There is a place of dreams; a place where the ‘good life’ is forever. The fanciful Amalfi Coast, the dramatic precipice of a highway clinging seemingly so daringly to the curvy cliffs along Italy’s Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the world of the illustrious; the sun seekers; those pursuing pleasure and those searching seclusion.
Positano, Capri, Naples, Sorrento, and the fabled Ravello – these iconic locations of beauty and bliss geographically juxtaposed with the historical and natural world of Pompeii and Vesuvius.
We can begin at the bellini vendor along the seaside of the lovely petite Minori. We can sit and sip, and just ‘be’. We’ve chosen the Maison Raphael for our base from which we will easily make our way along the UNESCO World Heritage coastal highway.
Strolling to our maison, we gaze up to the wonderful village of Ravello. I’ll point-out the chalk colored edifice perched seemingly precariously on - but then we see, embedded - into the sheer cliff-face itself. The famous La Rondinaia (the Swallow’s Nest), the fabled Ravello home of Gore Vidal and all visitors of glitterati of that age. Tomorrow we’ll see.
But first, our Maison Raphael.
Arriving at the top of the flowered stairs, Antonio greets us…bella, bella! Villa Raphael is a lovely small hotel atop a modest escarpment overlooking our smallish town-base of Minori and positioned along the curvy course of the Amalfi Highway and its dreamful and stunning cliff views.
The next morning, after an al fresco breakfast, we’ll be off on our way with cliff-sides on the right and the dazzling sea on the left. As we enter Amalfi, the town, we’ll take a sharp right for further trail climbing until we soon reach the storied Ravello.
We alight the coach at the first stop, just steps shy of the tunnel through the embankment and the town gates and emerge into the Piazza Duomo. As we promenade the piazza to our left we’ll pause at the San Domingo, the café and bistro frequented by Jackie O during her legendary visit of 1962. We may, if we wish, perch for a moment on the seating marked as that very one which comforted a faint Jackie in another time and season.
Refreshed we may continue our wander and discover Villa Rufolo the 13th century villa and gardens which so inspired Richard Wagner to tarry there for some days wherein he completed the second act of Parsifal. Music is an annual highlight of the life in Ravello with the renowned Ravello Festival. For that, Villa Rufolo provides a center-stage unlike any other in the world – the stage of the Belvedere of the villa with seating among the gardens and the fountains with the performers positioned dramatically cantilevered over the precipice affording the patrons the most marvelous of views.
Onward we’ll saunter to the Villa Cimbrone and its Gardens. For a modest sum we’ll be welcomed to stroll through the loveliest of the loveliest until we reach the Terrace of Infinity, surely the most striking view of all the world.
By then perhaps a bit withered, we will rest in the garden amid the blossoms and sip a bit of prosecco, for this is where we belong.
So, shall we? I’ll await in the season, each day, sipping the bellini and waiting for you to stroll the strand and meet me in Minori.