Dave and Carla found an amazing hotel for the four of us to stay one night in Ravello. It was off-season, so we were the only people staying in the whole hotel that night. It also seemed like we were the only non-locals in Ravello! Ravello sits above the coast boasting fantastic views of the small town Minori and the coast itself. Our balconies looked out to this beautiful scenery. We enjoyed exploring the town, and we later found a great hike near Ravello… which turned out to be more than we bargained for…
Gardens of Villa Cimbrone
After checking in, we went to the Gardens of Villa Cimbrone. These gardens are considered among the most important examples of the English landscape and botany culture in the South of Europe. Numerous impressive decorative items (fountains, statues, small temples, pavilions) from all over the world were placed in the gardens. It is said to have the most beautiful view in the world and we all agreed that it was spectacular.
We had a few bottles of wine at the hotel before heading off to dinner. Dinner was at a quaint, family owned trattoria named Trattoria Da Cumpa Cosimo. We learned that although the chef (aka mamma) can be a little pushy with recommendations, mamma does know best! It was a delicious meal with fantastic company.
Another bottle and a few cigars after dinner left us feeling great about our getaway.
Valle dei Ferriere Hike Near Ravello
The next day, we went on a “moderate” hike called Valle dei Ferriere. This hike takes you from the starting point in Pontone, up and through the mountains, down through the valley, and to the town of Amalfi. We were told it takes 1-2 hours, but our research after the fact indicated that it takes about five hours.
We hiked up, up, up the mountain… and then up some more. At points, there would be a very high cliff on one side of us and the other side would have you plunge to your death if you fell. Every turn led us in an upwards direction with steep climbs. We saw some amazing foliage throughout the mountains; a mix of reds, oranges, yellows, and greens. They were beautiful colors, which we had not seen since we moved here.
Up we went, passing a man herding goats with bells on, passing colorful lizards scurrying away from us, passing small waterfalls. At points we could see Amalfi in the distance, with the bright blue sea behind it. We were excited to end our hike there.
Unfortunately, after two hours of hiking, it started to pour. We were nowhere near Amalfi (we figured we were at about the halfway point). We were still headed up, not down, and we were out of water and snacks. It was going to get dark in two hours (and we didn’t know how long the next part would take us).
So, we played it safe and turned around. Even though we didn’t make it to our ultimate destination, the hike was beautiful, fulfilling, and well worth the rain, grumbling tummies, and numbing legs!
An Amazing Homemade Dinner
Tired from the day, we decided to stay in and make dinner. We went to our local fish guy and bought two octopi and two fish, and we even got a free bag of mussels!
Next, we picked up eggplant and peppers from our vegetable stand. Dave took care of the octopi (I’m still not really sure what went in to that). Jon put his surgeon skills to use and cut and gutted the fish. Carla and I scrubbed, de-bearded, and steamed the mussels. It was such a memorable night filled with laughter, love, and of course molto vino.