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Ravello is a little way east of Amalfi, in the eastern half of the spectacular Amalfi Coast which runs along the southern edge of the Sorrento peninsula). Because of its historical importance and natural beauty Ravello is now listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.
The town of Ravello is a very well established tourist destination (as is the entire Amalfi coast), high on a hillside and clinging to the cliffs above the sea. Although there are a few notable buildings such as the 11th century cathedral in the town itself it is above all for the villas and the spectacular views along the coast that you will fall in love with, and long remember, Ravello.
However before rushing off to the coastal views for which Ravello is famous we suggest you first take the time to explore the town centre.
Although the facade of the cathedral in Piazza Vescovado is rather plain the cathedral itself dates from the 13th century. There are also lots of interesting medieval buildings, towers and parts of ancient walls that provide an attractive backdrop to the town.
After exploring the town centre there are two very well known villas that can be visited in Ravello - the Villa Rufolo and the Villa Cimbrone. Villa Rufolo is entered through a tower and medieval gateway in the centre of Ravello almost opposite the cathedral.
Each of the villas offers extremely impressive and far-reaching views along the Amalfi Coast from lovely terraces.
Both of the villas also have formal gardens liberally sprinkled with statuary and ornaments and are a further highlight of your visit. The almost year round sunshine here and sheltered position ensures that there are always flowers in bloom in the gardens.
The view from the terrace at Villa Cimbrone was described by Gore Vidal as 'the most beautiful place that I had ever seen in all my travels'. I can confirm it is very special indeed!
I can hardly begin to explain how lovely it is to walk through the gardens of Villa Cimbrone to suddenly reach the views of the 'terrace of the Infinite' but suffice to say if you do nothing else during your visit to the Amalfi coast except spend half a day at these villas you will go home happy and wanting to return!
Ravello has very strong artistic and literary connections stretching back over 120 years. This started with Richard Wagner who was apparently inspired by Villa Rufolo when working on Parsifal.
D H lawrence later came here to write part of Lady Chattersly's Lover; the artist Escher was inspired to draw his 'endless staircase' pictures after a visit to the towns of the Amalfi coast); Virginia Woolf and many others were to visit in the following decades.
There are numerous stunning views and lovely coastal villages along the Amalfi coast around Ravello. See Amalfi Coast travel guide for details.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Campania guide.