the Amalfi coastline waits the picturesque village of Ravello. It
is a quiet place, not as flashy or cosmopolitan as Amalfi. It is laid
back, serene, hushed — the ideal destination for poets, lovers,
mystics, or a world-weary traveller who needs a few blessed days of
peace before heading back to the workaday world.
in fact, has opened its arms to many artists. The great composer
Wagner once stayed at the Villa Rufolo, a sprawling estate near
the edges of Ravello, owned by the Scotsman Neville Reid. Wagner
took frequent walks along the village pathways, and from what he
saw, he found inspiration for the Garden of Klingsor. The Garden
is the setting for Act II of Parsifal.
Ravello is also a favourite destination of writers.
Ibsen would come here, spending hours on his drafts of his famous
plays, or abandoning writing altogether just to drink in the beauty
of the surrounding landscape. Gide, E. M. Forster, Boccaccio and
D. H. Lawrence also booked frequent vacations, allowing the calm
sea breeze and the soothing sound of the ocean to tame, and tempt,
their muses. The British painter William Turner also immortalised
some of its scenes in his art works.
Ravello was also the stage of romance between
Greta Garbo and conductor Leopold Stokowlski. It is easy to understand
why they would choose this place of all the romantic destinations
in Italy. The Amalfi coast has a long and beautiful history of being
a lover’s paradise. The area itself was named after a nymph,
said to have captured the heart of a god. And with the views of
the mountain and ocean cradling you from all sides, you feel that
Time stands still, frozen in this moment of perfection. Today, many
couples flock to Ravello for the same reasons. Some hold wedding
ceremonies, others celebrate their honeymoons. Many people have
declared it to be one of the most romantic destinations in Italy,
and considering Italy’s reputation, that is high praise indeed.
Ravello also has many cultural and historical
treasures hidden within its borders. Its cathedral is decorated
with marble and gold mosaics, while six statues of lions guard its
doors. One piece of art depicts the story of Jonah, a choice that
celebrates the region’s sea-side location. Another church,
the San Guivanni del Torro, is smaller and less ornate, but has
a simple atmosphere conducive to thinking, praying, and writing.
The church also displays some fine examples of Saracenic ware from
the 12th century, part of the legacy of the Moors, whose culture
travelled to the Amalfi coast through the trade routes to the East.
Ravello may not have the bustling nightlife or
the elegant hotels found in other places along the Amalfi coast,
but it is the perfect destination for tourists who would rather
immerse themselves in a quiet, serene environment where they can
savour the beauty of the landscape (and perhaps even write a poem
about it). Prices are also cheaper in Ravello, making it a more
budget-friendly option for those who may be intimidated by the high
tourist rates of hotels and restaurants in Amalfi proper.