Venerdì Santo Processions in Ravello & Scala

Last week on Venerdì Santo, or Holy Friday, it is the traditional day for the Processione del Cristo Morto, a mournful procession representing the carrying of Christ after he has been taken down from the cross to his burial. Usually, a statue of Christ’s body laying on a bed is carried followed by a statue of the Virgin Mary dressed in black and weeping for her lost son. The processions take place after dark and often only by torch light, and are some of the most moving religious expressions I have experienced here in Italy. Last year I witnessed Amalfi’s impressive Venerdì Santo procession, but each town on the Amalfi Coast has its own traditions. To see something different this year, we decided to see how Holy Friday was celebrated in the towns of Ravello and Scala, high up in the mountains above Amalfi.

Duomo of Ravello

The Duomo of Ravello was striking, lit up against the black night sky. When we arrived the procession had already left the Duomo and was making its way through the stepped walkways of Ravello toward the Church of Santa Chiara near the Villa Cimbrone. We could hear the deep voices of the male choir and the marching band echoing through town. We crossed the Piazza Duomo and headed toward the procession, which we met just as it arrived at the Church of San Francesco in Ravello. Here is a video of the procession as it was leaving the church where you can see the statue of Christ and the Virgin Mary. Listen to the deep male voices in the choir. I’ve never heard anything like it on the Amalfi Coast, and the tour guide said it reminded him of processions he saw when he was working on the island of Sardinia many moons ago.

We followed the procession as it slowly made its way back to the Piazza Duomo, accompanied by a mournful song played by a marching band from the Vallo di Diano down in the Cilento. The procession continued its long path to the other end of Ravello, but for us it was time to hop in the car and cross the Dragone Valley to see what was happening in Scala for Venerdì Santo. The doors to the huge Duomo of San Lorenzo were open and the light flooded out into the dark piazza.

Duomo of San Lorenzo in Scala

All around on every ledge and windowsill were little red candles – the only lights in the piazza and along the streets of Scala. The photo below is a little out of focus, but it does capture the feel of the red lights against the old stone buildings. Across the valley we could see the lights of Ravello, and the sound of the procession making its way through Ravello echoed all the way from the other side of the valley.

Easter candles in Scala

Here is a video of the procession leaving the Duomo of Scala and leading to the Church of Sant’ Alfonso, where it turned around and returned. You can hear the church bell in Scala … it was 9:15 PM if you’re counting!

Here is a video of the procession returning through Scala where you can see the statue of Christ and the Virgin Mary better. The Vernerdì Santo procession in Scala was very simple, but in its simplicity was one of the most beautiful. There was no marching band or crowd of tourists, just the people of Scala carrying on a religious tradition that has been celebrated here for centuries.

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter weekend! And, if you celebrated in Italy, I’d love to hear about Venerdì Santo and Pasqua traditions in other areas of Italy. Next year I plan on visiting Minori for Venerdì Santo as I’ve been told that they light candles on the sea along the beach. I love discovering these traditions in Italy and seeing how much they vary from one village along the Amalfi Coast to the next!

A winter stroll through Ravello’s Villa Cimbrone


One of the pleasures of visiting the Amalfi Coast in the winter is the rare chance to visit some of the most beautiful spots without having to wonder how many tourist photograph albums you might have ended up  in around the world. Sunny winter afternoons are one of my favorite times to stroll through Ravello and enjoy the views from the Villa Rufolo and the Villa Cimbrone.  This coming summer when the gardens are in full bloom I promise I’ll take you all on a proper tour through the Villa Cimbrone. But in the meantime, grab your cameras, wrap a scarf around your neck, and let’s head down the Avenue of Immensity . . .


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Ravello Winter Villa Cimbrone 1


At the end of the long pathway is a beautiful building with a statue of Ceres, the Roman goddess of the harvest. At sunset the view is absolutely striking. 


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Ravello Winter Villa Cimbrone 2


Ceres watches over the steeply terraced land surrounding Ravello where grape vines and lemon groves bask in the warm sun.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Ravello Winter Villa Cimbrone 3 

Just steps beyond Ceres is one of the most spectacular views you’ll find on the Amalfi Coast. This terrace is very appropriately named the Terrace of Infinity. And it really feels like you can see forever . . .


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Ravello Winter Villa Cimbrone 4


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Ravello Winter Villa Cimbrone 6


Returning back in the gardens, you’ll soon find this charming Temple of Bacchus.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Ravello Winter Villa Cimbrone 8


While the gardens in January pale in comparison to their splendor during the spring and summer months, there were still a few bursts of color dotting the landscape.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Ravello Winter Villa Cimbrone 7


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Ravello Winter Villa Cimbrone 9


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Ravello Winter Villa Cimbrone 10










Little reminders that spring is coming soon to the Amalfi Coast!



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The Churches of Ravello

Winter afternoons in Ravello


The other day it was sunny so we went to Ravello to enjoy a walk and poke our noses around the Villa Rufolo gardens to see how they trimmed their hydrangea. The gardener there does wonderful things, so I try to learn as much as I can by observing the beautiful gardens. The hydrangea in my garden now look a lot like this:


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Winter Ravello hydrangea 

Not far from the Piazza Duomo in Ravello is the Church of San Francesco. Following the walkway that leads to the Villa Cimbrone you first see the campanile, or bell tower, of the church.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Winter Ravello Campanile


Then you reach a beautiful atrium with the entrance to the church. I’ve walked through here many times, but the church has never been open to visit.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Winter Ravello Atrium


Although Ravello was practically deserted this winter afternoon, we did find the church door open and ducked inside to take a look. It was a beautiful and very well-preserved interior. The church was empty, so we walked around for awhile looking at all the paintings and the architectural details.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Winter Ravello chiesa san francesco 

On either side of the apse above the altar there are beautiful paintings showing scenes from the life of San Francesco. Between these paintings there is a grate that likely served as a window for cloistered monks. I’m  not sure about the story for these particular windows, but they were interesting to see.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Winter Ravello San Francecso


You never know when you’re traveling in Italy when you’ll stumble across an open door and find little treasures like this church. Continuing along toward the Villa Cimbrone, next to peaceful terraces of sleeping vines, we hardly met a soul while enjoying the quiet beauty of Ravello in the winter.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Winter Ravello vines 

I did say that we hardly met a soul.


Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Winter Ravello chickens 

Today it’s raining again, but when the rain stops wintertime on the Amalfi Coast is truly magical!



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Tempting Tuesday: Summer Yellows on the Amalfi Coast


It’s cold. It’s officially cold, and I’m not ready for it yet. For a few days it felt like we skipped right past autumn to winter. That’s no good! Temperatures across Italy have been well below the seasonal norm this past week as a nasty cold front swooped down from Russia. This has sent me back to my summer pictures with pleasure! Just looking at the vivid yellow and bright sunny days warmed me up inside. Here are some yellow-themed moments from life on the Amalfi Coast this summer  . . .



Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Broke Garden

Broke lounging in the early summer sun



Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Church Sorrento

Can’t do yellow without including the bright yellow Baroque facade and atrium on the Chiesa della Madonna del Carmine that sits right on Sorrento’s Piazza Tasso. It always makes me smile!



Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Crosswalk

If you look in the Italian pictionary under “fruitless endeavor,” this is the image you’ll see.



Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Ravello Festival

Ravello was covered with beautiful pansies in early spring.



Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Yellow Dress

This could have gone with pinks last week, but I love how the yellow dress at the end just jumps out!



Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog San Michele Anacapri

Pale yellow and white interior of the Chiesa Monumentale di San Michele in Anacapri



Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Wild Snapdragons

Wild Snapdragons, Scala



Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog View Villa Rufolo

View looking toward Salerno from the Villa Rufolo, Ravello.



Stop back by next week for the final color themed summer photo post!



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