Getting to Ravello
The mountains along the Sorrento peninsula are quite steep. Since Ravello is situated up in the hills, you might expect it is difficult to get to. You'd be correct, especially if you take the generally accepted route into Ravello. I'll give you three different ways to get to Ravello. The first two are the generally accepted routes, and both of them require you to navigate the Amalfi coast road, albeit from different directions, before heading up to Ravello from the Amalfi coast. All the directions assume you are coming from Naples, so if you are somewhere else you'll have to adjust accordingly.
The first route requires you to leave Naples heading south on the Autostrada A3. Turn off at Vietri sul Mare and take the Costiera Amalfitana road SS163 towards Amalfi. Just after Minori, look for Ravello signs. The second route requires you to leave Naples heading south on the Autostrada A3. Turn off heading for Sorrento. (You will see an Aushan store on the right.) You'll go through two or three tunnels, then you'll see signs for Amalfi. Drive through Amalfi, then look for Ravello signs. From this point both routes are the same. You'll wind up the Strada Provinciale---narrow two-lane road---towards the town center.
The third route is different. From Naples take the Autostrada south. Go past the exit towards Sorrento. Continue to the Angri exit. Follow the signs carefully at this point. If you get lost, ask around. From Angri head towards Pagani. You will turn left after S. Lorenzo but before reaching Pagani. Continue through Piazza Corbara. Continue to follow the signs (and the road, of course) up and over the narrow pass. If you start seeing signs (and a turn) for Polvica you missed a right hand turn a few kilometers back.
BTW, the pass you just climbed was the sight of some heavy fighting during WWII. The Germans had positioned a heavy gun at the top of the pass. Due to the terrain and the fact that the gun could be pushed into a hiding place, it was very difficult to take out the gun. The location of the gun emplacement can still be seen at the top of the pass, just on the left. It is a nice place to stop, and if the skies are clear the views are spectacular.
Once you reach Ravello, park and pay at the lot along the Strada Panoramica per Chiunzi. You can find other parking as well---look for the blue and white signs with the "P" on them. Walk through the tunnel and there you are, with the Duomo to your right and the Villa Roffolo to your left. Across the Piazza are a number of shops, including a couple of fine---but expensive---ceramic shops. From the Piazza you can take the Via S. Francesco to the Church of Saint Francis. Continuing along this path will take you to the Villa Cimbrone. If you turn off the Via S. Francesco to the right you can get to the Villa Maria, one of the finest hotels in Ravello. You can dine al fresco in their wonderful restaurant and enjoy the million dollar views for surprisingly little money. (High for the area, but reasonable for the U.S.)
Last edited on December 31, 2005