Night location: Ravello
A very early start this morning due to our flight to Naples. We overestimated the time it would take to reach the aeroporto as on the way in to the city it took over an hour, but at 6am with a loco taxi driver who did over double the speed limit in places, we reached our destination in approximately 25 minutes! Nevertheless we made it to Naples after a shorter than anticipated flight to meet our driver who would chauffeur us to Ravello.
The driving in this part of the world never ceases to amaze us! Our driver took us on a different route to the one we drove in 2011. Instead of going around the mountain range via Salerno, he went straight over the top on a road that seemed less busy and only local friendly. After many twists, turns, hairpin bends and a herd of goats we reached the beautiful town of Mum's dreams.
The main piazza is at the base of a small duomo and is surrounded by shops, cafés and big pots with geraniums spilling over the sides. As breakfast had been at 5am we stopped for morning tea in a beautiful cafe that looked back across the piazza and down the valley. While sipping our coffees and lemon granitas, we spotted the Oxleys who we were meeting us for lunch at Villa Maria. John cried out in a loud voice, "Buon Giorno" and kissed Dad on both cheeks much to our amusement!
After browsing in the square we started the trek up the many steps and steep paths to Villa Maria. Fortunately the villa is worth the journey! It is perched on the side of the escarpment and looks down the valley to the sea. The restaurant is on a spectacular terrace that is shaded by old trees that have been trained to create a canopy. The Oxleys joined us for lunch and John continued to practice his Italian when ordering his "Lamba racka!" It was so special to be back on this terrace where we spent our very first lunch on our 2011 trip.
Following a delicious long lunch, Amber and David retired to their room while the others continued on down more steps to the Villa Cimbrone Gardens. The villa and its gardens rest on the edge of the town, perched on the top of a cliff that means that we could enjoy 270 degree views across the coast and to the sea far below. The Avenue of Immensity and the Terrace of Infinity never cease to delight. You could easily spend hours here. Mum says it's a writer's paradise. The magnificent beauty cannot be captured adequately in photos or in words. It is a 'must see' if you're ever in this part of the world.
Following our tradition when visiting this region, we dined at 'da Gemma' our favourite restaurant in Amalfi. We were very pleased that they still had the 'Caprese three ways' on the menu as this is absolutely delicious! David was also very excited to order the local fish of the day which was baked with lemon, olive oil and capers, and served with small potatoes. The fish was beautiful and fresh and filleted at the table by the waitstaff. Two fish were ordered as Gareth and Dad also partook in this delight.