Archive for June, 2013

Things to Do In Ravello, Italy

Stone Pines in Ravello, Italy

Ravello has some stunning spots to check out the views. I really enjoy the look of these stone pines and enjoyed wandering and checking them out from various terraces and cafes.

Ravello’s Duomo, or cathedral, was built in 1087 on the Piazza del Vescovad. I’m not a religious person, but lovely organ music was coming from inside when I first passed it and I had to check it out. There is also a small museum inside and it’s worth exploring for €3.  The procession leading into the cathedral for mass on a Sunday was worth watching– it was quite a spectacle. It’s closed during the middle of the day so be sure to check the visiting hours here.

The Watchtower at Villa Rufolo

The Villa Rufolo is in the center of town on the Piazza del Vescovad, just around the corner from the duomo. The building dates back to the 1200s and has some gorgeous gardens and cloisters. It costs € 5 to visit and is open from 9 am to 8 pm during the summer.

Visit the Villa Cimbrone

The Villa Cimbrone is more out of the way than the Villa Rufolo but the walk is very pretty and it’s definitely must-see spot in Ravello. Check out the amazing views from the Terrace of Infinity. You can read my post about exploring the Villa Cimbrone here.

Lemoncello for sale in Ravello

Many shops around town have limoncello- the local liquer made with lemon zest- for sale and offer small samples to try. It’s a fun activity if you’re in the area.

Locals make the best guides!

I got lost during my morning hike in Ravello and wound up wandering through lemon tree groves and wound up meeting this goat. I can’t exactly tell you where he is (as I mentioned I was lost) but I really enjoyed the whole experience. Ravello is small and charming and worth exploring. You can’t get very lost… but if you do, the locals are friendly. This goat sure was.

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Exploring Ravello’s Romantic Villa Cimbrone: A Photo Essay

Statues in the gardens at the Villa Cimbrone (captured with Oggl)

The Villa Cimbrone in dates back to the 11th century and is one of the not-to-be missed sites in Ravello. The panoramic views of Italy’s Amalfi Coast from the Terrace of Infinity (also known as the Terrazzo dell’lnfiniti or the belvedere) alone justify the €7 cost of entry.

Hipstamatic Statues on the Terrace of Infinity

The Villa Cimbrone gardens are incredibly romantic and worth wandering around. In addition to the stone pines and hedges, there are cloisters, crypts, small temples, grottos and hedge mazes worth exploring.

One of the many busts along the Terrace of Infinity, just before sunset

Busts on the the belvedere, overlooking Italy’s Amalfi Coast

Walking through the gardens you come across some amazing bronze statues

The setting is highly atmospheric and somewhat dreamy. Like much of Ravello, It feels like a place you’d see in the movies.

Writer Gore Vidal called the views from the Terrace of Infinity  “the most beautiful view in the world”

There is now a hotel on the property as well and a restaurant, Il Flauto di Pan, which received it’s first Michelin Star in 2013.  I did not have time to check them out for myself but have made a note to do so on my next trip (as I’ve mentioned before, I’m seriously crushing on Ravello).

A colorful part of the villa’s structure

Hipstamatic images of the Villa Cimbrone gardens

The gardens at the Villa Cimbrone feel like they are straight out of fairy tale

Views of the Villa Cimbrone’s romantic gardens

Villa Cimbrone Gardens

Open: 9am – sunset

Entrance fee is 7 euros

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The Best Best Western I’ve Ever Seen: Hotel Marmorata on Italy’s Amalfi Coast

The pool on the cliffs at Hotel Marmorata

Some things are just different in Europe: the swimsuit styles, the concept of ice in a drink, and as I discovered during my recent trip to Italy’s Amalfi Coast– The Best Westerns. Best Western isn’t a name that conjures up images of luxury to most American travelers, including me.

The Breakfast room at the Hotel Marmorata

So when I accidentally came across the four star Hotel Marmorata, located in Ravello Mare, I was a bit surprised to discover it was part of the usually generic Best Western chain.

I only saw the breakfast area and public areas, but they were nice

I wound up at the hotel, which is located in a converted paper mill, by accident after getting lost during my morning hike.  I did not see (or stay) in any of the rooms. But the common areas were charming and clean and the man at the front desk was very helpful, and I was impressed by the property and it’s stunning cliff side pool that juts into the sea.

Guest chilling by the pool

I checked the room rates for a a random summer weeknight and found rooms available for € 203, making the Hotel Marmorata a budget luxury bargain in the area. The hotel offers free wifi, too.

The Hotel Marmorata was originally a paper mill

Best Western Hotel Marmorata

via Bizantina, 3 – 84010 Località Marmorata, Ravello
Tel: +39 089 877777 – Fax: +39 089 851189

Email: info@marmorata.it

The hotel is also known as:
Best Western Marmorata
Best Western Ravello
Ravello Best Western

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Amalfi Coast Lemons, a Photo Essay

 

Portrait of a Lemon Vendor (Salerno, Italy)

If you spend any time along Italy’s Amalfi Coast you realize that there is something very special about the lemons that grow in the regions along the Sorrentine Peninsula. The Amalfi Lemon, also known as the Sfusato Amalfitan,  grow large and are rumored to have medicinal benefits including curing dandruff and hiccups.

Amalfi lemon, or Sfusato Amalfitan, growing in the hills of Ravello

Lemon zest from lemons like these are used in in local specialties like limoncello, the local liquer. The drive along the coast is spotted with local fruit stands– the original, old school pop-up shop. I made a point of stopping at one in Salerno on my last day in the area.

The Almafi Lemon (Sfusato Amalfitan)  for sale at a fruit stand at the side of the road in Salerno

I loved the gorgeous imperfection of these lemons, which have so much more personality (and flavor) than those I buy at my local grocery store. I also loved photographing the roadside lemon vendor I met in Salerno.

Hipstamatic Limoncello

The Lemon Vendor Hipstamatic portrait

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Beach Barbeques & Sunset Sessions at the St. Regis Punta Mita

Decorations on the beach for beach barbeque at the St. Regis Punta Mita

Beaches and barbeques are two things that are synonymous with summer, and both are going strong in Punta Mita, Mexico.  Last week my husband and I flew to Mexico for a few days of rest & relaxation at our favorite resort, the St. Regis Punta Mita.

Long table festively  set for a barbeque

The resort has some new things to offer since my last visit. Now in the evenings guests can mingle during The Sunset Sessions, an outdoor beach lounge where they can relax on daybeds near a firepit. Bartenders stand at the ready making sure your beverage needs are handled while you enjoy the cool chillout music and watch the sunset with other guests. It was a very cool way to end the day.

A Pop Up Beach Barbeque- how cool is that?

Staying on-trend, the St. Regis also has a pop up beach restaurant & barbeque that magically materializes (usually on Friday nights).

Hipstamatic view of the Beach BBQ

Unfortunately my visit was mid-week, and the beach barbeque event that took place during my stay was a private event. Now I have a good reason to go back.

Chillax at the Sunset Sessions

Left: Daybeds on the Beach at the Sunset Sessions Right: A quiet moment on the beach as the sun starts to set

I’m always drawn to the hammock. It’s my favorite amenity.


Sunset sessions margaritas

Tequila Sunset GIF

The happiest hour

Sunset at the Beach Club Pool at the St. Regis Punta Mita

This beach barbeque was private, but the guests were friendly.

The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort

You can follow the hotel on twitter and  Instagram

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