"Ravello" Ravello by edwis

Ravello Travel Guide: 113 reviews and 389 photos

Ravello is a top of cliff / plateau,

high above the sea setting for a little village which is totally restored and beautiful. Ravello was the most romantic spot along the Costiera, and as we found out, has been frequented by many famous people including Winston Churchill, Greta Garbo and writers / artists such as Gore Vidal, Virginia Woolf and Tennessee Williams. Coming into this preserved little town, it is strange to see a big digit modern sign flashing the current Dow Jones Averages every so often. Then in a little market store, we find that the cash registers are very computerized and high tech. What a contrast in ambience in Ravello.

The principal attractions we stumbled upon seemed to be the two famous Villas high atop the city. Both of these have panoramic gardens which we wandered through amongst tropical plants and enjoyed fabulous views of the coastline.

We also quickly learned that Jackie Kennedy was there. We came across an old man while walking up on the town’s hilly steps, who stops us to chat telling us all about Jackie’s visit (1962). He smiles at first and then only speaks in Italian and hand signals. We pick up enough words about the president to figure out what he is telling about. He says that there were “so many reporters and police there, they had to close the doors of the church to keep the large crowds away”. He met the two younger Kennedy children back then, and says that “now the boy is dead”. He asked us if we know how the Kennedy boy died. Then he used his hands to show us an airplane crashing into the ground – saying “Kaput”. This was absolutely wonderful; for here is a 70-something year-old Italian little villager who loves to talk about the biggest thrill in life – meeting the Kennedy kids some 40 years ago. Ravello has had many other famous visitors which include Suzanne Sommers, Hillary Clinton, and Humphrey Bogart, who played cards and drank a lot, according to the posted pictures along a town wall. They have the pictures of these famous visitors on town’s walls to prove it. We found a plaque on a mountain top rooming house wherein DH Lawrence wrote “Lady Chatterley’s Lover’. Along the back hillsides we walked through fresh gardens of lavender, rosemary, basil, tomatoes, grapes, and found some terraced walls of lemons. To top off a perfect afternoon of adventure, we also collected one Italian parking ticket in Ravello which was kept as an Italian souvenir.

Driving along the Amalfi coast roads, we saw acres of lemon groves. This is the prime region where they make that special / famous and popular after dinner drink called ‘limoncello’, yes it is “used to aid digestion”. Another popular drink we found was having Campari spritzers before meals, to “assist pre-digestion”. We never drank so much in our life and had been so concerned about all our digestive needs as our first trip overseas. Later in Croatia, “C” showed us how to make ‘Campari spritzers’ at her place which became Jovanna’s cocktail of choice. Of course we had to also bring a bottle of the real stuff back home. We also discovered and secured a very good famous white wine called ‘Greco di Tufo’ which is only available in this area. Two more bottles go into the suitcase.

Both in Positano and Ravello, all the town’s hotels were up steep stairs. Because you cannot bring your car close to these places, they have little “porters” everywhere that use carts and take your luggage up the stairs to your hotel. Some of the carts are even motorized with a tank-like traction wheels look, powering a little flatbed machine. While Ravello was a very quaint little village, we found that most of the stores had super sophisticated computers and scanners on everything. You just can’t hide the progress.

Through out Italy, as you enter a store, or when a waiter approaches your table, they always say “Prego” - which is how you say ‘your welcome’; as in “thank you, you’re welcome” (grazie, prego).

Minori and Maiori

We found that the Italians answer their telephones by saying ‘pronto’ which sounded odd, instead of the traditional ‘hall lo’ as in the other countries.Each evening we discovered in these Italian towns, from exactly 630 pm until 800 pm, most folks (the Italians) cleanup, dress up, and do their evening strolls (passeggio) along the town’s boardwalk or main little street, socializing and stopping for chats and gelatos. It seemed to be the men with men doing their loud talking, arms flailing all directions; and the women with the children and some other women. I liked the young pretty Italian women in tight slacks, high heels, and low cut tops. Everyone was so friendly with what seemed to be hundreds of “Buona Sera’s”.

We usually had a glass (meaning small bottle) of wine and sat somewhere along the way and just watched such a beautiful and relaxing setting. The days were hot in the mid 80’s, but cooled nicely at nights. At 830 pm, everyone seems to take off to eat at their homes, or stop at the outside tables at trattorias and pizzerias; many times we just picked up bread/ham/cheese/ wine, and then ate on our balcony or on a park bench near the water. Italian life was so good. The same day type of plan worked in Paris for us. Joan who hadn’t eaten any ham in 20+ years, started on day-one of this trip with some shaved Prosciutto, and had some type of ham on 12 out of the 14 days we were over there. Go figure.By this time on our first trip to Rome and beyond, we had to forget our original plans to visit the Isle of Capri, Sorrento, and a trip into Pompeii to see Mount Vesuvius. We just plain ran out of time. So on our newly revised leisurely drive out of Amalfi trying to get back towards Roma, we find a sign for a seaside town of Maiore. This turned out to be a fabulous little beach resort town. The goofy part of this is day is that while we thought we spent the afternoon in the town of Maiori because that was the only sign we ever saw, we were really in the town of Minori!

The beautiful beach of Minori occupies the whole small bay between the promontories that have some fortified towers right on the seashore line. This divides the town from Maiori and the opposite cape which is covered by the houses and noble palaces of the historic centre. In the middle of the beach there is a small quay which includes a landing point for hydrofoils and the landing of helicopters. Behind the beach, is the beautiful tree-lined promenade where we had our famous picnic lunch.

We poked around the town

and found a tiny little walkway street not wide enough for cars and come upon a open door way with only beads hanging down on it. We go inside slowly and find its a little lunch place where you order from the counter case. We negotiate a pizza Margherita, ½ rotisserie chicken, rosemary potatoes, and 4 cold local beers (Nastro Azzurro). We ordered it ‘portare’ (to go). Now we are all set and Jovanna announces she needs a toilette as we are standing at the counter. We asked the owner and the guy whistles upstairs, and then sends Jovanna up into their home to use their toilet. Now, I am getting kind of worried because it seems to be taking quite long, but she reappears and seems relieved. Not to worry, I am told. We take our bags of lunch items and head down to the sea walk quay area and have wonderful seaside lunch sitting on very scenic palm tree lined park benches.

  • Last visit to Ravello: Aug 2002
  • Intro Updated Jun 26, 2007
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  • cheekymarieh's Profile Photo
    Jul 2, 2007 at 11:05 AM

    Some nice photos. They bring back some memories of my travels last year. Glad you figured out how to add a travelogue before I logged on. Marie

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