Italy 2016: Spelling Matters

Italy 2016: Spelling Matters

We learned a valuable travel lesson, especially in Italy.  Spelling REALLY matters.

Wide and steep are the steps in Rivello.

Wide and steep are the steps in Rivello.


Rivello, a town of pink roofs and stone facades.

Rivello, a town of pink roofs and stone facades.

Eddie and I trade travel planning responsibilities depending upon who’s encouraging the adventure.  I wanted to visit Ravello on the Amalfi Coast for a Tuesday morning open air market.  Think fresh produce, local formaggio, warm pane (bread) and discounted designer clothing.  All things I love about Italy.

The market ended at 1pm, it was supposed to take about an hour to drive from Agerola, so I requested we leave at 9am; get there around 10ish for coffee and a nibble then wander the market and have lunch.  When we got into the car Tuesday morning, I groggily plugged in RIVELLO into the navigation and it said we were two and a half hours away.  Huh?  That seemed wrong.

“Rivello, right?” Eddie asked.

“Ya, so weird. I thought it was only supposed to take an hour, but, maybe.  I looked at it pretty late last night, maybe I was wrong about how long it should take.”

“Maybe there’s a lot of traffic?”

“I don’t know, but glad we are leaving early,” I said as we pulled out of the driveway.

Three hours later and a stop for coffee at Autogrill, Italy’s foodie equivalent to ampm, we finally arrived in the sleepy town of Rivello at noon.  The market is held in Piazza Duomo, but I asked three sets of people, the only people on the street, and no one had heard of a Tuesday market or the Duomo.  Something was seriously wrong.  It appeared we were the only people in town.  I looked at my screenshot photo about the market again.

“Oh. My. God.”


“We are in the wrong town.  I spelled it RIvello and it should have been RAvello.  Kill me!  And we are missing the market!”

I should have taken another five minutes to figure out what was wrong when we left the house, but the difference was just small enough to think it could be normal.  What are the odds there is a town within a few hours drive that is perched on a hillside, looks similar in photos and is one letter off in spelling?!  In Italy, the odds are very good apparently.  Eddie was gracious about the whole situation, we were still two and a half hours away from Ravello considering the direction and switch back roads; I was deflated and tired of being in the car, but Eddie handled it like a champ.


Ravello from afar. I mean, you see where I could get confused, right?!

Ravello from afar. You see how I could get confused, right?!

We have a travel motto: When life gives you lemons, turn them into limes and make a gin and tonic.

I mean, it doesn’t totally make sense but it makes me smile.

So we chucked the original plan and drove to Paestum, an arduous one and a half hour drive (from Rivello) through the heart of Mozzarella di Bufala territory, to tour Greek ruins dating back to 600 B.C.  Ancient Romans discovered the archeological site in 273 B.C. and thought it was old!  That’s OLD!  According to Walks of Italy, the three major temples were dedicated to female goddesses, a welcome relief to the historically male dominated Roman Empire.

Not only do you feel dwarfed by the massive size of the structures, but you can walk through them!  I highly recommend a venture to Paestum.  We also visited Pompeii and both enjoyed the Greek ruins more, partially because the weather was cooler, it wasn’t busy and parking was free (and easy to find).

A grand view of the Paestum Greek ruins.

A grand view of the Paestum Greek ruins.  Eddie is standing at the intersection of two columns (in blue shorts) for a perspective of scale.