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Sorrento: B&B Villa Monica

Phone: 081.8773705

Reviewed by: trishmael from LA, review #1960

When: July 2007

The only thing better than the dazzling view of the Bay of Naples is the grace and wit of the host.

View from the terrace of Villa Monica, early morning, photo by Trish

Villa Monica is a 3-room B&B perched high on a hill over Sorrento, on the St. Agnello side of the Bay of Naples side.

From the terrace of each room, you look out over St. Agnello and beyond to the bay with Vesuvius in the background. It's the most stunning view imaginable. We spent hours just sitting, watching the light change, drinking wine and on some days watching helicopters putting out fires in the distance. Our first night there were fireworks displays dotting the hills. We learned from our host these are for various churches' celebrations of saints' days, weddings, etc.

It's much quieter up over Sorrento than in it, and Villa Monica was a lovely place for respite from our excursions to attractions in the area.

The rooms are comfortable and tastefully furnished, with platform beds and clean, modern bathrooms. Our room had an ensuite bathroom with shower; our friends who stayed next door had a provate bathroom with a jacuzzi tub, next door to their room. Big fluffy towels are changed daily. The beds have mosquito net canopies you can drape down, and the host provided us with plug-in repellant. We used both, but the mosquitoes didn't seem to be around much (and I'm one of those human no-pest strips, they love me).

Breakfast was served downstairs on the large patio, also overlooking the bay, and served from the adjoining kitchen and dining room on the ground floor. There is free wireless internet if you bring a laptop; otherwise Pasquale invites you to use his computer in the breakfast room to check your email.

All this was splendid enough, but what made our stay at Villa Monica sheer magic was Pasquale himself. He speaks very good English (obtained, he says, from guests and American TV) and his hospitality and warmth were infectious.

Because Villa Monica is way uphill from Sorrento, Pasquale generously shuttles you back and forth into town whenever you like, picking you up at a meeting place just a few blocks off the main piazza in Sorrento. You could do this on your own I suppose if you had a car, but parking in Sorrento looked scarce, and I still don't know how Pasquale gets his Toyota RAV between the poles of a gate leading up to the villa, on a hard left turn. You'd need a small car or a lot of practice. If you wanted to walk back and forth into town, you might have to be a mountain goat.

But for us this was a non-issue: Pasquale cheerfully offered us rides, usually in the morning for our day's excursions to Pompeii or Naples, etc., and picked up within minutes of when we called upon return. In the evenings he drove us to restaurants and the waitstaff would call him when we were ready to come back.

We followed his recommendations for places that were a bit out of the way for folks staying down in Sorrento and were very pleased with Da Filippo (and another place I can't recall the name of). They seemed to be family places, where mostly locals ate, and the food was good at reasonable prices. When we ate down in town, the crowds were much more like us, tourists, and were more expensive and not as good.

We loved chatting with Pasquale: about his adorable young son, Flavio, about how Naples Italian differs from standard Italian, about driving in Italy, about his plans to relocate to the Pienza area in a few years and open a larger place there (and we'd like to be among the first guests, if and when that happens). He has a wonderful sense of humor, too.

We booked through Venere.com but you can also book directly with Pasquale through his website. I can't believe we only paid 75 a night.

Reviewed by: Diana B from TX, review #1860

When: March 2007

The accommodations were simple, but we'll never forget our "room with a *dazzling* view" of the Bay of Naples from this B&B perched above Sorrento.

The Bed and Breakfast Villa Monica is a 4-km drive up the cliff that climbs high above Sorrento's city center.

Your reward for being away from the action is three-fold: (1) the stunning views of the Bay of Naples from the villa generally and from your room in particular are, truly, out of this world; (2) in this peaceful residential area, you forget the tourist hordes that are hard to escape anywhere you go along the Amalfi Coast; and (3) the villa's charming proprietor, Pasquale, will take good care of you from initial booking contact until you depart, including providing transportation to/from town if you need it (be forewarned: driving to the villa is not for the faint of heart!).

The Villa Monica website fairly represents the property in photos and text. The villa is small, featuring just a few guest rooms (all but one, I believe, have a view - make sure to ask for a view room with a private balcony), a pleasant common room with dining tables and a lovely outdoor patio overlooking the bay.

We found everything to be clean and neat, if basic. The breakfast was ample, although uninspired. I don't think many would consider this property comfortable enough for an extended stay. We like Sorrento as a base for seeing the ruins and day-tripping to Capri, so for a brief stay, Villa Monica's a perfect place to "come home to" at the end of the day, and a great value, too, compared to the prices in Sorrento proper.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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