Key information: Around Ravello
- Ravello: utterly charming ancient town on a crag high above Italys glorious Amalfi coast, packed with churches, former monasteries and fine old houses, many now dilapidated but some converted into hugely atmospheric hotels.
- Wander through the old town, then follow old stone tracks down the hill and around the contours, through terraced olive groves under the cliffs that protected the old town.
- It is very hot in high summer, and very crowded at popular times. Plan your visit carefully.
- Walkopedia rating86
- Natural interest13
- Human interest16
- Negative points3
- Total rating86
- Note: Neg: tourists, lots of them
- Length: Variable
- Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Delightful, quirky old Ravello on its hilltop, high above the wonderful Amalfi coast, with its ancient buildings and alleyways which often lead to a closed door with a runaway garden escaping over the adjacent wall, boasts a charming Romanesque cathedral and numerous churches, former monasteries, palaces and houses. It has long and impressive artistic links ? Wagner,Escher, Boccaccio,Virginia Woolf,Gore Vidal,André Gide, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams and Graham Greene all had associations with the town ? and hosts a celebrated music festival in the Summer months.
Though the suggested route below will take you out to some fine viewpoints back to the city itself, there is no fixed route for exploring the town: exploration and discovery are essential to its magic.
Begin at the Belvedere of the Villa Cimbrone Hotel, on a rocky ledge on the edge of the old town with its astounding views along the Amalfi coast. Wander back along old lanes and streets to the middle of town, then wind through the dilapidated outskirts, on old flagged paths, down the steep northwestern slopes. Contour around the southern hillside, through terraced olive groves, passing subsiding cottages, all under the cliffs that protected the old town. Rejoin bigger thoroughfares (steep, but wider paths) on the southeastern side, and clamber back to the old town. Find a bar with a grand view for the cooling drink and leisurely contemplation that you will richly deserve.
For a longer walk (2.5hr), which gives fabulous views of Ravello and the chasms that surround it, see Route(s) below.
You can also walk from Ravello to Minori, and then along the coast to Atrani via the green Valley of the Mills some 10km. And from Ravello down to the Ponte della Ziro tower and then on to Amalfi, again around 10km. And then up to the high Valle delle Ferrire nature reserve (and then on to the Amalfi if you want).
See also our Amalfi Coast page for further information.
Other accounts: share your experiences
Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.
Books on this walk
Sorrento, Amalfi Coast and Capri– Julian Tippett/Sunflower Landscapes: excellent walking guide with a useful map and suggestions for car tours thrown in. Also includes bus timetables.
Walking on the Amalfi Coast – Gillian Price/Cicerone: always-reliable guide lists 30 routes
Naples, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast– Christian Bonnetto/Lonely Planet – has a section on this walk
The Rough Guide to Naples and the Amalfi Coast – Martin Dunford/Rough Guides – has dedicated walks sections
Naples and Pompeii: Vesuvius, Herculaneum and the Amalfi Coast - Ezio Rendo/Bonechi Edizioni: Italian guidebook translated
Italy Baedeker Guide– MairDumont/Baedeker
My Amalfi Coast– Amanda Tabberer/Michael Joseph – former journalist and fashion designer’s memoir of the eighteen years she lived in Positano
Poems of Places, Volume 1, Italy – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow/BiblioBazaar – anthology collected by the poet, who had an intense enthusiasm for the country, includes his own poem, Amalfi.
Stanfords: www.stanfords.co.uk.An excellent (and user-friendly) online specialist source of worldwide maps (it is also good for guidebooks).
Best times to walk/weather
Best times to walk
Very hot in high Summer.
The Amalfi-Ravello-Scala bus leaves roughly every half hour in daytime; first bus from Amalfi 06.30; last bus from Ravello 23.25.
See our Amalfi Coast page for long-distance connections.
Ravello – Santa Caterina – Minuta – Scala – Ravello (2h 30m, easy, and partly on road, but furnishes lovely views of Ravello and the chasms surrounding it): From the central piazza, take the stepped road (Via Richard Wagner) to the left of the cathedral, then turn left at the t-junction onto Via san Giovanni del Toro. 800m later, fork (not turn) left onto Via san Trifone. After nearly a kilometre, this hits steps and becomes a track. 1/2km later, turn left after the lime kiln down a small path and go left at the t-junction. Cross a small dam, the chapel of San Paolo and cross the road by the church of Santa Caterina to enter a minor road just opposite.A set of steps leads up to the right 100m further on. Turn left at the T and go down steps to join the hillside path. When this ends, by a house, climb up to join the road and take the next road to the left. 1km later you reach the Scala hairpin bend at Minuta. Follow the road for another 1km to Scala and take the steps down 200m after the church. At the bottom you will reach the Ravello road; turn left and follow it back to town.
Possible problems, health, other warnings
- Heat and strong sun. Carry enough water and protect yourself.
- Harmful animalsincluding snakes, stinging/biting insects and plants. Take all appropriate precautions.
See also the websites in our useful links page for more detailed, and up-to-date, information.
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk. Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Make sure you have appropriate insurance.
Guided or independent?
You can do this walk independently.
A lot of companies offer guided walking tours of the region. They include:
- Mac’s Adventures
- Wilderness Travel
- Sherpa Expeditions
- Alternative Travel Group
- Custom Walks
This is a hugely popular holiday destination and suppurates with (generally not the cheapest) accommodation. Steer clear of Positano, though, which is a giant cash till. Search “Amalfi/ Amalfi Coast accommodation” or try:
Other information and tips
This is a beautiful piece of country, but, being almost entirely dependent on tourism, is close to Venetian in its pricing. Be prepared to take some deep breaths.
Suitable footwear, with good ankle support and a good tread is a must. Steps and stone paving can become slippery with the first hint of rain.
Though a car can be a nice liberty, parking is hard to find and shockingly expensive. Local buses, however, are frequent and go to pretty much everywhere.
Useful websites and information
There are many websites with relevant information. Here are some that we think are useful or have been recommended to us.
- Local hotel’s guide to the walk
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amalfi_Coast As usual, a good starting place.
- Fodor’s online guide
- Lonely Planet Amalfi coast guide
- Try www.flickr.com for pictures of this walk.
Other things to do in the area
Ravello hosts a hugely popular music festival in the Summer.
Ancient things: If you’re anywhere within a hundred miles, you have to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum; these volcanically-mummified cities will remain with you forever. If you have to choose one, choose Herculaneum, which is better preserved, less crowded and so atmospheric it makes you want to weep. The well-preserved Greek temples at Paestum are also well worth the trip. Tiberius’s Villa Jovis (scene of much orgiastic defenestration) on Capri is more impressive for its views than its preservation.
Less ancient, but still pretty ancient, things: Nearly every town from Sorrento south deserves at least a moment’s pause. Particularly recommended: Ravello, Amalfi, Salerno. Positano is a bit of a Disney version of an Italian resort, but it’s okay if you like shopping and £20 bowls of spaghetti.
An island: There are lots of boat trips to Capri, from where the ringing of cash tills will follow you all the way to Naples. Shorter, but satisfying, boat trips go from Amalfi to the Emerald Grotto and Positano.
A nice beach with relatively cheap eats: the Marina del Cantone, isolated at the bottom ofthe Sorrento peninsula, is a lovely little concatenation of fishing boats and fish restaurants on a lovely pebbly beach.
Do not leave the area without having at least one of the local versions of the sublime sfogliatelle pastries.
share your experiences
Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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