There are some lands in the world so agonizingly exquisite that it ‘s hard to put that beauty into words, one of them is Italy’s Amalfi Coast.
Amalfi is the heart of the magnificent Italian coastline
Southeast of Naples in the Campania Region, the Amalfi Coast is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its impressive driving force; a tapestry of cliffside villages; precipitously steep vineyards; and orange, lemon and olive groves perched at dizzying heights above the Mediterranean Sea. Amalfi Coast officially begins in Positano and continues almost to Salerno, the road snaking and winding through the towns of Amalfi, Vietri Sul Mare, Maiori, Cetara, and Ravello.
Aside from its attractiveness — in common with its neighbor villages — and the fact that it is much less jammed than the tourist oases of Amalfi and Positano, Ravello has an indisputable seal. The place virtually smells of glamor, as the wealthy and famous have been clustering here for years.
Composer Richard Wagner has a cobblestone street named for him, and a group of writers, most notably Virginia Woolf and E.M. Forster, cavorted here. Author Gore Vidal owned a house in Ravello (a stark white villa caressing a mountainside above the sea), and dancer Rudolf Nureyev owned an entire island just off the coast. In the 1930s, actress Greta Garbo had a rendezvous with conductor Leopold Stokowski in the secluded Villa Cimbrone, and years later, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, worried over her husband’s dalliance with Marilyn Monroe, carried up daughter Caroline and briefly fled to the seaside villa of her friend Gianni Agnelli, president of Fiat.
Ravello also is famous for two of the Amalfi Coast’s most famous spots — the Villa Rufolo and the Villa Cimbrone. Dating from the 12th century, the Villa Rufolo combines a variety of architectural styles, including a square Norman tower and an elaborate Moorish cloister. It’s most known features, however, are the pretty gardens. A terrace garden overlooking the sea is the main place of the Ravello Festival, a yearly event from June to September, combining opera, dance and orchestral music.