Ravello, a City of Music with the Famous View Over the Amalfi Coast

Ravello is just a few kilometres east of the graceful town, Amalfi. Founded in the 5th century, it was a shelter against Barbarian invasions when the Roman empire fell. Then, Ravello became an important port of the Maritime Republic of Amalfi in the 9th century. The inhabitants were involved in maritime trade with the Orient, and that gave it wealth and status. Those new merchants of that age had built castles, villas, churches, and civic buildings to present their wealth.

The magnificent garden in Villa Rufolo;Things to do in Ravello
The magnificent garden in Villa Rufolo

Today, located in the hills above the Amalfi coast, Ravello is home to many famous buildings, such as the Villa Cimbrone, Villa Rufolo, and the architectural design Oscar Niemeyer Auditorium. But, what makes it more famous to the outside is the Ravello Festival and its concert society, which gives Ravello the name “The City of the Music”.

Once, I saw a photo of the picturesque landscape from Ravello on the Amalfi coast, the enchanting mountaintop setting and its wonderful coastal scenery have since captivated my memory. Years later, during our family’s 7-day trip to the Amalfi Coast, I have finally made my way to Ravello. We had planned one day for Ravello and did a couple of things:

  • Enjoy the coastline views in front of Oscar Niemeyer Auditorium
  • Spend hours wandering around Villa Rufolo
  • Have a pleasant lunch at the Garden Restaurant
  • Join the crowds in Piazza Duomo
  • Walk to the Ravello’s hidden neighbourhood

Enjoy the coastline views in front of Oscar Niemeyer Auditorium

We followed the parking sign and parked our car inside a building. The parking place was spacious and wasn’t even full on that day.

Stepped out of the parking lot, the festive coastline view was just in front of us. To the left side, the uncrowded seaside town, Minori, has terraced gardens up the rugged hillsides. It has a pleasant seafront with a wide cove. The sea was so clam. And, the soft clouds were slowly moving in the blue sky.

Followed the pedestrian walkway sign we saw this enormous building, the Oscar Niemeyer Auditorium, designed and named after the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. The building’s architecture presents a seamless curved line that looks like a sleeping beauty.

This Auditorium has three sections. The first one is the auditorium itself, which holds about 400 seats. The second one hosts the parking area in which we just parked. In the third section, you can find a snack area, a wide staircase, a book shop, and a ticket office. Today, the “Oscar Niemeyer” Auditorium is the setting of the “Ravello Festival”.

Minori; Things to do in Ravello; Ravello walking tour;Italy
The uncrowded seaside town, Minori, has terraced gardens up the rugged hillsides

Enjoy the view from Villa Rufolo

Followed Via della Repubblica and passed a tunnel where Most buses and taxis stopped. The elegant and magnificent Villa Rufolo is behind the tunnel, on the left side. To visit Villa Rufolo, you can either join a tour or buy the tickets on-site.

The main sites of the Villa Rufolo are the Entrance Tower, the Main Tower, the terrace, the cloister in Moorish style and surrounded by some columns, and the most beautiful view on the Amalfi Coast. Strolling among the enchanting gardens, I couldn’t stop taking pictures, including the one that ever captivated my memory.

We had the wonderful overlooks over the Bay of Salerno. Many silent corners with benches provide a relaxing atmosphere. Its upper terrace gardens contain such as cypress trees, yuccas, and palms. I can imagine how the place had inspired German composer Richard Wagner to write the second act of his final opera, Parsifal. Every summer since 1952, the Ravello Music Festival, an open-air concert to honor Wagner, takes place in Villa Rudolph.

Villa Rufolo; Ravello walking tour; Things to do in Ravello;
The enchanting mountaintop setting and views on the beautiful Amalfi coastline
The paired columns of the Moresco Cloister; things to do in rAvello; Ravello walkingtour;Italy;
The paired columns of the Moresco Cloister in Villa Rufolo
Terrace in Villa Rufolo
Terrace in Villa Rufolo

Lunch at the Garden Restaurant

We had spent several hours in Villa Rufolo until our stomachs started to grumble. The main square of Ravello is just outside of Villa Rufolo. However, nearly every restaurant was full.

So, we went towards the tunnel again and decided to eat in the Garden Restaurant which belongs to a hotel. The restaurant offers simple food but a wide variety of drinks. It is rather a bar than a restaurant.

The food is not cheap but the view over the coast is awesome. I could see that Ravello is like a natural balcony overhanging on the Amalfi coast. With a glass of wine and a plate of salad, I was relaxed in front of the silk blue sea.

The restaurant is just at the hillside of the coastline. Most guests were local people. The Garden restaurant wasn’t full. Therefore, it was a silent place to relax after hours of walking.

Garden REstaurant; Ravello walking tour; Things to do in Ravello
The Garden Restaurant at the hillside of the Amalfi coastline

Join the crowds in Piazza Duomo

Like in many European towns, the spiritual and social center of Ravello is the Duomo (Cathedral of Ravello). Founded in 1086, the Rufolo family had supported the church’s construction. The Arabic-inspired church has a combination of Baroque and Romanesque styles. Besides, its bell tower shows Moorish and Byzantine influence.

From outside, it doesn’t look so outstanding. But when you take a close look, it has several special features. The central nave contains the “Pulpit of the Gospels”, which is supported by six spiraled columns sitting atop marble lions. The cathedral’s interior is made of sculpted white marble.

Another attraction is the cathedral’s two-room museum. It is accessible through a side entrance on the Via Richard Wagner. The museum’s collection features marble bust and slabs decorated with mosaics.

After our lunch break, we had a walk around the square. Restaurants and shops selling local products dominate the square. One snack bar is called “Klingsor”, a memory of Richard Wagner as well. But the centre wasn’t so appealing. So, we left the square after a short stay and went to the Ravello’s neighbourhood.

The snack bar Klingsor ; Ravello walking tour; Things to do in Ravello; Italy
The snack bar Klingsor
Cathedral of Ravello;amalfi coast;Italy
The Cathedral of Ravello
Amalfi day trip
Centre of Ravello

Walk to the Ravello neighbourhood

Just followed Via S. Francesco behind the Hotel Rufolo, we entered the Ravello’s backstreet area. Passed an arched walkway, a little church (Chiesa S.Francesco dei Frati Minori Conventuali) on the right came to our sight.

The street is narrow and only allows pedestrians to pass. Several restaurants, bars, and hotels are alongside the street. Compared to the busy square, this area was too silent. Cats were sleeping on the street, on the wall, and at the corners. They were more than the countable tourists.

Soon we came across Via Santa Chiara. This is a panoramic small pedestrian path which leads to the other famous site, Villa Cimbrone. There was a farm which grew organic products.  Surprisingly, I saw Loofah, a type of vegetable I ate in my childhood. At that time, my grandfather planted Loofah in our rooftop balcony. The Loofah could grow long vines and thus formed a natural sun shed of our balcony. When the vegetable is fully ripened, it is fibrous like a scrubbing sponge. Therefore, we used it to clean the bathroom.

Then, we saw a sign “1500 steps to Atrani”. Since we didn’t plan to walk there, we turned back and followed Via Santissma Trinita. Several hotels are also located on that street. Some streets are divided into two parts, one is a flat slope and the other is with stairs. The flat part is the street for a type of narrow carts. Local hotels use those carts to deliver such as goods and luggage.

The street meets Via S. Francesco and Via Dei Rufolo. From there we came back to the square.

Ravello walking tour; Amailfi coast; Italy; europe
An arched walkway in Ravello, Italy
Chiesa S.Francesco dei Frati Minori Conventuali; Ravello, Italy
Chiesa S.Francesco dei Frati Minori Conventuali
Italy; Europe; Amalfi coast;Via S. Francesco;
Several restaurants, bars, and hotels are alongside the street Via S. Francesco
A Bio-Product Farm in Ravello
A farm in Ravello which grows organic products
the luggage cart driveway
The flat part is the street for a type of narrow carts. Local hotels use those carts to deliver such as goods and luggage.

Other things to do

Villa Cimbrone

Villa Cimbrone is an old historical building with beautiful flourished flowers enriched with countless ornamental features, temples, pavilions, magnificent gardens, stone statues. The most famous site is the famous Terrazzo dell’infinito. Today, it is a 5-star hotel.

Hiking from Amalfi to Atrani

There is a wonderful coastal hiking route between Amalfi and Atrani. It isn’t known by many tourists. Only the locals use it to commune between Amalfi and Atrani.

Related post: Atrani, an Undiscovered Village with a Secret Scenic Hiking Route from Amalfi

Join a local concert

The Ravello Concert Society organizes concerts and performances in the Amalfi Coast throughout the tourist season. Check the website to find detail information about the concerts and ticket selling.

Hiking the Path of the Gods

The Path of the Gods, or Sentiero degli Dei in Italian, is a clifftop hiking trail above the Amalfi Coast. its main section is between Bomerano (in Agerola) and Nocelle. The main interests are the beautiful sea views and coastal towns along the way.

Where to stay

Next to Amalsi or Salerno, Ravello is a good place be a base to explore the Amalfi coast. All hotels are withi walking distance from the centre.

Hotel Villa Cimbrone

This is luxury hotel and is a perfect venue for special events or anniversary. Hotel Villa Cimbrone offers elegant rooms with free internet access. This 5-star hotel offers an outdoor pool with hydromassage corner, panoramic gardens and a private helicopter pad. Guests can relax on the terrace in deck chairs whilst overlooking the Amalfi landscape. Wi-Fi is free in public areas.

Hotel Villa Cimbrone
Hotel Villa Cimbrone

Hotel Graal

Hotel Graal enjoys an enchanting position just 100 m from Ravello town centre and offering spectacular views over the Salerno Gulf. Discovering Ravello and the beautiful coastal towns nearby is easy from Hotel Graal. The hotel has good car access and on-site parking, and buses to the station leave from nearby.

Hotel Graal
Hotel Graal

How to get there

Join a tour

Many oversea tourists tend to join a local tour to visit the Amalfi coast. Some budget tours offer good values:

Tours are available from other location as well. Please check here to find the one that suits your need.

By bus

Take SITA buses from Salerno, Positano, or Sorrento and arrive at Amalfi. Then you can change to another SITA bus to reach Ravello. Or, walk up the hill to Ravello.

While SITA buses are an excellent alternative to cars when traveling the Amalfi coast, they can become very crowded during the high traffic summer seasons. Make sure to check the bus schedule ahead.

By car

The main highways in this region that go along the Amalfi Coast are SS145, SS163, and SS373. From Atrani, you can take Via Castiglione to arrive at Ravello.

9 Comments

  1. Thanks for the tip on joining a tour and how to get there. It’s very helpful. The view of the Hotel Villa Cimbrone is nice for garden weddings. I’d love to dine as well at the garden restaurant or bar as you say, haha!

  2. I have heard of Amalfi and admire pictures from there but had no idea about Ravello, city of music. The views of breathtaking and there are so many beautiful things to do and capture. Hikes look so much fun. The view of Minori is lovely. The hotels look so inviting and it would be a dream to see a musical concert there. Thanks for sharing.

  3. All I can say is, everything about Ravello is beautiful! Reading your blog is like walking with you exploring the town. Your pictures are beautiful, too! Blue sky, blue sea, gorgeous architecture, I definitely want to visit Ravello, the City of Music.

  4. I love Italy. Italian architecture, small narrow streets, wine, and food. But I haven’t been to Ravello yet. It’s on my list. And after your article and amazing photos, I would like to be there immediately. I would love to visit Oscar Niemeyer Auditorium and listen to one of the concerts in this city of music.

  5. We loved Ravello, how lovely to read your post and above all enjoy your photographs to take me back. I hadn’t read up on its history when we went, so it’s interesting to learn that it was so important during the 9th Century. And I’m with you on the views, they truly are breathtaking. Walking around the town is such a pleasure, though it can get so crowded.

  6. I was so excited to see this blog post. It has been a long time since we visited Ravello. So good to see it through your eyes. The views out over the Amalfi Coast truly are stunning. Each spot is just a little bit different. We loved walking around the small town. And resisted the urge to go home with a bag of pottery souvenirs. We did not hike down to Atrani. But did visit on a road trip. We also missed the hike up the Path of the Gods. A good reason to head back. Thanks for taking me back.

  7. I have only done a few hours on the Amalfi coast and just drove the main coastal road around the peninsula. Dam, I have missed out on a lot of beauty but lucky I am going back here very soon so I will sure stop off a few places for a couple of days. Defo will stop off at Ravello, it’s so pretty! I love the views.

  8. It looks like a gorgeous place to go – and those views are spectacular! I love going places where there are so many kitties, but I also wish they’d do something to help control the population (spay/neuter). I definitely would want to hike in that area someday!

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