Relax and Rejoice! Ravello Revealed

Ravello is exquisite, exemplary and exudes class. It really is quite beautiful, has breathtaking views from all around and for a hilltop settlement, it cannot be bettered.

It is not the easiest place to get to – up steep, windy and hair-pinned roads being the only option, but it is without doubt more than worth the effort.

The town’s heart is its Piazza Duomo, as are most Italian towns and cities yet why not, it is always a good place to start any recce.

Indeed, every Duomo in every Italian town is worth a visit, this one plainer than most but it’s whitewashed walls, both inside and out, give a cool and calm feel. That said, a very ornate pulpit located half way along the central aisle perched on sculptured stone lions is really quite something, and not plain at all.

The Duomo’s position overlooking the wide pedestrian only piazza still symbolises its role and  importance in Italian life. Indeed for such a relatively small settlement, there seem to be a disproportionately high number of churches, which perhaps partly explains the plethora of weddings that take place here, not forgetting the stunning views of course.

Not only is there a specialist wedding planning shop located just off the main square but during a glorious Saturday afternoon in mid June, there were quite literally weddings going on everywhere, competing for the best photographic and romantic spots. However, there are so many that every view is a picture, no one need worry.

Sharp Italian suits, trousers at half mast and trendy trainers are seemingly de rigeur with the signori wedding guests. You certainly would not get away with that back in Britain but hey, this is Italy and the Italians have always been at the height and cutting edge of fashion and style, so who can argue?

For the signore, long bright silk dresses and stylish shades yet not a hat or fascinator in sight. Times have moved on in this part of the world. Maybe traditional British society has something to learn?

From the Duomo Piazza, there are a multitude of twisty narrow streets leading both up and down to an all manner of veritable vistas – tiered terraces, fascinating flora, craggy coastlines, piccoli piazzas, secret squares and historical hideaways, with the bright blue sea and sky as a sort of backdrop to everything. Magical and majestic.

It is a location deserving of some of the ‘Leading Hotels of the World’ and they do not miss out, hidden away amidst the narrow streets, barely accessible by car.

For all this undoubted style and luxury, Ravello is not outwardly showy. There are no big brand names, just a few local lemon, linen, ceramic and art boutiques amongst the relatively small smattering of shops.

The town seems to be all about the experience, from weddings, to delightful hotels and restaurants, to caffe culture and the renown Ravello music festival.

Relax and rejoice in Ravello, it is rarefied, rich and remarkable.

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