Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Sorrento: Villa Panewww.villapane.it
Reviewed by: katharina from Switzerland, review #1005
When: March 2005
Charming b&b, nice people, typical Italian house, outside of town, wonderful view.
I was at Villa Pane twice; once in October 2003 and then in March 2005. I liked the people there and the atmosphere of the house. The rooms are nicely furnished in colours of local flowers. They are clean, the water runs, the heating is on when nights are getting cooler. When you are lucky and the weather is fine, you can have breakfast or an evening meal on the balcony with a marvellous view.
The house is high above Sorrento and the Sorrento bay, 10 minutes drive from the center in direction to Casarlano. I recommend you to leave your car at the carpark, in easy reach of the house, and get an appointment with the proprietor of the house. They are kindly prepared to take you and your luggage with their car. To reach the house, you will finally have to pass a very steep and extremely narrow lane. Leave it to the locals to drive. I used to walk up and down, sometimes to the bus stop in about 10 minutes distance, sometimes to the center of Sorrento (25 minutes of walking). I must confess, I really enjoyed it: the picturesque scenery, the whole vegetation, the colour and scent of the orange and lemon trees. I was there without a car, but the hostess gave me a ride from the train station to the house or vice versa. For a ride to the center, they will charge you €5. There is also a public bus to and from Piazza Tasso, yet it does not run very often nor in the late evening.
I had no problems with the location of the house: I went to Positano, Amalfi, Capri, Pompeii, Naples. I have stayed some time at Villa Pane and I have found the timetables for the train, ship or buses there, and I got some useful information from the proprietors.
You will get an Italian breakfast: biscotti, jam, coffee or tea and fruit juice, local fruit. I sometimes had a yoghurt, cornflakes, a homemade piece of cake, at Easter-time we all got delicious cakes every day. I was content with breakfast. Tell the hostess at what time you intend to show up!
I also had the opportunity to have two evening meals: some fried meat and vegetables, ravioli with tomato sauce, carciofi, etc., it was very good, the wine excellent and that all at a reasonable price.
I prefer the charms of a typical Italian house, outside of town, where you hear the birds or the barking dogs at night, to the sterile atmosphere of a hotel. Still, when not everything is perfect. I also met some nice people, we stayed on the balcony and we had hot discussions and some good wine. I appreciate the hospitality of Anna Maria and her family. You should like to communicate. Good luck!
Reviewed by: Jill Fennell from UK, review #1003
When: May 2005
Welcoming host. Great location. Fabulous views of bay from balconies. Rooms and bathrooms decorated to very high standard. Reasonably priced. We loved it.
We arrived in beautiful Sorrento without having pre-booked accommodation. On the advice of the very helpful guy at the Tourist Office, we chose Villa Pane. Its location in the hills above Sorrento required a shuttle service provided by its owner, Anna Maria and her friendly staff. Anna Maria turned up in minutes and we instantly liked her. She could not have been more friendly and helpful. As she is endeavouring to learn English (and doing extremely well), there were no communication problems.
The drive to the Villa is an experience and only for those used to driving abroad and, in particular, driving in Italy where there appear to be no rules whatsoever! It is on a very steep and narrow roadway but added to the general excitement of the holiday.
We were immediately very pleased with the location, especially after a rather tortuous stay in Naples. It was very peaceful and quiet and the Villa is attractively renovated to provide B&B accommodation above the family's own home. You are greeted by the family dog, Rocky, who is very friendly and likes a fuss. It is surrounded by a well tended garden.
Our room was decorated and furnished to a high standard and spotlessly clean. It had french windows leading on to a balcony with tables and chairs with the most fantastic view over Sorrento and the bay. A continental breakfast was served on the balcony on the other side of the building and due its open nature, it gave guests a chance to meet each other and chat (but this was not compulsory!). Again fantastic views.
All in all, we were delighted with Villa Pane and it truly helped to make our holiday and first experience of Italy a great pleasure. The charges were very reasonable and only a small cost of €5 a day was charged for the shuttle service - provided within minutes of a mobile 'phone call. We never had to wait.
Sorrento is an excellent location for trips to Pompeii, Herculaneum, Vesuvius, Amalfi, Capri. Public transport is amazingly cheap and reliable. What more could you want?
Reviewed by: kathy & tom from Germany, review #994
When: August 2004
Our most beautiful place in Italy. If you are looking for nature and relaxation in a familiar house in the mountains of Sorrento - this is your place to be!
B&B Villa Pane is a nice cool place in the hills over Sorrento. The family of Anna-Maria and Luigi received us so openhearted, like we would be their family too. Our first evening at Villa Pane was a surprise offer for a delicious dinner together with the family and friends. We've enjoyed delicious food like home made pizza and self grown vegetables and the lovely being with all people together within the evening-mood in the mountains of Sorrento.
Our room Genziana is a sweet bedroom with toilet and shower and a marvellous view over the bay of Sorrento with the close volcano Vesuvio. Equipped with double-bed, shower/bathroom, air-condition, sat-tv and not to forget, the wonderful sun-terrace, 5 meters beside our room. Within olive- and lemon-trees and the great panorama, with the warm feeling that everything fits together.
We paid a fair price of €60 per night for us happy two - and there was no other place in whole Italy where we've paid less than €120 - but also no other place so beautiful.
For everybody who's looking for relaxation in the nature and for open minded people with interest in the Italian culture ... Villa Pane is the right place to be!
Reviewed by: Kath Brock from UK, review #937
When: March 2005
Inconvenient location for touring. Neglectful hostess. Due to the misrepresentation on the website our stay in Sorrento was spoiled by selecting this B&B.
On a positive note this B&B was reasonably priced and clean - but the cons far outweigh the pros.
It was selected because it was 0.2Km from the Circumvesuviana. We wanted to stay in the centre of town and would be using the train for sightseeing. It was a 10 minute journey by car; taxis were too wide to complete the incredibly steep descent and therefore going to and fro from the villa was restricted. Due to this we ate at the villa one night and were charged restaurant prices (€30) for a poor quality meal.
During our 3 day stay we never managed to have one hot drink; both tea and coffee were cold on every occasion. Anna Marie apologised for neglecting us but was busy helping her sons to open a new shop and hadn't been expecting us - as we didn't reconfirm the confirmation!
On the one occasion we used the free shuttle service it took an hour to be collected instead of the 15 minutes promised when we rang.
When we questioned the location she said the website needed amending.
There were beautiful views from the open air terrace but none of the furniture had been cleaned so we were unable to sit out there. I would never have booked this villa had I known how inconvenient the location was.
Reviewed by: Rolf M from UK, review #748
Decent B&B 10 minutes from Sorrento center, with excellent views. Difficult driving to B&B. Overpriced dinners.
This B&B is in a remarkable setting, high above the bay of Sorrento, with a wonderful view from the balcony. Getting there is a bit tricky, though, as (a) it's outside the scope of any detailed maps of Sorrento, being about 10 minutes drive from the centre (and the map on the website is useless), and (b) it's at the top of an *incredibly* narrow and steep lane. When I say incredibly, I mean it -- I could not believe it was possible to get the car up the lane, and it almost wasn't. At one point the gap between houses is so narrow that we had less than 2 inches clearance each side, with wing mirrors folded in. Of course, the locals drive up and down as if it were a 6-lane freeway.
Guest rooms are on the top floor (2nd if you're British, 3rd if you're American). Our room was clean and nicely furnished, and at €70 per night in July was not expensive. There was an en-suite bathroom, and everything worked.
However, the walls were pretty thin, and noises from adjoining rooms travelled. Breakfast was OK, though not exciting -- they seemed to cater for people who enjoy airline food. The coffee was good, though. Our host, Anna Maria, was very charming, and made us feel welcome. Her English wasn't fluent, but good enough for misunderstandings to be few. Better than our Italian, anyway.
We had dinner "in" on two nights, and the food was very good. Gnocchi one time, fish the other. Another couple had told us that Anna Maria would cook if asked, and they praised her food, so we tried it. However, we all made the mistake of failing to ask how much she would charge, so we felt somewhat ripped-off to be hit for the same as you would pay in a decent restaurant in town.
To summarise: in favour, the location is great, if out of the way, and the rooms are clean, comfortable and fairly cheap; against, it can be a bit noisy, and you should definitely haggle over the price of dinner.
Also, they were a bit naughty as the photo on the website showed the building a rather nice peach colour, whereas in reality it was plain concrete and not terribly attractive. Another triumph for Photoshop!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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