Catching the dawn concert at The Ravello Music Festival has been on my bucket list for a long time…

Theresa Feeney

On arrival in Naples, I was thrilled to be greeted by my Palazzo Avino driver. He whizzed me through the crowds and we were soon on our way to paradise on the Amalfi Coast! After a warm welcome by Mariella Avino and her team, I headed for lunch on the Belvedere Terrace, where my early alarm call and the autumnal August weather became a distant memory as I soaked up the iconic view in the sunshine. There is nothing quite like that first glass of prosecco when you arrive in the Mediterranean.

Palazzo Avino Exterior

On entering my room, I pinched myself! It doesn’t matter how much I travel, I am still very conscious of the fact that to experience places like Palazzo Avino is a privilege. Resisting the urge to collapse straight onto the fresh bedding, I quickly changed and made my way to the pool. It was lovely to hear so many different languages being spoken by the mixed clientele, and I spent a leisurely Wednesday embracing the rugged coastline, once again in total awe of the vista before me.

I dined at Villa Maria in Ravello that evening, which again boasts stunning views. They also run an excellent cookery course, but make sure you go hungry and do not have lunch beforehand as we did, as you will savour the results of your hard work afterwards on their lovely terrace.

On Thursday morning I slept late, and of course, enjoyed the wonderful breakfast on the terrace at Palazzo Avino. Can anyone tell me why fresh fruit tastes so good in the Mediterranean? Every year I try to prepare a fresh fruit platter for breakfast at home during summer months, but it’s just not the same. The rest of the day was spent doing exactly what I had planned to do…nothing! I relished a leisurely spot of sunbathing by the pool and wandered into Ravello, before an evening spent savouring delicious grilled sea bass and vegetables at the hotel’s Terrazzo Belvedere. It’s interesting how travelling solo on holiday can actually feel perfectly comfortable. It was a first for me but I needn’t have worried. There was another single lady who actually stays at Palazzo Avino twice a year on her own and never thinks twice about it. In an ideal world though, the Amalfi Coast is made for sharing!

Friday arrived, bringing with it the highlight of my trip. The Concerto d’Allba – otherwise known as the dawn concert – takes place every year on August 11 as part of the Ravello Music Festival. You cannot believe how lively it was at 4.15am with crowds of well-dressed, glamorous concert goers, chatting animatedly whilst ordering much needed espressos. At 4.30am, we entered Villa Rufolo and took our seats. It was completely dark when the concert started. We sat in anticipation as the orchestra sat down and warmed up, until Antonello Venditti entered the stage to rapturous applause.

Ravello Music Festival

It’s hard to explain how spectacular this performance was, but let’s just say it lived up to my every expectation. Ticket prices are only around 65 euros, but they are hard to come by – unless you know Antonio Ferrera, who has been Front Office Manager at Palazzo Avino since 1997. When it comes to getting things done, Antonio is a magician! I have the greatest respect for him, his knowledge and passion for the area. I consider this Italian item from my bucket list well and truly ticked. Now, what’s next…

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