where the sea meets the sky
and you can hardly tell the difference,
atop a high hill in Ravello on the Amalfi Coast
is this beautiful hotel
and fine dining establishment.
the photograph above reminds me of the Splendido Hotel in Portofino, where I was fortunate enough to be a guest for a few days, the way they are both terraced down the hillside, with the same shape pool and all in pink stucco with greenery everywhere.
the property was originally the home of an Italian nobelman, built in the 12th century,
which seems unimaginable to us, doesn't it?
it opened as a hotel in 1997, and is today a 5-Star Property and has a Michelin-starred restaurant,
where we are hoping to go.
heck, I'd be delighted to just sit outside and have a glass of Italian wine from the region !
like here, for example
you see, I DIE over the vista
literally, I could spend forever right in that spot.
my husband, bless him, told me once that we could consider getting a small place in Sorrento...I gasped...but he said we would have to come home for football season.
Ned Scott, one wonderful guy!
I have left this photo very large so you can see close-up the beauty of the place.
my thoughts on travelling to area is that you must take your time, so that every beautiful place
can be savoured to the fullest.
it's not a place where you can drive by monuments and say I've done that.
when you go to this coast of Italy you must act as if you are Italian,
sit down, sip an espresso, talk to the people around you, bask in the sunlight,
drink wine until you wobble (well, you know) and just enjoy "being there."
& there are beautiful places like this everywhere around the coastline,
going back, returning over and over is just so much better than going for the 1st time.
the 1st time you actually have no idea what to expect.
it's like the Grand Canyon, you never finish exploring and gasping for breath.
there are 9 of us girls planning on going on this holiday together,
you might say we are all adventurers as some of us don't know some of the others,
but we're already laughing and planning what we want to do.
finding out to make Limoncello is a definite must.
I will be so sad if you don't leave a comment.
do people just do emoji's now?
I hope not.
below is a review of this magnificent hotel
By Audrey Ward , Hotel-loving editor
As anyone who has navigated the hairpin bends along the Amalfi coast will know, they’re not for the lily-livered. Boys on scooters lean into the cliff at 45-degree angles, cars overtake on blind corners and Mr Smith shouts ‘Mamma Mia’ every time we have to squeeze our Fiat past a hulking bus full of tourists. The soundtrack to our journey along one of Italy’s most beautiful coastal roads is a chorus of frantic beeping.
We climb higher and higher to the medieval village of Ravello, which is perched on the cliffs above the Mediterranean sea. When we arrive at the designated greeting area for Palazzo Avino, nerves a little frayed, we gratefully entrust our car to the porter. He directs us down a cobbled street to the hotel’s entrance. Outside the front door, a woman is taking photos and when we catch her up, I see why. The door leads to an open archway which frames the most spectacular view beyond: vivid blue sky, sunlight shimmering on the sea and jagged mountains.
There’s plenty more where that came from; happily we’ve booked a deluxe sea view suite. Although it’s only 10am we are given the key to our room. The guests in the lobby are spared the spectacle of us emptying the contents of suitcases onto the marble floor in a bid to locate bikini, flip flops and swimming trunks.
Our sleeping quarters are bright white and decorated with hand-painted ceramic tiles and antique furniture. I peer through the floor-to-ceiling window and see a Tiffany-box blue swimming pool below. Sun loungers are laid out like pink wafer biscuits beneath white umbrellas. The bed is heaven but there’s no time to drift off between the crisp white sheets. Mr Smith has made some astute inquiries and our luck is in: breakfast is still being served.
Sitting at the outdoor terrace – which by night morphs into Rosselini’s, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant – I have in front of me a smorgasbord of Italian fare from the buffet table: delicate rolls of prosciutto, plump balls of mozzarella, giant green olives, strawberries, kiwis and pineapples and the crumbliest biscotti I’ve ever tasted. We study the menu offering eggs done every which way and sip from flutes fizzing with prosecco. We may have only just arrived but the stress of the journey has dissipated entirely. Now the only thing that brings on a bout of anxiety is the thought that, at some point, I will have to check out of this sanctuary.
Revived by bubbles and the diet-sabotaging basket of pastries that followed our omelettes, we explore Palazzo Avino. The marshmallow pink villa, which has been operating as a hotel since 1997, was originally built in the 12th century for Italian nobility, and was part of the aristocratic quarter of Ravello during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The place has whispers of history and glamour throughout.
Outside we clamber down stone steps from one grassy level to the next and past the gym, located in the gardens under white gazebos overlooking the sea. We rule out a session – we can’t have our wheezing interrupt the sound of ice clinking in glasses nearby. We spend the day by the pool, before heading for a massage at the hotel spa where our limbs are loosened and soothed with apricot oil.
Afterwards we make for the hotel’s lobster and martini bar. The menu features 100 different martinis concocted by the hotel’s in-house martini mixologist. We plump for the espresso martini and enjoy a generous snackette of marinated peppers and blinis. The comfy sofas, surrounded by pink flowers and the scent of rosemary, are the perfect spot from which to watch the orange sun dissolve into the sea.
As the darkness settles in we head to Rosselini’s to navigate eight courses of the fish tasting menu. The Norwegian lobster, apple with smoked eel ravioli, and fig with tuna and red pepper are lip-smackingly good. We opt for the wine-pairing menu and the sommelier brings us glasses of local reds and whites. The restaurant is awash with honeymooners drunk on romance and parents blissed out by their temporary child-free status.
Day two is a revelation. Palazzo Avino's Clubhouse by the Sea is located in the small town of Marmorata, a 15 minute shuttle ride from Ravello. We share the private deck with one other couple and a few peckish seagulls. We swim out from the platform which hugs the rock and take turns to spot silver fish with a diving mask. Later I lick salt from my lips. It may be from the sea, the ice cold margarita or the club sandwich but it is the taste of a perfect holiday.
Unlike it’s more garish sisters along the coast, Amalfi and Positano, Ravello is the serene beauty. But even her attractions can’t entice us from our bolthole. Apart from a few short jaunts around town – we watch wedding guests lingering outside the cathedral in anticipation of a bride and attend a concert recital – we cling to the hotel’s sofas and sunbeds like limpets. There are few places in the world as romantic as Ravello but for decadent romance in the village itself, Palazzo Avino can't be topped.