The road to Ravello is not for the fainthearted. Hairpin bends and sheer cliff drops into the Mediterranean Sea which beckons like a shimmering temptress mean that reaching this hilltop town requires both nerves and gears of steel. Yet those who do make it to the jewel of the Amalfi Coast will be handsomely rewarded - even more so if the sun-kissed Palazzo Avino is the final destination. This 12th-century "pink palace" (as the locals call it) sits proudly on Ravello's upper level, away from flocks of visitors and protected by sprawling terraced gardens where sun loungers are scattered among wisteria and citrus trees.
When it comes to the interiors, this fully refurbished palazzo retains its Italian grandeur but has thrown any old-school stuffiness out of the window and over a Romeo-and-Juliet balcony. Rich Persian carpets, plump silk sofas and gilt mirrors are refreshed by bright-white walls, lofty ceilings and gleaming monochrome floors. Floor-to-ceiling windows are flanked by heavy satin curtains yet open out onto an expanse of aquamarine in the distance, so that sea air and sunlight flood every corner of the aristocratic abode. With impeccable staff and a lack of airs and graces, this hotel whispers Italian summer romance.
The 43 guestrooms (30 of which have sea views) surround a central atrium with Moorish arches bringing another dimension to palatial corridors. Impeccably white walls provide a blank canvas for antique furniture topped by oriental vases which overflow with orchids, while pastel-blue touches and gleaming marble bathrooms keep the overall impression contemporary.
What's for breakfast?
The à la carte menu almost becomes obsolete in the face of a veritable buffet which includes a doorstop-sized wedge of the hotel's own honeycomb for you to hack at and have on toast, or simply eat by the spoonful. Need we say more?
What about lunch and dinner?
Head to Caffé dell'Arte for daytime snacking, but for larger plates Terrazza Belvedere is your go-to. If you're down at the beach club, you'll be well catered for with pasta, pizza and salads. For dinner, Michelin-starred Rossellinis has got to be one of the most romantic restaurants in Amalfi - if you're plucking up the courage to pop the big question, head to the Lobster & Martini Bar first, where you can choose from 70 imaginative concoctions.
Is there a bar?
Aside from the martini masterpiece, we particularly like the ground-floor bar, filled with foliage and complete with a magnificent black-and-white art deco star stretching out across the floor.
Things you should know
You will never want to leave.
Within a short walk you can find…
Ravello is small and the streets are made for wandering. Leave your GPS behind and head out for a pre-breakfast stroll when the town is quiet all but for relaxed locals and cats basking in the morning rays. Palazzo Avino is a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Legend Collection.