Ravello is one of the prettiest towns on the Amalfi coast, combining luxurious villas and lush gardens with one of the country's best music festivals. Sitting up high up on the cliffs for breathtaking views of the Bay of Salerno, the town has an air of glamour and sophistication in its quiet cobbled streets and elegant piazza.

    Wander down the winding lanes by following the footsteps of Gore Vidal, Richard Wagner and DH Lawrence, who found inspiration for their iconic art in Ravello. Watch coral being carved using centuries-old traditions, enjoy a concert in the modern auditorium, or sample the area's traditional lemony dessert. Ravello will surprise you at almost every turn with how many top-quality attractions it has to offer.

    What are the best things to do in Ravello?


    Piazza del Duomo

    Enjoy coffee or gelato on Ravello's main public square

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    Piazza del Duomo, sometimes called Piazza Vescovado, is the communal hub of Ravello. Besides being one of the best things to do in Ravello, the square is where most of the town’s major roads lead off, making it a good point to orient yourself and get a feel for the town.

    Several large sites are located on the edge of the square, such as Ravello Cathedral and Villa Rufolo. The piazza is lined with cafes and restaurants that spill out onto the pavement, so take some time to grab a coffee or breakfast before starting your day of sightseeing in Ravello.

    Location: Piazza Duomo, 84010 Ravello, Italy


    Villa Rufolo

    A magnificent historical mansion with breathtaking gardens

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    The elegant Villa Rufolo was one of the largest and wealthiest on the Amalfi coast. It was built by the influential Rufolo family during the 13th century and has hosted Neapolitan royalty and Renaissance poets. The beauty of the villa and its surroundings was the source of inspiration for the composer, Richard Wagner. Check out the magnificent cloisters and Turkish baths to see some of the villa's impressive Moorish architecture.

    Villa Rufolo has a small museum displaying local archaeological finds and artwork. Most come to see the magnificent gardens, which are laid out in a series of terraces. Colourful flowers bloom most of the year, thanks to Amalfi's mild climate. Come between late June and October for Ravello Festival, when the gardens host classical and avant-garde concerts.

    Location: Piazza Duomo, 84010 Ravello, Italy

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 7.30 pm

    Phone: +39 089 857 621


    photo by Leandro Neumann Ciuffo (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Ravello Cathedral

    Admire an extraordinary religious monument

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    Ravello Cathedral has presided over the centre of Ravello since its construction in 1087. The floor of the building is slightly tilted towards the square to enhance the towering perspective of the façade. Its impressive 12th-century bronze doors have carvings depicting Christ surrounded by saints and warriors – only around 2 dozen of these doors still exist in Italy.

    Inside, the cathedral has a distinctive pulpit set on 6 spiral marble columns and decorated with ostentatious mosaics of peacocks and biblical scenes. The cathedral museum has a small collection of interesting artefacts, including the marble bust of a noblewoman named Sigligaida Rufolo, who lived at Villa Rufolo in the 13th century.

    Location: Piazza Duomo, 84010 Ravello, Italy

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 7 pm

    Phone: +39 089 852 092


    Oscar Niemeyer Auditorium

    This idiosyncratic building makes a dramatic statement

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    • Nightlife
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    Oscar Niemeyer Auditorium, designed by celebrated Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, is built into the slope of the hill below Ravello. Its white roof’s sharp arch is a striking contrast to Ravello's traditional buildings. Visitors can admire sweeping vistas of the Bay of Salerno from the huge curved windows in the concert hall.

    Classical concerts, dance performances and plays take place at this modern auditorium throughout the year. It’s the venue for Ravello's annual summer music festival, which celebrates the towns artistic and musical heritage. The auditorium also hosts occasional sculpture displays and art exhibitions. In the winter, you can watch films at Oscar Niemeyer Auditorium.

    Location: Via della Repubblica, 12, 84010 Ravello, Italy

    Open: Hours vary by event

    Phone: +39 089 858 360


    photo by Zioluc (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Via Roma

    Speciality crafts of the Amalfi coast on display

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    The Amalfi coast is famous for its ceramics, so if you're looking for a decorative souvenir, you'll find plenty to tempt you on Via Roma. This narrow-cobbled street is lined with boutique shops of all kinds, selling plates, vases and traditional pitchers. You can also buy Murano glass and handmade soft furnishings like tablecloths and cushions.

    Limoncello is the other speciality of the region, so grab a bottle and enjoy the taste of the Amalfi coast at home. If you're looking for unique fashion then there are plenty of quirky clothes shops, and you'll also find it worthwhile to stroll past the clothing boutiques on Via Santissima Trinità.

    Location: Via Roma, 84010 Ravello, Italy


    Church of San Giovanni del Toro

    View ancient ruins under the church through the ingenious glass floor

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    San Giovanni del Toro has been a place of worship for Ravello's citizens since the 11th century. Hidden on a quiet square just north of the town centre, remains of the previous elaborately decorated interior can be seen in the elaborate mosaics covering the pulpit, which include various mythological animals and a depiction of Christ rising from the grave.

    There is a Roman sarcophagus to the right of the entrance, possibly the oldest surviving artefact in town. The glass floor in front of the pulpit lets you see the underground structure below the church, which may be an ancient storage area or the remains of an earlier religious building.

    Location: Via S. Giovanni del Toro, 4, 84010 Ravello, Italy

    Open: Hours vary by season


    Villa Cimbrone

    See panoramic views of the coast from the famous terrace

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    Villa Cimbrone rests on the edge of sheer cliffs high above the sea, with the marble-lined 'Terrace of Infinity' directly overlooking the Bay of Salerno. The breathtaking views from the terrace have been captivating visitors for years – even Gore Vidal called it the most beautiful place he had ever seen.

    The villa itself is a hotel, though the gardens are still open to the public. Home to a wisteria-covered pergola, fragrant rose gardens and several lovely temples and statues, the gardens have a charmingly classical feel. Don't leave without seeing the crypt and cloisters, which are intricately decorated with imported bas-reliefs.

    Location: Via Santa Chiara, 26, 84010 Ravello, Italy

    Open: Daily from 9 am to sunset

    Phone: +39 089 857 459


    Museo del Corallo Camo

    See coral being carved

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    Half-museum and half-shop, Museo del Corallo Camo houses a unique collection of coral jewellery. There is a long tradition of coral carving on the Amalfi coast going back to medieval times. Gathering together the different pieces has been a labour of love for the family who owns the museum. This workshop has produced coral for the likes of Pope John Paul II and President Clinton.

    Exhibits include a beautiful coral crucifix and a 16th-century Madonna carving, as well as several ancient Roman amphorae. There is also a display of the traditional tools used to carve corals. It's possible to get a glimpse into the workshop, where coral jewellery is still carved by hand. This fascinating venue is in Piazza Duomo, near the centre of Ravello.

    Location: Piazza Duomo, 9, 84010 Ravello, Italy

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 10 am to 12 pm and from 3 pm to 4 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +39 089 857 461


    Try delizia al limone

    The only way to finish a meal in Ravello

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    There's plenty of delicious pasta and pizza on offer in town, but Ravello's true speciality is its Amalfi coast dessert. Delizia al limone is a traditional recipe of lemon sponge soaked in limoncello and covered with lemon custard, then topped with small pieces of lemon or strawberry.

    One of the best places to enjoy this indulgent treat is at Ristorante Sigilgaida in Hotel Rufolo, which offers gorgeous views over the bay while serving food grown in the hotel's own garden. Villa Maria also does a delicious take on this dish, by serving it in a graceful, old fashioned dining room with views over the magnificent gardens. Try Trattoria da Cumpa'Cosimo, a cosy local restaurant on Via Roma with a relaxed atmosphere.

    photo by Diego (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Via dei Rufolo

    Enjoy Ravello's low-key nightlife

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    Ravello's laidback nightlife centres around Via dei Rufolo, a cobbled street running through the middle of town and lined with bars and restaurants. Babel Wine Bar has a broad wine selection and serves tapas if you get peckish, while Bar il Panino has a good range of bottled beers.

    If neither of those are to your taste, wander north to Piazza del Duomo and have a cocktail at Caffè Ravello, or a glass of wine at Enotavola Wine Bar on Via della Marra. Relaxation is the name of the game here, so forget thumping beats and instead embrace watching the sunset with a tranquil glass of wine or limoncello.

    Location: Via dei Rufolo, 84010 Ravello, Italy


    photo by Deror_avi (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    Victoria Hughes | Contributing Writer

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