[RAVELLO, ITALY] –  Years ago I finally realized what I really like: cliffs, overlooking a distant ocean, preferably with a pool clinging to a steep hillside.

From then on, it’s been my focus on choosing where I go on vacation. (You’ll see this as a common theme throughout this site!)  Palazzo Avino fits all of those criteria. Plus, small, quiet and really expensive. After a recent remodel, it is on almost every Top Ten list of all hotels in the world. They have some rock star-great rooms and terraces, with prices to match.

Sitting high on a hilltop in Ravello, dubbed one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, sits Palazzo Avino.  (When I was there in ’04 it was called Palazzo Sasso, also famous in its own right.) But it looks pretty much like they kept all the good stuff. It truly does feel like you are royalty, in a grand villa, clinging to the side of a steep mountain, the ground dropping dramatically beneath you, leaving nothing between you and the views.

Because of its location, Ravello’s status as a wealthy enclave, this is tres cher, but worth every penny. You only need to spend a night, two tops, here so why not splash out on the best to take advantage of, arguably, the Best View in the World. I splurged on a big suite, with its own huge terrace, right along the cliff.

Palazzo Avino Ravello lobby

When you walk through the front door and into the insanely sunny lobby of Palazzo Avino hotel in Ravello, it’s like one of those movie scenes where someone dies and walks into a Great Light. Blinding fuzzy halos make you squint and reach for things, but you can see something heavenly pulling you forward…

Palazzo Avino restaurant terrace view
and then the view hits you… BAM. This incredible restaurant HAS to have the best views of any restaurant I’ve ever seen.
Palazzo Avino pool
Words can’t describe what a sunset by the pool feels like. Not to mention the views of the ocean, thousands of feet below.
Palazzo Avino Ravello suite bedroom windows
This isn’t the lobby. This is the room.
Palazzo Avino Ravello suite terrace sunrise
If you’re here, you might as well go all out on a suite.
When you do, you get an AMAZING terrace like this, all to yourselves.
Ravello piazza cafe

Hidden on a hilltop 1000ft about the sea, Ravello is a perfectly preserved small village, seemingly free of ugly things. No modern shops or tacky tshirt stores, no garish fluorescent signs. Lightly populated with mostly private apartments and villas clinging to the edge, a perfect main piazza with a smattering of movie set cafes, and only a couple of fine hotels. It just sits there, smokin’ a cigarette, looking pretty.

Ravello Il Rufolo tree view

This is the real reason why we’re here in Ravello. This postcard-perfect town sits high above the sea. Perched on the steep cliffs, amazing views of all the Amalfi Coast, for kilometers in every direction. You almost don’t wan to leave the hotel, but you have to pull yourself away to see the magic of Ravello.

— Last Visited September 2004 —

More Information on Palazzo Avino and Ravello

The restaurant is equally perfect. You’ll want to have every meal there, although don’t miss the awesome cafes in Ravello. Here is the Palazzo Avino website.  And here’s a great website about Ravello, restaurants and other hotels. Here’s an overview of Ravello and Palazzo Avino on TripAdvisor. A brief article in Conde Nast Traveler, and a snappy review in Tatler. And this article in Forbes explains the name change and recent renovation. And a cheeky review on the Avino from Mr & Mrs Smith. And here’s a link to the amazing Le Sirenuse hotel down the hill in Positano. And another post on Ravello I made.


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