Travel Tuesday: Minori to Ravello Hike [Amalfi Coast, no. 3]

On our third day in the Amalfi Coast during our 2017 anniversary trip, we felt rested enough for a little hiking adventure. I had heard about the steps that led from the village we were staying at (Minori) all the way up to the breathtaking clifftop village of Ravello, which is known for two jawdropping villas open to the public for a small fee (Villa Rufalo and Villa Cimbrone). After research, which comprised of google photos to help me decide which one was prettier (scholarly research, I know, haha), I decided on Villa Cimbrone, and Greg didn't mind since he was more interested in the hiking aspect of the day.

We set out in the mid-morning from Minori, which is at sea level. We walked through the winding streets of the village, ascending a hill until we found this sign. This is not a typical hike; it's basically just climbing roughly 1,600 steps. But the view of the azure blue waters of the Amalfi Coast, the scent of lemon trees and other crops on the staggered cliffside gardens, and the overall serenity of such a peaceful atmosphere made it a hike we will never forget. 

It was not a strenuous hike, especially since it was easy to stop and rest in the several areas where the steps led to some flat areas. I was dressed in a airy dress I could easily move in and comfortable sandals. We were there in October and the weather got up to mid-80s by the afternoon. For summer travelers, it would be best to do the hike in the early morning to avoid the heat. It took us under an hour, and that was with a few breaks to enjoy the view and catch my breath, as well as getting a little lost once we got to the top. There was a few signs during the climbing, but once we got to the end of the stairs, we must have missed the sign (if there was any) leading to Villa Cimbrone. We eventually found our way after turning around a few minutes later. 
 About halfway up, there is a flat area that is perfect for resting. It is a tiny village with a few houses built into the cliffs. We kept wondering how people could live up here. The view was unreal. Can you imagine waking up to this every morning? But then you'd have to climb either down the steps to Minori or up the steps to Ravello for any groceries or other shopping since there were only houses and a church up here. But this was the only way to get around in the cliffside villages of Amalfi Coast before modern roads were built. It was so isolated and picturesque and offered some shade coverage from the sun.
 We eventually continued the upward climb and eventually reached flat ground, which was were we got a little disoriented. I maaaay have been more enamored with the view and snapping photos than searching for signposts, but who can blame me with surroundings like this??
I am not sure if this was a different villa or a church, but it was so beautiful and had a bit of a Spanish feel to it. We loved the hillside gardens and wondered what produce (other than the obvious lemons and olives we were seeing) could grow in this climate and topography. It was such a unique form of gardening, that's for sure!
Eventually, we found the arching sign for Villa Cimbrone and followed the path to the entrance of the gardens. Now a luxe hotel with public gardens, it was built in the 11th century and renovated in the 20th century. The gardens are expansive and beautiful sculptures and viewpoints are plentiful. We were there while the autumnal leaves and vines were vibrantly colorful.
One of the paths in the garden led to this remarkable viewpoint, which we enjoyed from the shade of a beautiful structure.
There was a delightful terrace overlooking the cliffside where we ordered a drink and enjoyed the view for a little while. 
And then we headed to the Terrace of Infinity, which was incredibly beautiful. The sky was clear and the shades of blue between the azure sea (1,200 feet below) and the bright sky was stunning. The sea looked like it had no end in sight, possibly why the terrace bears its name.
We continued to meander around the gardens, enjoying the terraces, statues, architecture, and lush greenery.
We finished the day by walking through the cloister and then headed back down the steps to Minori.
We stopped once more in the tiny village at the halfway point and watched the sunset before finishing our walk to Minori.

To see photos from the rest of our 2017 trip through France and Italy, click here