Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2452: Summer In Italy, Villa Gioconda
4bed/4bath house near Agropoli, Campania
October 2006, 1 week
Located above Agropoli in the hills studded with olives and grapes, it is in the Costa del Cilento region overlooking the Gulf of Salerno. There is another house on one side and a pizzeria next door on the other side but we heard no noise from either. The drive is a bit windy but worth it for the views and the tranquility.
We could walk to the pizzeria next door (open only on weekends except in the high summer season) though it was a steep hill up to them. For everything else we had to drive to Agropoli, about 10 minutes away.
Luca Trotta described this as "a large house" but it is truly a villa. It is modern and huge with a curved, marble grand staircase and is truly a lovely home, well-equipped.
A sizable living room and separate dining room, a huge and functional kitchen with a fireplace, the four bedrooms and baths, and an enormous taverna downstairs with a table to seat about 20 people as well as a wood-burning pizza oven and full kitchen. This would be a great house for a family reunion or party. The views are fantastic. Our group consisted of Bryan and I, my 82 year old cousin and a 40-something cousin, so we occupied three of the four bedrooms. The bath on the main floor doesn't have a shower, but there is an additional full bath on the lower level adjacent to the taverna.
Perched on a hill above Agropoli, we spent a week at Villa Gioconda entranced by the views from the many terraces. Each morning our merry party woke and wandered to the front terrace with coffee where we woke slowly while looking at the Gulf of Salerno. Evenings we all again gathered together with glasses of wine to admire the sunset over the same Gulf. It was a calming spot and thoroughly pleasant. The property extends behind the house up the hillside and is walled. There are some fruit and olive trees behind and nothing obstructing the views out the front. The home is gated with a remote entry.
Newly furnished and readied, this villa sparkled and the furnishings were all tasteful and of a good quality; modern but beautifully done and very comfortable. Luca Trotta and his parents put a lot of detail into this house: good quality cookware and tableware in the kitchen; fluffy robes and high quality towels in all the bedrooms and baths as well as luxurious bedding. They provided us with a welcome basket of wine, olive oil, biscotti and other delectables, as well as a beautiful arrangement of fresh sweet basil. We felt very pampered. The house was spotless.
The bedrooms are ample sized with one gigantic "honeymoon suite" kind of bedroom that included a very large bath with enormous jet-tub and terrace overlooking the Gulf. (That bedroom seemed nearly as large as our entire apartment!) Another upstairs bedroom also had a terrace, and all three upstairs rooms boast in-suite baths. The downstairs room has a bathroom next to it, but without shower though there is an additional bath with shower on the lower level below. The beds were new and firm. All the bedrooms are nicely decorated. Baths are equipped with showers but with the aforementioned jet-tub and are decent-sized. They each come equipped with hair dryers, a nice touch.
The main kitchen is large and very well equipped with enough dishware for a party, nice quality cookware, all the necessary items for preparing gourmet meals. There is a five burner gas stove, which initially we had problems with, but Luca sent someone over to fix it right away. My cousin owned a restaurant and enjoyed cooking meals here for us to enjoy. There is an Italian coffee pot as well as American drip pot, tea kettle, and a microwave oven. We enjoyed gathering at the table while one of us cooked (cousin and I took turns), and the space was nice for this type of camaraderie. Very homey.
Downstairs is another large kitchen in the "party room", which includes a long counter and a pizza oven. The living space down there has a fireplace and benches and the longest table I've ever seen in a private home!
Problems or Bonuses
The surprise was how grand the place was! I'd initially inquired about another property which wasn't available. We were the first to rent this new house and Luca described it to me without photos being available yet. "Large house" didn't begin to describe it! We all completely enjoyed how relaxing this home was and felt like we didn't want to leave it. It really is tasteful and comfortable, and the views are great.
The one problem we noted is the lack of path lighting down the front stairs but I think they will be correcting that. Because it's big and well-lit inside there were a lot of switches to try to figure out which ones to use ("What does this one turn on?" "Beats me!") We had an issue keeping the stove burners lit, but Luca responded immediately and sent someone over to fix it.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Summer In Italy is very responsive and helpful. I'd originally inquired about Villa Trotta, which was booked and Luca offered other suggestions to fit our needs. He speaks perfect English. The reality of the place exceeded the description he provided. We so enjoyed it we all talked about returning next year!
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Absolutely! I want to stay here again myself! It is a peaceful spot but it does require a car to reach it and the road is narrow (unfortunately the lower part of the road just outside Agropoli is not the greatest maintained but there were signs of construction work to be undertaken). It is not a very long stretch of windy and narrow, however, like we've experienced with some other rentals and once we reached, the house the views were worth the drive!
Things to do in this area
There are horses belonging to a neighbor that we were told we’d be able to arrange for rides if we’d desired. Paestum is easily seen from here, the resort towns of Santa Maria di Castellabate and other areas of the Cilento Park are easily accessible in this region. Near Paestum are the many mozzarella di bufala producers where one can purchase the cheese as well as see it being made. The old section of Agropoli is charming for strolling and for dinner and there are many beaches nearby in summer. The Amalfi Coast can also be reached from here.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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