Monday, November 13, 2006

A Day in Ravello 11.11.06

Saturday was a gorgeous, warm and sunny day, perfect for another drive along the Amalfi Coast, this time with the intention of going to Ravello, just this side of Amalfi. We had not been there before but had read about its charms.

The sky was a vivid blue and we stopped several times along the way. Cetara is another of the picturesque villages not far from us that deserves a closer look, but on this day we simply stopped to appreciate the views and took a few photos promising to come back for further exploration.

Ravello sits high above the Amalfi Coast with breathtaking views all around. The road that leads to it is full of switchbacks and we thought we would never reach the top! Having gotten a late start, we arrived just in time to take a look inside the Cattedrale with its terrific set of marble pulpits and some fine examples of 12th and 13th century mosaic work, as fine as those in the Cattedrale in Salerno. It also has the blood of the patron saint, which is said to liquefy at certain times during the year, like San Gennaro in Palermo. You are permitted to go behind the altar to view the chalice that holds it and at just this moment, the doors of the church closed and I found myself locked inside! I eventually found a way out through the museum but it was a bit disconcerting to find all the doors bolted and no apparent way out! Maybe the Saint was trying to tell me something???

Bob was waiting for me on the steps outside and we found a little grocery store (alimentari) and bought provisions for a picnic lunch - crispy bread with turkey and cheese for Bob and mortadella for me. We sat on a bench in the piazza and had our lunch, then wandered around the streets of the city.

Ravello is a lovely city and the higher we climbed the better the views became. I will just let the photos speak for themselves. We understand why this is a tourist destination. It's just beautiful.

Leaving Ravello, we decided to take the road to Scala, which is even higher than Ravello, and has a wonderful view across to that city and with the sun going down, it was really lovely. A bit further up the road we came upon the very tiny city of Minuta and we had no sooner parked the car than we heard the sound of horses' hoofs clomping up the stone steps and sure enough, up came a man in rustic work clothes riding a horse, leading a second one loaded down with some sort of provisions. The man who had told us where to park told us he was taking food into the mountains for his animals. We were astounded to see that this sort of activity still goes on in this modern day and age! We wandered down the same steps the horse and rider had come, only to come upon another guy riding a mule and heading in the same direction the other had gone! Neither of these guys had stopped to chat and we were just standing with our mouths open as they hurried past us.

The light was fading and we decided we would have to come back another day to take photos from this perch above the sea and headed back to our car only to find the mule rider loading tree branches, his heating supply for the winter, onto the animal's back, Wow.

(to be continued: Bocconcini alla Panna and painting Vietri 11.12.06)

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