Situated high in the hilltops above the glorious Amalfi coast, Ravello offers a dose of quiet sophistication for your 2018 holiday. From its stunning surroundings and famed gardens, to its infectious culture and tantalising cuisine, there’s certainly more to this region than pasta dishes and prosecco. While this part of Italy is home to iconic seafront spots like Sorrento and Positano, Ravello offers a much more reserved elegance. Away from tourist-filled beaches and bustling streets, this town is sheltered high up in the mountains, offering a place of retreat with spectacular views of the bay below. Its iconic neighbour is Amalfi, just a 15 minute drive away, where you’ll find a busy seafront and plenty of nightlife options. The enchanting town of Ravello has become a favoured setting for intimate weddings, as well as a popular honeymoon spot. But for those not tying the knot anytime soon, this is still a destination to fall in love with. A region steeped in history awaits you, alongside some of the most beautiful gardens in Europe.
Whether you’re heading off on a romantic getaway or simply seeking stunning views, warm sun and Italian cuisine to die for, a holiday in Ravello in 2018 should fit the bill.
The town’s main allure is in its scenic surroundings, something you’ll never tire of during your holiday in Ravello. Take a stroll along the meandering streets and you’ll come across quiet stretches of coloured stucco houses and fragrant lemon groves leading to perfectly manicured gardens. If it’s culture you’re looking for, Villa Cimbrone should be high on your to-do list. It’s a beautiful villa that dates back to the 11th century that was bought and renovated by an Englishman in the 1920s. Now it has now become a top tourist spot, and for good reason. Aside from its castle-like exterior and views over the Gulf of Salerno, there’s history to be discovered here too. It was once the favoured place to be for many celebrities in the 20th century, including Virginia Woolf and DH Lawrence, who couldn’t help but be inspired by its beauty.
In order to really get under Ravello’s skin, head to the main square. In the afternoon, this usually quiet spot becomes a hive of activity, where locals gather to chat over coffee. It’s the ideal place for people-watching, soaking up the sunshine and deciding where to visit on your next food stop.
Any holiday in Ravello is likely to feature some excellent food and drink. Italy is famed for its mouth-watering cuisine, and the Amalfi Coast is no different. Influenced by the fish dishes of the coast and the pasta and pizza of Naples, you’ll find a number of dishes to tantalise your taste-buds, and a multitude of restaurants to sample. Tuck into traditional spaghetti Bolognese, or embrace your adventurous side and try pesce in aqua pazza. Although it romantically translates to ‘fish in crazy water,’ it is a delicious concoction of freshly-caught fish and sumptuous baby tomatoes.
The main town centre has its fair share of traditional trattorias, but if you’re looking for an authentic experience, put a visit to Mama Agata’s on your list. A unique dining experience, Mama Agata has her own cookery courses – many of which get booked up well in advance. Held in her own kitchen, you should be able to cook the Italian basics after just a few hours of coaching. Once you’ve created a Ravello-inspired pasta dish, or aubergine parmigiata, you’ll be able to sit down with Mama and enjoy the best bit – the eating!
With its quiet and safe surroundings, Ravello is ideal for families seeking a relaxed getaway. Nearby beaches offer a chance for little ones to play, while parents can make the most of long sunshine-filled days on sun loungers. When the kids get bored of paddling in the sea and building sand castles, there are plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding area instead. Take a boat trip from Sorrento and you’ll uncover a stretch of glorious coastline, as well as a great day out with the kids to remember.
For the more inquisitive kids, a trip to nearby Pompeii is a must-do. A real history lesson outside of the classroom, this preserved Roman town will impress even the fussiest youngsters. Alternatively, head to the other great Versuvian site of Herculaneum for a similar and fascinating experience.
While Ravello holidays are more suited to those seeking a laid-back getaway, there are a number of opportunities to enjoy a slice of action on your trip. The nearby beaches offer a wealth of water sports for a start, where you can take part in everything from scuba-diving and snorkelling to parasailing and even jet-skiing.
For those not willing to get their feet wet, make the most of the area’s clifftop views with a spot of hiking or mountain biking. Pack your sturdiest boots and follow a trail that leads you across forests, cliffs, old houses and waterfalls. There’s plenty of opportunities to sit down and enjoy a picnic when your feet need a rest. Biking is a great way to see some of this part of Italy, with trails leading down to Amalfi and beyond.
While Ravello is located up in the mountains, you’re never far from the beautiful Italian coastline. With the sea within reaching distance, the only decision you have to make is where to plant your beach towel; Amalfi or Positano?
Those in search of lively beaches should head straight for Amalfi’s Spiaggia Grande, or the ‘large beach’. The walkway from the main square leads down to the shore where you’ll find a stretch of sand surrounded by a vast amphitheater of houses and villas. Restaurants are dotted around the beachfront, and you’ll discover designated spots for snorkelling and swimming. There’s even water sports on offer to keep the more adventure-seeking holidaymakers happy.
For something closer to Ravello, head to Castiglione Beach. A much quieter place to visit, this sandy beach has plenty of sun loungers and parasols just waiting for you. Surrounded by high cliffs, it only really gets the sunshine until the early afternoon, making it the perfect spot to devour a book or two in the cool shade.
Forget bustling nightclubs and raucous bars on your holidays to Ravello. Instead, evenings in Ravello are all about enjoying good food, drinking great wine and taking in the scenic views this region has to offer. A moonlit stroll might take you to the main square, where you’ll find locals chatting over an ice-cream, or a small savouring of limoncello.
If you’re a music fan however, the summer months present some great cultural happenings in the town. Between the months of March and October, Ravello is host to some of the best open-air classical concerts in the area. Check out the listings at the Niemeyer Auditorium and Villa Rufalo and you could find yourself enjoying some heavenly music in a delightful setting.
Of course, if you fancy some nightlife with little more buzz, there’s always Sorrento just down the road. There you’ll find plenty of stylish lounges and quirky cocktail bars to discover, as well as a cosy Irish bar serving Guinness alongside the usual Italian tipples.
A holiday in Ravello is perfect for couples in search of romance. Who could fail to be impressed by its panoramic vistas and fragrant rose gardens? There’s also a certain glamour about the town and as the former holiday spot of many actresses, authors and writers, Ravello has long been an inspiration for many.
The best way to see the town’s romantic side is to take a walking tour. Following the trail from Villa Rufolo to Villa Cimbrone and back, a tour takes you past the area’s stunning Romanesque architecture, overlooking the bay below. After all that walking, there’s nothing more romantic for couples on Ravello holidays than a hearty meal in one of the town’s traditional trattorias – bon appetit! Then, top it off with a romantic stroll in the moonlight back to your hotel.
A visit to Ravello wouldn’t be complete without taking in the local culture. Although nearby Pompeii is a must-see for history fans, Ravello’s real cultural attraction is its music. The area is famed for its classical music offerings, boasting a range of venues from which to enjoy concerts and shows. The biggest event in the calendar is the Ravello Festival, also known as the Wagner Festival. Held during the summer months, this cultural extravaganza boasts over 50 separate events to experience. They’re held in some of Ravello’s most beautiful venues, including the 13th century Villa Rufolo and the stunning Niemeyer Auditorium. Visitors can expect everything from opera to classical music and ballet, adding an extra dose of sophistication to your 2018 holiday in the beautiful Ravello.