Thursday, November 15, 2012

Italy 5: Your wedding in Italian town of Ravello?

Although small in size, the little town of Ravello is by no means little in its stature as a leading tourist destination in Italy. The total population of the town is 2,500 with its central piazza overlooking the Duomo di Ravello brimming with tourist enjoying coffee and drinks or strolling up and down trying to locate a secret corner. Except that there are no secret corners in Ravello - at least not between May and September.

After a quick walk around the town, avoiding extremely crowded Villa Ruffolo, Duomo, Piazza and Ravello's many touristic ceramics and art shops, we decided to tread a little further away from the popular hangouts of the tourist in the area.  

Welcome to Ravello: Beautiful little town established in 6th Century AD on Italy's Amalfi Coast

As we walked away from the crowds into a little street on the other side of the cathedral, we saw two musicians, one with a guitar and the other with a mandolin, seated by a door leading into a little terrace garden overlooking the sea. And as we entered the garden we had a moment of calm as we sat on a bench. Escaping the tourist buzz, we were now in the Amalfi paradise we had hoped for. Smell of lemon groves, soothing views of the revered "Italian Riviera" and musicians practicing their strings in the background. Just as I thanked the Lord for the good fortune that brought me here, I realized that we may be intruding a wedding party. A group of 20 people had entered the little garden space. The guests were hugging and congratulating the new couple. We had a few minutes of discomforting curiosity trying hard not to look at the married couple as they posed infront of the camera. The musicians were now playing their practiced tunes. The rhythm of guitar and mandolin lifted the atmosphere. Could it get more romantic. I snuggled into my husbands arms for a quick hug. But then the party left as quickly as they arrived. The music fell to silence. In another five minutes, another party arrived. And then another. And then another.  
Quite Street which is not quite quite - Ravello is brimming with tourist between May and September

As we walked out, I saw at least five couples (including one from Japan and one from India) stepping out of the cathedrals one after the other walking up and down the steep slopes of Ravello, living there dream of white christian wedding in a quaint Italian village by the sea surrounded by vine yards. Impeccably dressed they looked gods and goddesses, prince and princesses in their fairytale attires with the a hired photographer in toe. The joy all too obvious as they obliged the shutterbug copying every pose in the wedding book. There was of course a manager following ensuring everything stayed on time. Many couples were waiting to live their dream so - the musicians, the photo-op spots, the cathedral must be cleared on time. After few minutes it felt like an assembly line of weddings. 

A wedding in progress at Ravello's catehdral

It soon became obvious that Ravello is a much in demand town for weddings and this demand is obliged by a number of wedding experts. 

View from the sea front of Ravello
About the legal and religious aspects of the wedding: the use of local churches are allowed for non-Catholic Christian weddings. If you are already married and need a "symbolic" ceremony without the rigmarole of paperwork, that could be arranged too. Civil marriages can also be arranged at the local town hall. Receptions are then held in beautiful gardens, villas, terraces or hotels along the edge of the cliff, the town is located on. Every married couple and their guests get photo-ops and celebration time with the view of the sea, vine yards, lemon groves with the wonderful company of Italian wine and cuisine.   

The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

All of us have dreams of weddings in exotic locations with perfect arrangements - musicians, flowers, dresses, guests and fine dining. Ravello offers all of this. So could Ravello be your wedding destination?

Ravello is famous for its fine ceramics. You will find many shops displaying beautiful pieces as you stroll around the town

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