Ravello Gardens: Villa Rufolo

Despite that face this was our favorite meal in all our travels. Those poor people in the way back are hoping for a table.

Here is a great tragedy. The best meal of the trip and I have no idea what the place was called. All the food in Italy except for the world’s best pizza was well made, fresh, and delicious but it was all almost exactly the same. Every menu had the same fish dishes, the same pasta dishes. I must of eaten pasta alla’Amatriciano four times. Then there were pizza. I love pizza. I love bacon. If I had to pick a meal it would be like asking me to tell you if my Little Grandma’s risotto was better than my Big Grandma’s meatballs. I couldn’t say. It was all the best. Also, it’s not like we ate out every meal. We were hiking and eating cheese, salami, and crackers at lunch many days and then home cooked meals for most dinners. Then finally, as we were nearing the end of our Amalfi area stay, we were in a town at lunch by ourselves. We could fit in anywhere. Needing to seat eight at a meal drives you to a certain type of restaurant, too.

After our tour of the gardens at Villa Cimbrone we were hungry. The route back to the main plaza follows a narrow two person wide walled pathway for about a kilometer. There are probably side routes but I was learning to stick to the way I knew. Along the way we passed a couple of cafes with the usual pizza, pannini, and pasta offerings. Nothing looked interesting until we found an art gallery/cafe. They were offering simple open faced sandwiches and salads. There were four tables, one waitress and a cook. Burt was suspicious of the atmosphere. I insisted. It was splendid. We split two open faced sandwich plates, one meatball and the other a goat cheese with caramelized onion. Thick toasted slices of bread supported mountains of meatballs and cheese. There were some fresh salad greens in between. It was less than $20. We were fortified for a couple more hours of touring.

Our last sightseeing in Ravello was the Villa Rufolo. We were burned out by this point. We’d been looking at the Bay of Salerno for a week. Yes, it’s gorgeous. Yes, those are nice ruins. Whatev….The Villa Ravello would have been more interesting on day one. The tower offers fantastic views of the coast. You can tell there’s some burnout because your blogger hardly caught a photo. We made a half hearted attempt to enjoy the gardens but peak flowering was over and we’d just come from the more interesting Villa Cimbrone. Then we spotted the stage. Now we have a mission.

Ravello is the site of a world famous music festival called Ravello Festival. People from all walks of life and all styles of music have played at this festival. Originally it was started ate Villa Rufolo with Wagner’s operas. Now it has events all over town and the coast. At Villa Rufalo there is a stage that hangs out over the cliffs with the mountains and sea as the backdrop. The Gypsy Carpenters want to play that stage. If we can’t do that we want to build that stage in Portal. I’m thinking we can do it at that house nobody likes on the cliff above town. Put it to some civic use. The stage left us with a burning desire to practice and get good enough that last all of 45 minutes. There’s no hope really. We watched a movie of the history of the festival (our favorite part of the Villa Rufolo tour) and realized we didn’t have a chance of joining the company of Sting, Pavarotti, and Malcovich. But Portal….

The movie on the music festival’s history was highly entertaining. Footage starts in the 1930s. Nobody is smiling. The women are heavy and tightly wrapped.  It looks like it was very unfashionable to enjoy life. The music is all Wagner Opera. Then the 1940s are conveniently not mentioned and footage resumes in the early 1950s. People look a lot happier. Princess Grace, Alfred Hitchcock, Gore Vidal, Frank Sinatra all make appearances in the audience. Clothing is less cumbersome. People have teeth. Other styles of music start to be performed on the floating stage. It all looks very grand. I’m pretty sure I’m not even going to be able to be in the audience here. Oh well. I saw the movie.

Art in our favorite cafe
Entry to Villa Rufolo.
Entry tower to Villa Rufolo.
Tower at Villa Rufolo.
Tower at Villa Rufolo.
A light show uses technology to bring the painting back to life. Villa Rufolo.
A light show uses technology to bring the interior paintings back to life. Villa Rufolo.
Search Ravello and this is the scene they show. Villa Rufolo.
Search Ravello and this is the scene they show. Villa Rufolo.