” While it took awhile for just the right name to arrive, it took no time at all for him to work his way into our hearts. This little nutcase has been non stop craziness and fun since he could get around again. He is my constant companion and writing buddy. He makes me laugh so many times every time. He brought a smile to my face during some very tough times over the last few years. How could you not laugh at a kitten hiding inside fruit bag?

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Toulouse recovered well in all areas, except one of his front legs. He had suffered too much nerve damage to that leg and couldn’t move it much. So after having him for about 6 months, we made the big decision to have that leg amputated. And boy was he brave! I shared about that story here. Although in retrospect, I think the whole adventure was more traumatizing for us than for him. He never looked back … and has been rocking three legs ever since!

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We’ve had more adventures along the way with Toulouse (look up “twitchy cat syndrome” sometime if you’re truly bored), but I couldn’t image our life without this cat. And even though he sometimes gets annoyed with Toulouse, I suspect his big brother Puffy feels the same way.

Puffy and Toulouse

So now, after three and a half years and many adventures, I can answer with certainty, “Yes, that is my cat!”

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Animals definitely have a way of coming into our lives in unexpected ways. How have pets changed your life? I’d love to hear your stories!

 

 

 

Italy Blogging Roundtable

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This blog post is part of a series called The Italy Blogging Roundtable. Every month our group of Italy based writers takes on a new theme, and you can read the contributions for this month’s topic – Pets – at the links below. We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Please share the stores if you’ve enjoyed them!

BrigolanteOf Dogs and Death

Italy ExplainedCaesar’s Cats

Amalfi Coast Ferry Schedule 2017

Amalfi Coast Ferry Schedule 2017

Amalfi Coast Ferry Schedule 2017

Amalfi Coast Ferry Schedule 2017

If you’re planning a trip to the Amalfi Coast this year, one of the most enjoyable ways to get around the coast is on the ferry. The company Travelmar runs regular, daily ferry service connecting Positano, Amalfi and Salerno, and they’ve announced their schedule for this year! Service begins on April 1st and runs through October 31st, 2017. Remember, of course, that the ferry service on the Amalfi Coast is always weather permitting. That being said, the ferry service is only rarely canceled throughout the season.

Below is the Amalfi Coast ferry schedule 2017, and you can find out all the details at www.travelmar.it – which is also available in English!

Travelmar Amalfi Coast Ferry Schedule 2017

Book Amalfi Coat Ferry Tickets Online

One handy travel tip I can recommend is buying your Travelmar ferry tickets online. You can book your tickets in advance online here. Or you can also download the Travelmar app for information while you’re traveling. Very handy! If you’re not sure on your travel plans or timing, that’s no problem. I’ve always just bought my ferry tickets from from the ticket booths in Amalfi, Positano and Salerno right before departure.

Amalfi Coast Ferry Schedule 2017

Find Out More About Amalfi Coast Ferries

Have questions about ferries on the Amalfi Coast? I answered some of the most popular questions in this fun Amalfi Coast Ferry Q&A. I also highly recommend following Travelmar on Facebook, which is the best way to find out if the ferries are running on iffy weather days as they post notifications if the service is canceled.

 

Travel Inspiration

Need even more reason to hop on the ferry to get around the Amalfi Coast? Travelmar created this gorgeous video that really captures the ferry experience on the Amalfi Coast. The gorgeous views from the sea, the incredible photo opportunities and … best of all … no traffic! It really is the best way to get around the Amalfi Coast. Enjoy!
 

Find out more at Travelmar!

Ravello and Spring on the Amalfi Coast

Visiting the Amalfi Coast in the Spring

Ravello and Spring on the Amalfi Coast

What to See & Do on the Amalfi Coast in the Spring

The weather is warming up, birds are singing every morning when I open the window and the almond trees have started to blossom. That means la primavera has arrived on the Amalfi Coast! Everything is a bit brighter this time of year, and I love watching the trees and plants come to life. Spring brings with it the arrival of the tourist season and travelers from around the world start arriving. Those lucky early spring visitors are in for a treat, too! While it’s true that the weather can be a bit more unpredictable in March and April, the rainy weather usually passes quickly. So for those of you getting ready for your upcoming trip, here’s a look at some of my favorite reasons to visit the Amalfi Coast in the Spring!

 

See the Wisteria Blooming

Wisteria in Positano - Spring on the Amalfi Coast

Ahhh … nothing says spring on the Amalfi Coast more than draping vines of sweet scented wisteria! Since the early spring flowers like daffodils and tulips aren’t very common in this area, I look forward all winter to seeing the wisteria blooming. While you can see wisteria all up and down the coast, my two favorite spots on my annual wisteria pilgrimage are Positano and Ravello. In Positano, you can find the wisteria blooming from right down by the beach and along the main street up into town. See more photos of wisteria in Positano here. In Ravello, you won’t want to miss visiting the Villa Cimbrone, which has pergolas full of wisteria. It’s absolutely heavenly when they’re blooming! The wisteria usually blooms from the end of March to beginning of April, depending on the spring weather.

 

Enjoy the Crisp Colors on a Ferry Ride

Amalfi Ferry - Amalfi Coast in the Spring

Usually around Easter time (or earlier if April is late in the spring) the ferries start running on the Amalfi Coast. This is the best way to get around, especially between Amalfi and Positano. The colors in the spring are often crisper than later in the summer when it tends to be more humid. So it’s a great time to get out your camera and enjoy the views of this gorgeous coastline from the sea.

 

Go Hiking Among the Flowers

Capri Spring Hiking - Amalfi Coast in the Spring

March and April are both great months for hiking on the Amalfi Coast, especially if you aren’t too fond of the heat. The ginestra (yellow broom flowers you can see in the photo above on Capri) starts blooming around this time, and the yellow flowers create quite a punch of color against the blue background of the sea and sky. Enjoy a hike in the mountains around Amalfi or why not tackle the incredible Pathway of the Gods above Positano? Or, if you’re looking for an stunning view without the hike, take the funicular up to Monte Solaro on Capri for the beautiful view above.

 

Get the Beach (Almost) to Yourself!

April Beach in Amalfi - Spring on the Amalfi Coast

When the sun comes out so do all the beach lovers! While the water might be a bit chilly for some people (including me!) this time of year, it’s definitely not for many people. Even if I don’t venture in very far in the spring, I love this time of year at the beach since it’s so much less crowded than the summer. The water is also incredibly clear and oh so tempting!

 

Easter in Amalfi

Neapolitan Pastiera Amalfi Coast

This year Pasqua (Easter) falls on Sunday, April 16th, which is the unofficial start of the season on the Amalfi Coast. If you’re visiting the area for Easter this year, be sure to arrive in time for Good Friday, which is when you’ll be able to experience the incredibly moving religious processions that take place on that day. One of the most impressive on the coast is in Amalfi, where a large procession takes place after dark. The city shuts off the lights in the piazza and it’s lit only by candles. You can get a glimpse of the procession in this video from a few years back.

While on the Amalfi Coast during Easter, don’t miss the chance to try the traditional Neapolitan pastiera. It’s a tart made with ricotta cheese, cooked wheat, eggs and candied orange peels. You’ll find it at every bakery during the Easter season, but my two favorite spots in Amalfi are Pasticceria Pansa or Pasticceria Leone. If you’re planning a visit to the Amalfi Coast this spring, I hope it’s a sweet one!