Category Archives: Ravello

Bends, Curves and Checks in Ravello

Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Walk

Peeking through to the Annunziata church in Ravello

There is a staircase I follow often to visit family that leads from the main piazza of Ravello, through and under the Villa Rufulo and past two churches. The first church is the much photographed Chiesa della SS. Annunziata. But my favorite view of it is the one you see above, which is so nicely framed by an arched walkway going down this staircase. Around a few more corners and you’ll spot the undulating roof and bell tower of Santa Maria delle Grazie.

Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Architecture

Looking down on Santa Maria delle Grazie

Last week the curves of the roof and the bends in the staircase as it twisted and turned down the mountainside caught my attention more than usual. Maybe it was because the sun was mostly hiding and the light was a bit odd. (That view can be particularly distracting when the sun is shining!)

Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Churches

Curvy lines and beautiful views

I love the curves of the roof and especially the part above the little window with criss cross bars. It’s hard to know just where to look with the steps leading one way and the lines of the building so smoothly rolling up and down. The eye doesn’t come to rest easily in one place.

Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Staircases and Churches

Feels like walking through an M.C. Escher drawing!

Vertiginous moments like these make it easy to understand why an artist like M.C. Escher fell in love with the Amalfi Coast. (Take a look at some of Escher’s drawings from the Amalfi Coast here.)

Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Santa Maria delle Grazie

Once colorful and beautifully detailed churches

There are also little architectural details that shed some light on how brilliant and colorful these churches must have appeared when they were built. (Although it’s hard to just how much has been retouched with restorations.) The border around the window above is on the side of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Walking up and down the steps and stopping to enjoy little details like this is what life — and travel — is all about for me.

Spring Blossoms at the Villa Cimbrone

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa Cimbrone Yellow Flowers

Spring bursts into bloom on the Amalfi Coast

Spring came a bit late this year, but it wasn’t stingy with its beautiful colors and much needed cheeriness. One sunny day when the internet went kaput I took a ride up to Ravello and headed toward the Villa Cimbrone. I’ve shared photos of a picture perfect autumn stroll through the Villa Cimbrone and a winter walk in Ravello, but I haven’t yet covered my favorite season of the year on the Amalfi Coast. Bright bursts of yellow, electric pink blooms and, yes, there will be wisteria! I try to visit the Villa Cimbrone each spring, but I’ve never managed to time it with the blossoming of the wisteria covered walkways in the garden. This year I was in luck as the much of the wisteria was at its peak. So just sit back, enjoy a cup of tea and savor the beautiful blossoms, garden setting and all the loveliness of spring at the Villa Cimbrone in Ravello!

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa Cimbrone Pink Blossoms Tower

The Villa Cimbrone gardens are the perfect spot to enjoy spring


 
Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa Cimbrone Wisteria Walkway

Walking under the wisteria in the Villa Cimbrone


 
Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa Cimbrone Wisteria Pergola

The delicious scent of spring on the Amalfi Coast


 
Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa Cimbrone Statue

Amidst the spring blossoms


 
Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa CImbrone Wisteria Buds

Hanging wisteria buds ready to bloom


 
Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa Cimbrone Terrace of Infinity

Stepping out to the Terrace of Infinity at the Villa Cimbrone


 
Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa Cimbrone Statue Terrace of Infinity

No flowers but an infinitely good mustache


 
Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa Cimbrone Cyclamen

From the infinite to tiny wild cyclamen


 
Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa Cimbrone Wisteria Steps

A wisteria pergola leading down to a replica of Verrocchio's David


 
Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa Cimbrone Stairs to Paradise

This may just be the actual stairway to paradise ...


 
Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa Cimbrone Wisteria Olive Trees

Wisteria blossoms against the backdrop of olive trees


 
Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa Cimbrone Purple Flowers

Not sure what these are, but I wanted to take them home with me.


 
Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa Cimbrone Tree Blossom

Perfect spring blossom


 
Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Villa Cimbrone Statue View

Spring colors and marvelous views at the Villa Cimbrone

Belvedere Principessa di Piemonte in Ravello

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Garden Entrance

An alluring garden entrance in Ravello

The Amalfi Coast is made of twists and turns with hidden away staircases, unexpected vistas out to the sea and beautiful spots to discover. If you’re the sort of traveler who likes to wander and explore, this is the place for you! Ravello has two famous villas with gardens you can visit—the Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone—but there are many other lovely spots to discover if you head out to explore the town. Strolling along Via San Giovanni del Toro just past the entrances to the luxe Hotel Caruso and the Palazzo Avino you will spot an arched stone entrance dripping with vines. Peek through the arch to catch just a glimpse of the view and it’s impossible not to walk in to explore the little Belvedere Principessa di Piemonte.

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Garden View

The Belvedere Principessa di Piemonte in Ravello

The small grassy garden is shaded with beautiful trees and planted with seasonal flowers. This is a very popular spot for weddings in Ravello since the city hall is just a short stroll away. There are some very well placed benches where you can sit and relax while enjoying the view. “Belvedere” means “beautiful view” – and that’s most definitely what you’ll find here!

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Panorama

View from the Belvedere Principessa di Piemonte in Ravello

The view overlooks the Amalfi Coast with the picturesque village of Torello below and Minori and Maiori in the distance. The views here are very similar to what you would enjoy from the five star hotels nearby, but for free! In many scenic spots along the Amalfi Coast you’ll find signs that indicate where famous movies were filmed. There’s a sign at the Belvedere Principessa di Piemonte about the 1953 movie Beat the Devil with Humphrey Bogart and the beautiful Gina Lollobrigida.

Ciao Amalfi Coast Travel Ravello Movie Sign

Movies filmed on the Amalfi Coast

The Belvedere Principessa di Piemonte takes its name from a real princess – Marie José of Belgium (1906-2001) who married Prince Umberto, the crown prince of the House of Savoy. Her title after marriage was the Princess of Piedmont, or Principessa di Piemonte in Italian. She became the last Queen of Italy in 1946, and her short 35-day role as Queen consort from May 9th to June 12th earned her the name “The May Queen.” In the 1930s, when what is today called the Ravello Festival was just getting started, the Prince and Princess of Piedmont attended one of the concerts in Ravello, and this belvedere was renamed Belvedere Principessa di Piemonte in honor of the princess.

Belvedere Principessa di Piemonte Gardens Ravello

A view fit for a princess!

Next time you’re in Ravello, take a stroll up to the top of town to enjoy the beautiful views and peaceful garden at the Belvedere Principessa di Piemonte. (Tiaras not required …)


See Mamma Agata’s Cooking School on MasterChef UK!

Very exciting news for all of you Amalfi Coast lovers in the UK! Tune in tomorrow evening to the MasterChef UK show on BBC One to see the semi final, which was filmed at the beautiful Mamma Agata Cooking School on the Amalfi Coast. In this episode, judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace take the semi finalists on a culinary odyssey to Italy, including a stop in Ravello to learn Mamma Agata’s cooking secrets and enjoy those dreamy Amalfi Coast views. Sigh … and what amazing views they are from the Mamma Agata cooking school!

Enjoy a sneak peek here with the preview for this episode of MasterChef UK. But you won’t have to wait long to see the full episode! Here are the details:

MasterChef UK on BBC One

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

9pm

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UPDATE

If you didn’t catch Mamma Agata and her family featured on MasterChef UK, you can catch it all here. One word of warning … don’t watch when you’re hungry!

The New Year

Amalfi Harbor New Year's Day 2013

The harbor of Amalfi on New Year's Day 2013

The beginning of a new year is always a special time – for reflection, for a pause in the hubbub of daily life and for hope for the year ahead. Even though it’s just one of the many days each year, it still feels something like a blank canvas or that crisp, empty page of a new notebook. Boy there’s nothing I love more than the possibilities of a new notebook. While any old notebook will do if the main purpose is simply filling the pages, there’s something extra special about a beautiful notebook. Just like there’s something extra special in the air when the new year starts with a clear blue sky. A moment to be treasured.

Amalfi Marina Grande Beach January 2013

At the beach in Amalfi on New Year's Day!

This year New Year’s Day arrived with a brilliant blue sky and warmer than average temperatures on the Amalfi Coast. Before joining family for the traditional New Year’s Day lunch, we enjoyed the sunshine and the start of the new year in Amalfi. There were people already soaking up the sun on the beach and even a few brave swimmers testing the water. And with the exquisite colors of the sea in the winter you can hardly blame them. It is oh so tempting!

Amalfi Turquoise Sea New Year's Day 2013

The clear, turquoise winter sea in Amalfi on New Year's Day

After a late night watching the spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks in Amalfi, a walk on such a beautiful day was the perfect way to start the new day and the new year. Following the road from Amalfi we headed toward the neighboring village of Atrani. Along the way is the medieval watchtower that is now a part of the Hotel Luna.

Amalfi Hotel Luna Watchtower January 2013

The Hotel Luna watchtower in Amalfi

Atrani was looking sleepy and very lovely on New Year’s Day. There was an air of quiet everywhere as the villages awoke to a glorious start to the new year.

Atrani January 2013

Atrani on New Year's Day 2013

Around the corner past Atrani lies the beach of Castiglione down a winding staircase of a couple hundred steps. It’s a very popular beach in the summer, and even a few people were enjoying the sunshine on New Year’s Day this year.

Ravello Castiglione Beach January 2013

A secluded winter beach on the Amalfi Coast

If you’re used to cold water temperatures you can still enjoy a swim in the sea during the winter months on the Amalfi Coast. While there are some locals that swim nearly every day and tourists that brave the cold, it’s not my cup of tea. I’m an admirer of the sea from afar in the winter, which is when I think the colors are the most beautiful. This vivid turquoise is just incredible!

Swimming on the Amalfi Coast January 2013

Anyone for a swim?

I hope your new year is off to a brilliant and happy start! Wishing you a peaceful year ahead filled with many tales to recount in your blank notebook.