Ravello was one of those places that reminds me why I love travel. Arriving in Ravello felt like walking into a fairy tale. There’s just something about this little town, tucked up high in the hills, with views of the sea from every angle that captured my heart. The winding cobblestone roads, the hilltop views, the pristine, beautiful gardens, and the delicious food and wine made this one of my absolute favorite places in Italy.
In the busiest tourist month of the year, after coming from packed cities like Positano, Capri and Rome, this quiet town was just the peaceful oasis we needed. We didn’t know much, or anything really, about Ravello before heading to the Amalfi Coast for this trip. Once we arrived in Italy and spoke to people, and read more travel books and blog sites, the more we wanted to visit this wonderful place everyone spoke so highly about. We took a car to Ravello from Positano (driven by someone else, there was no way we were driving on these windy, sometimes one-car roads up in the hills) and enjoyed the views along the coast.
If you’re wondering whether or not this little Italian town is worth the trip, the answer is YES. And here’s why….
1. Always my number one reason to visit a place…the VIEWS.
We stayed in a lovely hotel, Hotel Villa Fraulo, which was moderately priced and absolutely wonderful. We got a last minute booking here through the app Hotels Tonight and got about 50% off the regular price. I always recommend those last minute sites because we’ve ended up getting amazing deals that way!
We checked in and went straight to the patio for an espresso with this view. The weather was sunny and cool and the air was crisp and a refreshing change from the hot town of Positano we just left. Everywhere you walk in Ravello has these stunning panoramic views, since you’re up so high in the hills. The sunsets turn the sky a beautiful milky pink color and make this one of the most romantic places I’ve ever been.
These places are straight out of a Disney movie. After our coffee we went for a walk around the town and accidentally stumbled upon the most pristine gardens I had ever seen, Villa Cimbrone. We happened to be there right before sunset and the colors in the sky were a gorgeous mix of pastels. These gardens had every bright and colorful flower imaginable, all set against the deep blue sea in the background. We could have stayed in these gardens for hours, but we were getting too hungry, so we went back to our hotel for dinner.
We visited Villa Rufalo the next day at sunset and had a dream-like expiernece there too. They do concerts and music festivals here during the summer, but unfortunately they didn’t have any going on the weekend we were in town. If you visit, I would check the music festival dates and try to combine it with your trip!
Walking through the grounds as Italian music played through speakers placed strategically throughout the gardens was a great way to get the feeling of what it would be like to attend a concert in this venue. . I would love to come back for a festival someday.
I mentioned the fairytale-feeling this place evokes, but the quiet, relaxing setting we had here was something I had been wanting since we began our trip weeks earlier. There’s something about staying in a place high up in the hills that makes it feel like you’re floating above it all. We walked around on a high as we explored the little mama & papa shops, and the tucked away restaurants with expansive gardens and views of their own, while pausing to look out at the sea. At night, the trees lit up with twinkling white lights along the pathways back to our hotel.
4. The FOOD.
Of course, it is Italy, so the food is bound to be good, right? Well, depending on where you are and what places you choose, that’s not always the case. In major tourist areas the food can be overpriced and underwhelming. But here, the food was fresh, usually locally sourced, absolutely delicious, and not overpriced at all. A few of our favorite spots were Mimi Pizzeria. I think my pizza here was under 5 Euro and one of the best I’ve ever had in Italy…and trust me when I say I’ve eaten a ton of pizza in Italy. We absolutely loved the restaurant at our hotel, inside Hotel Villa Fraulo. The lemon cake was to this day, the best dessert I’ve ever had. Think melting chocolate lava cake, only this was lemon instead. Same concept, but so much better.
And last was this sunset view-table we had at Villa Maria. The local wine here is fantastic and we often took the suggestion from the waiter for the best choice with our meals, which never disappointed. Just make sure to ask for a table outside when you make a reservation!
I can’t believe I’m writing this, but the gelato in Ravello was definitely the one thing we didn’t like! We walked around looking for the perfect gelateria, one without the overly-bright colors and piled high flavors that typically mean they are artificially colored and flavored…but we couldn’t find any places that looked good! We tried two while we were there and were unfortunately disappointed in both. I guess they aren’t known for their gelato here, or maybe we just missed the best shops, but either way, the dessert we had at our dinner spots more than made up for it. Moral of the story – go to Capri, Florence, Rome for the best gelato, and Ravello for the lemon cake.
If Ravello wasn’t on your radar when visiting the Amalfi Coast, I suggest you change your plans and include this quiet, quaint, little town. You won’t be disappointed!