Ristorante Caruso / Ravello, Italy
Travelers typically add the Amalfi coast hilltop hamlet of Ravello to an itinerary only after trips to nearby Positano and Capri, despite the cachet of celebrity residents like author Gore Vidal and some of the best-tended gardens in southern Italy. But Ravello has been stealing some attention from its neighbors since the venerable Hotel Caruso reopened this spring after a $30 million face-lift. Originally built in 1893 and frequented over the years by writers Virginia Woolf and Graham Greene, the new Caruso has 54 rooms and suites in an arch-filled palazzo 1,000 feet above the sea. Ristorante Caruso has had a makeover too. Padua-born chef Franco Luise, formerly at Lisbon's Lapa Palace, is using regional staples every way he can: raw shrimp marinated in olive oil and citrus; chilled zucchini soup with Parmesan ice cream; glazed duck breast with licorice honey; and a simple but perfect spaghetti with pomodoro sauce and basil. Caruso's fresco-ceilinged bar serves local liqueurs like limoncello and others brewed from myrtle and fennel. DETAILS Doubles from $730; Piazza San Giovanni del Toro, 2; 011-39-01-852-67890 or orient-express.com.