Key Things To Do in Ravello Italy
On the Amalfi Coast, visitors flock to Ravello to experience the romance of a medieval mountaintop town. Ravello’s ancient villas, stunning gardens, and breathtaking seascapes have wowed visitors for generations. Our article on things to do in Ravello, Italy will help you explore this remarkable village on the Sorrento Peninsula.
Many of the best things to do in Ravello involve immersing in its rich culture (the town’s nickname is the ‘city of music and art’). The village has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is largely pedestrianized, inviting visitors to slow and explore its lovely lanes on foot. For more information on how to get to Ravello, the best time to visit, hotels, and restaurants refer to our Ravello Guide.
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THINGS TO DO IN RAVELLO
Visit the Villa Cimbrone Gardens and Infinity Terrace
Address: Via Santa Chiara Garden Admission: $7 Euros Hours: Seasonal, usually 9 am to sunset
High on a cliff at the edge of town, the Villa Cimbrone Gardens offer spectacular panoramas of the sea, sky, and Amalfi Coast. On a clear day, the views from the garden’s Infinity Terrace are indescribably beautiful. American writer, Gore Vidal, called the vista the finest in the world.
The 5-star adjacent hotel is private, but the Villa Cimbrone gardens are open to the public and should be considered a must-see on the Amalfi Coast. Originating as a Roman estate, the grounds were revitalized in the early 20th century by a wealthy Englishman, Lord Grimthorpe. The resulting English and Italian botanical gardens have been wowing artists, actors, and tourists ever since.
Surrounded by mountains and Mediterranean Sea, the walkways of the garden are lined with ornate pavilions, statues, flower beds, and temples. At the very end of the estate, visitors step through the Temple of Ceres to walk along the Belvedere (formally known as the Infinity Terrace). The terrace is lined with a series of marble busts that frame the gorgeous land- and seascapes.
Pro Tip: Watch the weather forecast. If you are able, visit Ravello on day with at least partial sunshine to fully experience the range of the colors of the horizon.
Light a candle in the Duomo di Ravello
Address: Piazza Duomo, Ravello; Admission: $3 Euros; Hours: Seasonal, usually opens at 9
Constructed in the 11th century, the Duomo di Ravello anchors Ravello’s main square. Since the Rufolo family funded the original build, numerous restorations have altered the cathedral’s Baroque and Romanesque interior. Of special note is the Duomo’s impressive bronze door, its pulpit (six columns sitting atop marble lions), a pair of mosaics of Jonah and the Whale, the Chapel of St. Pantaleone, and a small cathedral museum with sculptures and other works of art.
Explore the Towers and Cloisters of Villa Rufolo
Address: Piazza Duomo, Ravello; Admission: $7 Euros; Hours: 9am to 8pm
The Villa Rufolo was built in the 13th century by the wealthy Rufolo dynasty. In ancient times, the manor hosted royalty and there are legends of treasure buried on the grounds. To enter the estate, visitors pass through a square Moorish Tower. The estate also boasts Italian, Arabic, and Norman building styles.
By the 19th century, the once grand manor had fallen into disrepair. Sir Fancis Nevile Reid, a wealthy botanist, purchased the property and restored its buildings and gardens. In the 1880’s, the famous German composer, Richard Wagner, visited Ravello and was moved to compose the opera, Parsifal.
Today, Villa Rufolo is home to the summertime Ravello Festival. Every year the festival hosts a series of outdoor music and cultural events that were inspired by Richard Wagner. You don’t have to attend a concert to see the beautiful grounds, though. Day visitors can tour the Villa Rufolo estate and its cloisters, towers, museum, terraced gardens, and the twin domes of the iconic Chiesa dell’ Annunziata with the purchase of a ticket.
People Watch in Ravello’s Vescovado Piazza
The Vescovado Piazza (main square) in Ravello is the perfect place to people watch. The square is a cobblestone expanse that is bordered by stores, restaurants, and the Duomo di Ravello. After 9 am the cafes open-up, and then serve until after dark. Linger here for a drink and a snack. Most everyone coming to or from Ravello passes through the square. There are restrooms at one corner of the piazza.
Wander the Narrow Lanes and Citrus Gardens of Ravello’s Neighborhoods
After you have taken in Ravello's attractions, put away your map and wander. Ravello is filled with one-lane roads lined with 5-star luxury hotels and quaint B&B’s (most with a citrus garden). Many of its restaurants offer outdoor seating – often with stunning sea or mountain vistas. There are buildings of many styles dating back to Roman times. Wandering the village’s back lanes is one of the most relaxing and interesting things to do in Ravello.
View the Oscar Niemeyer Auditorium
Address: Via Dell Repubblica
For music lovers, visiting the Oscar Niemeyer Auditorium is a treat. Designed by the Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer, the concave-shaped 400 seat auditorium is built on a steep slope and offers panoramic views of the rugged landscape behind a semi-circular stage. The auditorium hosts concerts, dance events, and art shows during the Ravello Festival, and throughout the year. Advance reservations are required to tour the auditorium.
Shop for Art and Ceramics
Take any street off Piazza Vescovado and you will find shops offering ceramics, textiles, sculpture, and paintings. In these stores many of the artists are on-hand to share how the item was created. Ravello is a great place to purchase gifts for home. The pace of the pedestrian streets is less hectic than in Amalfi or Positano, and the village’s small size means you are never have to carry your purchases too far.
Have Lunch with a View
Ravello is full of gardens and amazing views. Many of its restaurants have outdoor verandas that take advantage of the beautiful landscapes. As often as not, these establishments have gardens attached. Plan to take advantage of the panoramas (and fresh food) by having a long lunch or dinner as part of your stay. Two of our favorite views are from the Salvator Ravello 1958 Restaurant, and from Hotel Villa Maria - Giordano.
Discover Ravello’s Neighborhood Churches
Ravello has a several churches worth visiting in addition to the Duomo di Ravello. The Chiesa Dell’ Annunziata is the lovely twin tower church that is 100 steps down from the Villa Rufolo. The San Francesco Church in Ravello is a Baroque-style church built by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1222. Lastly, the Santa Maria Gradillo Church features carved columns and rounded arches in a 12th century nave. When not in service, Ravello churches are generally open during the daylight hours.
Hike the Ravello-Atrani-Amalfi Walk
The Ravello-Atrani-Amalfi walk runs from the town of Ravello to the village of Atrani (which is a ten-minute walk from Amalfi Town). The 2-mile (3.4 km) trail begins behind Villa Rufolo, and takes about 2 hours to complete. Hikers will descend a series of staircases (around 1500 steps), and short stretches of road. The walk winds past vineyards, terraced farms, and the village of Torello. It is recommended that users of the path wear sturdy walking shoes. It is also wise to have a GPS on hand as the trail is not well marked.
Arrivederci from Ravello, Laura and Randy
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