Against the Traffic: Ravello, Italy (or where to toss my ashes)

Ravello is a sleepy town and commune located above the Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy. It is in the province of Salerno, Campania.  And though I keep an open mind, this is where I’d prefer to have my ashes distributed when that sad day comes.  The views are magical, but I must warn you that the curving roads along the coast to Ravello are so treacherous that you might want to bring your urn with you in case of your premature demise. When renting a vehicle in Europe you are most likely to receive a standard transmission as opposed to an automatic. If you aren’t familiar with a stick shift, I suggest you select an alternative option. Unfortunately, hiring a driver could be extremely expensive. Automatic transmissions are typically rare to find or are far more pricey, so be forewarned and prepared.

When we finally reached Ravello, it was a pleasure to park the car at the hotel and not drive it again until our departure. Cabs and walking were much better choices. With the roads being so narrow and challenging, and with few places to safely stop and shoot, you’d be wasting much of your precious time. As an aside, if you like a taste of Limoncillo (a popular Italian lemon liquer) produced and readily found in Ravello,  you might find yet another reason to stay from behind the wheel!

The town has a storied historical background. It was founded in the 5th century as a shelter place against the barbarian invasions which marked the end of the Western Roman Empire. “The town has served as a destination for artists, musicians, and writers, including Richard Wagner, Edvard Grieg, M.C. Escher, Giovanni Boccaccio, Virginia Woolf, Greta Garbo, Gore Vidal, Andre Gide, Joan Miro, Truman Capote, …” and many others. This provides an insight to the creative juices that are percolated in these ancient surroundings.

I list just some of the easily found sites, all of which provide an amazing photographic opportunity. If you enjoy shooting landscapes of the surrounding mountainsides, seascapes of the Amalfi Coast below, the architecture of the ancient town structures, lush garden shots or images of the locals and tourists enjoying the area, they are all here.

Bring sturdy walking shoes and Happy Shooting!


  • “In 1996, Ravello was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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  • The Duomo (Cathedral) of Ravello: the central nave contains the “Pulpit of the Gospels”, on the right of the central nave, created in 1272 by Nicolò di Bartolomeo from Foggia.
  • Villa Rufolo (1270), built by Nicola Rufolo, one of the richest Patricians of Ravello, on a ledge and it has become a famous attraction for thousands of visitors. The villa was mentioned by Giovanni Boccaccio in his Decameron and it is the place where Richard Wagner in 1880 was inspired for the stage design of his opera Parsifal.
  • Villa Cimbrone, famous for its “Terrace of the Infinite”.
  • The church of San Giovanni del Toro (Saint John of the Bull) dating to before the year 1000. The church contains the Bove pulpit, dateable to 1200–1230, incorporated as mosaic fragments Raqqa bacini.
  • The small church of Santa Maria a Gradillo (11th century). It has a basilica plan, with three apses.
  • Sanctuary of Sts. Cosmas and Damian (14th century)
  • Two famous gardens: Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo.
  • Amalfi Coast: the amalfi coast, or Costiera Amalfitana in Italian, is a stretch of coastline on the southern side of the Sorrentine Peninsula of Italy, extending from Positano in the west to Vietri sul Mare in the east”