The Italian Diaries – Ravello

It’s easy to miss Ravello. It’s a town that doesn’t appear on many maps. When we first arrived in Italy, we had no idea it even existed.  And yet, as we drove around the coast, we kept seeing the sign with an arrow pointing up.  Back at our hotel, we would constantly overhear other guests talking about it, in particular, the spectacular views. Finally, we decided we had to see it.

Ravello is a small town that sits above the Amalfi Coast and truly offers some of the best views of the mountainsides that line the coast.

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Similar to Amalfi, there is a piazza right in the center of town and then the streets and shops branch out from there. Right in the middle of the Piazza Vescovado is a cathedral called Duomo di Ravello.

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Known for it’s bronze door and bell tower, Duomo di Ravello is the centerpiece of town.

As you start branching out from Piazza Vescovado, you’ll encounter quaint details, like stone tunnels and curious doors.

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The one thing you’ll see everywhere you look in Ravello? Ceramics. All hand-made and hand-painted. We actually bought a mail holder to bring back with us.

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We wanted to buy more but were concerned with transporting fragile items back to the states.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see as much of Ravello as we would’ve liked due to our late afternoon arrival. But that also meant we got some great pics of the area at dusk.

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Keep in mind though, the drive up the mountains of the coast is NO JOKE! You can only go about 20mph so 10 miles can feel like an eternity to drive! Make sure you allow some extra time when you visit.

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As is often the case, the best spots are the ones you find by going off-the-beaten path. And Ravello certainly did not disappoint.

Next stop…Mt. Vesuvius!

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The Italian Diaries – Amalfi

*I’ve asked my husband, Pete, to write another guest post to give his perspective of our trip to Amalfi*

I can’t even tell you how many times Maria has mentioned that the town of Amalfi is her favorite place on Earth. And as we rode along the winding coastline and looked out over the water with Positano in the distance, I started to understand why.

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Look, I’m no world traveler, but I have to imagine the drive from Positano to Amalfi is one of the most breathtaking (and sometimes frightening) trips you can ever take.

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When we finally arrived in town, we quickly learned that it’s not easy to find a suitable parking spot for a minivan in a seaside town full of Fiats and Vespas. But we (eventually) made it happen.

Shops, restaurants, and gelaterias lined the streets, and limoncello was everywhere (that’s not a complaint). We spent some time browsing around and sat down to eat at a little cafe in Piazza del Duomo, the main town square.

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Then finally, after years of preparing for the moment, I had a chance to practice my Italian in my first true one-on-one chat with a local shopowner.

Me: [holding up a hat] Quanto costa? (How much does it cost?)
Shopowner: Dodici (twelve)

…90 seconds later…

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Of course, if you’ve ever been to Amalfi, you know the most memorable part of the Piazza del Duomo is the Cathedral of Saint Andrew.

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What I found most amazing is that a towering cathedral, originally built in the 9th century, sits right in the middle of a fairly small town (around 5500 people) and somehow doesn’t seem out of place. It was truly a masterpiece.

We ended the visit with a round of gelato at Pasticceria Savoia and headed back over to the car for the drive back.

Next stop…Pompeii.