Monday, September 27, 2010

Amalfi Hill Town

View of Amalfi Coast from Villa Rufolo
We have wanted (and asked for) a duty station in Europe for over a decade now. Adding a great amount of fuel to that fire was one of Nathan's prior bosses. He and his family arrived in Key West from Naples, and we had the luxury of hearing about their experiences when sitting around their dinner table, eating pasta with a traditional sauce taught to them by their Italian landlords and drinking wine they brought back to the U.S. with them. One of their favorite places they mentioned often was a little town up in the hills above the Amalfi coast, Ravello. While living in a hotel for months on end (for the third time in six years!) is pretty much a drag, the benefit is that weekends are completely free (maid service every four days is one luxury I will gladly accept!) - no cleaning or home chores weighing us down. This past Saturday, we woke to gray skies and a rainy forecast, but decided Ravello had to be a sooner than later visit. Scully needed an excursion as well. I don't know exactly how long it should have taken us, since we (yet again) made a wrong turn, but my guess is about an hour. After making our way through the approach, which was filled with tour buses, we found a town as delightful as the rumors foretold.

One of Ravello's charming, pedestrian streets
We were in need of a lazy day - a time to just wander and soak in atmosphere rather than a blitzkrieg of sightseeing. Plus, it was drizzling for our first hour in town, so we just strolled around the piazza and alleys, visited a limoncello factory, bought prosciutto sandwiches and ate them in a covered alley, and shopped in ceramic stores. This region is known for beautiful, painted ceramics - I thought I wouldn't really like the style, and Nathan just keeps muttering, "no more stuff" at random moments, as if he's been suddenly afflicted; however, we both were drawn to some of the work - the detail is amazing.

Once the rain cleared up, we visited one of Ravello's few actual sites - Villa Rufolo, built about 800 years ago. There's not really a villa to visit, but there are some beautiful ruins and gardens. Excavation is still going on, and one of the very recent finds is a Turkish style hammam (bath type complex). I just love how so much of this type of thing is underneath our feets here. As a side note, I was with a friend in downtown Napoli today, walking past a fenced off area of road construction. We could clearly see that where the crews have dug down pretty deep is some type of ancient, columned building. This was underneath a major road in one of Europe's densest cities. But back to Ravelo and Villa Rufolo...below are a few photos.
In the courtyard
We're not sure if this is actually a centuries old dog house, but it sure looks like one.  Scully seemed to like it.


  1. Scully is too cute sitting there!

  2. Love the "dog house"!! Too cute! Whitney :)