Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1162: Rentvillas, Villa Sole
3 bed/3 bath villa on the Sorrento penninsula, Campania
October, 2004, one week
Property is the lower floor of a two unit dwelling. The owners live in the upper. Three other double units share the property. Villa Sole is the end unit and is very private. A large courtyard/patio area is surrounded by bouganvillia and many other flowering plants. From the patio there was a partial view of Capri and across a small valley the ruins of the old tower in the village of Annunziata. An upper patio offered a view clear to the bay of Naples. A picturesque fishing village was directly (far) below. The unit was very quiet; we rarely heard other people.
The village of Santa Maria was less than 1/4 mile away and had a small store. In the other direction, and about the same distance, was Annunziata with a nice restaurant, La Torre, and a small park with a drop-dead gorgeous view on Capri. Aside from these two options, a car is essential for everything else. The main town of Massa Lubrense was the closest real shopping option, about 5 km away, although, even there the grocery was quite small. Massa Lubrense has several restaurants and there are also small restaurants scattered around the other villages closer to the villa. Sorrento is a 15 minute drive and offers everything.
The building is less than 40 years old and was literally dynamited from the rock. A partial rock wall remains exposed in the living room. This does create somewhat the feeling of a cave and dehumidifiers are necessary. Some in the party found these rather noisy and they ran all the time. Villa Sole is actually two adjacent units, the larger being a full 2bed/2bath apartment and next door a single bedroom with it's own bath and separate entrance. This worked well for our party of two couples.
The patio area was one of the nicest parts of the property, very large and private. A large stone table with seating for at least six, plus a sweeping, built in concrete bench with cushions, and then patio furniture (chaises and chairs for six more) made for plenty of outdoor space. The property has no pool. There was a small herb garden with basil, rosemary, etc.
The place was very clean. Included in the price was a maid twice during the week which was a nice bonus. The furniture was good although the mattresses were a little firm and lumpy. I thought the pillows were too hard. There was enough seating in the living/dining room for the four of us but we were rarely inside. If the weather had not permitted us to use the patio so much, I think we would have found inside claustrophic.
Beds already noted above. It was nice having the separate bedroom suite for privacy. The bathrooms were large and the fixtures were nice. One bath in the main unit had a handheld shower unit attached to the wall and a drain in the floor but no actual stall. We read in previous reviews that some others hadn't liked this but the member of our group who used this shower (a tall man who sometimes finds the Italian showers too tight) thought it was fine. The bath towels provided were exceptionally large (huge) and nice, however, we each had only one for the week. The washing machine was in a small service building off the patio and we had full use of it.
The kitchen was the weakest part of the place for me. The stovetop was difficult to light and only a couple of the burners were reliable. There were enough plates and utensils and enough pans to get by with but only for quite basic needs. Not much counter space in the kitchen either. Unlike previous places there were absolutely no supplies. Salt and pepper, but no soap for the sink or dishwasher, etc. We didn't cook as much here as we might have if the kitchen was more serviceable and/or if good shopping had been more convenient.
Problems or Bonuses
Electricity was included in the price. We paid a 60E cleaning fee but no other extras. (A particular bonus was the kitten from upstairs who adopted us. His name was Rompy and he was an absolute delight!!)
Agency and Representatives (and price)
This was our first use of Rentvillas. Having used only Parker (with good results), we were a little leary at first. Prices seemed cheaper than with Parker and we weren't sure if the place would measure up. Our local contact was with the keyholder for the property. She was delightful and spoke native English. The property owners did not speak English, but we had no need to ask them for anything during our stay. They were very pleasant when we saw them but generally kept to themselves. We felt that the place was as described and, for the price, a good value.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
As with anyplace we go, we had a wonderful time here. The setting was beautiful and it gave us a great feel for one little corner of the peninsula. The location is a little remote and the kitchen disappointing enough that we would probably not return. We go someplace new each time, anyway; if we had a compelling reason to be back near Massa Lubrense this is a serviceable rental.
Things to do in this area
For hikers, there are many trails all through the area. The countryside was covered with small lemon and olive groves. The restaurant, La Torre, in Annunziata was worth the visit. We particularly enjoyed Il Tritone in Massa Lubrense; it was our kind of place: small, clean, inexpensive and the food was very fresh.
We spent a couple days exploring Sorrento and did a day trip to Capri. Traffic can be very bad, however, so this is not a good base to use if exploring sites off the peninsula like Pompei or Paestum.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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