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Posts tagged ‘Ravello’

2014: My year in photos

It has become something of a tradition on The Daily Norm to spend the last day of the year looking back at photos capturing the 364 days before it, reflecting on all of the splendid and captivating sights which have made up the year. And perhaps more than any other that has gone before, 2014 has been a year which the camera has loved. For when I look back at my photos of the last 12 months, I am met with an overwhelming body of diverse and beautiful shots which encapsulate a year overflowing with incredible sights and experiences.

I count myself very lucky to have seen and experienced all that has passed in a single year. From the quaint dark streets of Barcelona in February, my travels took me to the incredibly unique medieval citadel of Dubrovnik, the jaw-droppingly beautiful Amalfi Coast (including Positano, Ravello and Capri), the inspiringly-vertiginous mountain town of Ronda in Southern Spain, the vine-rich planes of coastal Tuscany, the floral festival of Pilar in Zaragoza, and the much applauded Czechoslovakian beauty that is Prague. And travels asides, it was the year when I held my first solo art exhibition in 6 years – a huge amount of work which dominated the first half of the year, but a wonderfully satisfying artistic and commercial success which will mark out this year as a creatively significant one.

The famous clock of Capri's main piazza

The ultimate ripples, Palma de Mallorca

Paradise on earth - Capri

Floral walkway, Positano

Colour profile, Marbella

Grape harvest in Castagneto Carducci

Beach umbrellas, Positano

However, appearances can be misleading, and when I look back on these photos, in particular those taken while travelling around Europe, I remember those holidays as escapes into unreality, moments of happiness snatched and nourished in between a stark reality which was becoming more and more difficult to endure. Once my exhibition was over, I found myself faced with a career which failed to inspire me, a city which made life a daily grind, and my partner feeling increasingly depressed for the same reasons. And it was this realisation, and a very unique opportunity that came from it, which triggered perhaps the most significant of all experiences that 2014 brought: our move to Mallorca. A life changer on so many levels; a bundle of new experiences which have only just begun.

And so it is sitting here in sunny Mallorca that I make this review, delightedly gathering up my memories of the year full of the positivity which has accompanied our move to a new life in Spain. Fast forward 365 days, and I look forward to telling you all about it.

Happy New Year to you all!

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2014 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Art-in-Amalfi – Painting 7: The terraces of Ravello

As my post on yesterday’s Daily Norm makes abundantly, sensually clear, Ravello on Italy’s Amalfi Coast is a place of stunning beauty. A place so beautiful that countless people, both famed and unknown, have flocked to its heady heights to sample a taste of paradise, and to soak in the views that Gore Vidal called the most beautiful in the world. So as my collection of Amalfi paintings reaches its steady climax (although I still feel inspired to paint more), there was no way that Ravello, and the stunning views from its quaint narrow hillside passages, was not going to be a part of it.

To my eyes, the thing that was so utterly charming about those incredible views was not so much the extensive sea views, but the elegantly terraced hills, loaded with lemon trees and olives and every kind of mediterranean plant growing abundantly. Those carefully sowed terraces gave the appearance of a fashion designed striped fabric in every conceivable shade of verdant green, while the houses clustered along intermittent roads were ripe for re-expression in the delineated cubic forms which have become characteristic of my Italy gouaches.

Ravello (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

Ravello (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

So I am delighted to share with you this seventh Amalfi Coast painting, doing so towards the climax of the Daily Norm tales of my Amalfi adventure. But something within me tells me this is not the end. Already my paintbrush is poised to work a little gouache magic across some blank paper in a notepad by my side, and you can be sure that as and when those works are completed, I will share them on The Daily Norm. 

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at

Positano & beyond | Ravello

It would have been sinful to take the 45 minute long boat journey all the way from Positano to Amalfi only to miss the real jewel of the Amalfi Coast to be found a mere 5km behind the town. Containing some of the most luxurious of the coast’s hotels, playing host to a string of celebrities past and present from DH Lawrence and Humphrey Bogart, to Salvador Dali and Leonardo DiCaprio, and boasting its own internationally renowned arts festival extending from June until the early Autumn each year, the town of Ravello is an unmissable high point of the Amalfi experience.

And high it really is. For the mere 5km distance of which I have alluded does not take into account the fact that Ravello is a spectacular 1,200ft above sea level, set along a perfectly situated mountain ridge, and that the journey to get there takes in some of the most dizzyingly vertiginous hairpin bends of all the roads on the coast. Yet even though many a visitor will arrive in the town with their nails bitten down halfway closer to their cuticles, the views that will greet you, and remain in sight from almost every aspect in Ravello are well worth the stomach flips. Glittering, stunning vistas down to the coast around Salerno and beyond make these views some of, if not the most stunning anywhere in Italy.

Ravello’s Duomo and the stunning views it’s famed for

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We and a vast number of other tourists crammed somewhat hazardously into the once-an-hour bus from Amalfi to Ravello and arrived in the town around 40 stomach-churning minutes later. Knowing that Ravello contains two of the most stunning gardens in the Amalfi region, we headed straight for the first – the Villa Rufolo, former villa/palace of the wealthy Rufolo family whose gardens are so picture-perfect that Wagner modeled the magical gardens in his opera Parsifal on them. Owing to the recent start of Ravello’s arts festival, much of these gardens was taken up with the construction of a temporary auditorium and stage benefiting from the very best of the jaw-dropping views (I wonder how anyone concentrates on the performers with these views behind them). However there were still sufficient treats in store in this garden to make us realise quite why the gardens had provided such inspiration to Wagner and many others before and after him.

The Villa Rufolo

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But in retrospect, I can see that the Villa Rufolo was only the appetizer of the great banquet which was to follow – the incredible Villa Cimbrone. Created in the “English style” by Vita Sackville-West who bought the sight for mere spare change, and later made the home of Gore Vidal, these six acres of lush gardens boasting the most incredible position at the edge of a rocky peninsular with commanding views extending almost 300 degrees over coast and valley are probably the most paradisally perfect gardens I have ever been in. They contain almost everything you could want from a garden. Shady sun-dappled paths lined with cypress trees and olives, bouncy green lawns interspersed with moss-covered greek and roman statues, little hidden cupolas and  grottos, and avenues lined with hydrangeas and wisteria and every other kind of beautiful flower. But most stunning of all is what can be found at the bottom of the garden – the Terrace of Infinity, with views over the bay of Salerno so ravishing that Gore Vidal declared it to be “the most beautiful view in the world”. I am not going to disagree.

The Villa Cimbrone

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Asides from those two great garden paradises, Ravello is a small and quiet little town compared with the boutique filled mecca of Capri or the bustling shopping streets of Amalfi down on the coast. With one main square flanked by a simple white washed Duomo and a few friendly cafes, it is the perfect place to sit back and contemplate the breathtaking views that are all around, somewhere to breathe deep the freshest of air in these mountain heights, and try to make sense of what it was to sample paradise, before finally heading back down to sea level, and to reality. But let’s face it, if that reality is still the Amalfi Coast, it’s never going to be far from heaven is it?

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2014 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.