Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 252: Summer in Italy, Villa Trotta
4bed/2bath house near Perdifumo, Campania
May 11-18, 2002, one week
The approach to Villa Trotta is a typical countryside drive through hilly terrain -- winding roads (use your horn on the curves!) and magnificent views that get better and better as you climb. To get to the villa you need to drive either through or around the pretty little village of Perdifumo, then further on for just over 1 km until you see the house.
The location couldn't be more beautiful -- the villa is perched at the top of a hill, with olive trees (belonging to the Trotta family) cascading down the slope below. In the side garden, there are cherry trees and rosemary bushes, as well as a narrow path down to the well-stocked woodshed just below the terrace.
From the huge, beautiful terrace, the view extends across the rolling hills to the sea beyond and even the Amalfi Coast in the distance, just around the curve of the bay. On a really clear day, you can just see the outlines of Capri.
Villa Trotta is more than peaceful -- very little traffic passes by, and for most of the day, the only sound is birdsong, plus the occasional crowing rooster or ringing church bell. At night, the silence is complete except for the chirping of the crickets in the olive grove.
During our week at Villa Trotta, we enjoyed having an early cup of coffee on the terrace every morning, listening to the cuckoos and songbirds, and watching the morning light spread across the hills. At night, we stepped outside to watch the stars -- with no city lights intruding, star-gazing is a very different experience than it is in an urban area!
As far as we are concerned, Villa Trotta is perfectly located for a relaxing holiday. We couldn't have asked for anything more.
The little village of Perdifumo is only about a kilometer away from Villa Trotta -- there's an alimentari there, and I believe a macelleria, as well as a couple of cafes, but we actually did our shopping down the hill in Agropoli, where there was more selection.
We noticed signs to a number of restaurants along the drive from Agropoli up to Perdifumo -- we were told that the restaurant at the Hotel Eucalipto and ristorante "da Pasquale" were both good choices, but we never managed to eat at either one.
We cooked most of our dinners during our time at Villa Trotta (and ate lunch out wherever we happened to be on our day trips), though we did go into Agropoli for dinner one evening, and ate at an excellent and very affordable pizzeria called "Barbanero" (Blackbeard), just up the hill in the medieval core of the city.
Villa Trotta is roughly a hundred years old -- it was built by the great-grandfather of Luca Trotta, my contact at the "Summer in Italy" agency. The villa is built from local stone, and is quite an imposing and beautiful building. Entry from the road is actually to the upstairs of the house -- the bedroom level -- into a foyer with a high ceiling. From the entryway, you can head downstairs to the living room/kitchen level, or through the doors at the end of the hall to reach the four bedrooms and upstairs bathroom (with laundry area).
Villa Trotta is in beautiful condition -- it is the holiday home of the Trotta family, who own the Summer in Italy agency, and it has clearly been well-loved and cared for.
The terrace at Villa Trotta runs the length of the house; tiled in terracotta and decorated with containers full of roses and other flowering plants, it is a charming place to spend a lazy afternoon watching the tiny turquoise lizards that bask in the sun along the wooden railings. (These lizards occasionally pop inside the house at night, by the way, but they're not at all scary -- it's just part of living in the countryside! After a while, I came to think of them as tiny guardians, waiting patiently on the ceiling to protect us from any small insects that might dare to venture in!)
The terrace extends down a few stairs on one side, to the outdoor kitchen -- wood-burning pizza oven and an outside sink -- while we didn't use these facilities during the week we were there (in part because I was feeling far too lazy to make pizza dough from scratch), I'm definitely planning to have outdoor "pizza parties" on our next visit!
The other end of the terrace extends around the house towards the kitchen door and the rest of the garden, where the aforementioned fruit trees and herbs are located, along with many other well-tended flowers and a grapevine pergola just outside the kitchen door.
There's also an upstairs terrace AND a roof terrace, of course.
Villa Trotta is filled with comfortable furniture, all of it in good shape, including some nice antique pieces. The whole house gives the impression of a clean, comfortable home rather than an untouchable show-place.
The beds, many of which have beautiful wood or iron headboards, are comfortable -- all the bedrooms are charming. One room opens onto a small "Juliet balcony," and another opens onto a walk-out terrace that is also accessible via the bathroom.
Both bathrooms have toilet, bidet, sink, and shower -- there's also a small front-loading washing machine in the large upstairs bathroom. Everything was clean and in good working order!
The kitchen may be my favorite part of Villa Trotta -- not counting the terrace, of course! There were lots of dishes, pots, pans and utensils. There were four gas burners to cook on, a microwave and a wall oven (neither of which we bothered to use while we were there), and a fridge, closeted in a small pantry area behind doors in one corner of the kitchen. We cooked a number of full meals there, all of which worked out very well (if I do say so myself...)!
The absolute best part of cooking in this kitchen, though, was being able to pop outside the kitchen door for a branch of fresh rosemary or a few leaves of mint -- or even a few cherries, which were JUST starting to ripen when we were there in mid-May.
Problems or Bonuses
Our Villa Trotta experience has taught us a completely new rule of life -- sometimes, things that seem too good to be true can actually be BETTER! When I received an email on Christmas Eve telling me that I had won a week at Villa Trotta through the Summer in Italy contest I had entered months before, that was the biggest surprise of all -- followed by a big question mark -- can this possibly be FOR REAL? But it most definitely WAS for real, and I can't imagine winning anything more perfect. In spite of the fact that I visited Villa Trotta as a contest winner rather than a paying guest, I would definitely pay to stay there again! The only (very small!) negative that I can think of about the entire experience is that the fireplace in the living room tends to be just a bit smoky -- but that somehow added to the whole ambiance of the house, in our opinion!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
I have the absolute highest praise for Luca Trotta and his family (Summer in Italy is a family-run business). Luca himself is utterly charming, and speaks excellent English -- his fiancee and parents are all equally charming, but they speak less English -- still, we managed to get by with my little bit of Italian, plus a bit of French and lots of translation help from Luca!
As he had promised, Luca (and his lovely fiancee, Mara) met us at the train station when we arrived in Salerno. They took us for a walk along the seafront (where we found some excellent gelato!), showed us to the Avis office where our AutoEurope car was waiting for us, then led us to Villa Trotta in Perdifumo, which is just over an hour's drive to the south of Salerno.
Along the way, we detoured to a supermarket, where Luca and Mara patiently helped us figure out what we would need to bring with us to the Villa -- they even ended up taking our groceries in their vehicle, since ours was full of suitcases!
Luca is a gold-mine of information about Southern Italy -- he answered all my questions, before and during our trip, both thoroughly and honestly. He also has a great sense of humor! He clearly loves this beautiful area of Italy--he is also deeply committed to his growing vacation rental business, and providing excellent customer service is clearly his top priority.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Absolutely. Without hesitation. I would recommend this place to anyone who likes the idea of being in the countryside, but within easy reach (about 20-25 minutes drive) of a more built up area. Agropoli is a small city, but it has banks, shops, restaurants and other tourist services. We were always happy to take our drive back up into the hills at the end of the day, truly "getting away from it all" to such a beautiful location.
As I mentioned earlier in this review, we WILL be back -- I love this place, and Luca Trotta, the Summer In Italy representative, was wonderful to deal with. Winning this contest was a dream come true.
Things to do in this area
Agropoli: There's a lovely walk along the waterfront in Agropoli, and a beautiful, gentle climb through the medieval core of the city up to the old castle. We had a very enjoyable evening out at the pizzeria "Barbanero" -- good pizza and great appetizers!
Acciaroli: This little beach town is about a half hour's drive to the south of Agropoli, along an easy coast road. The beach is gorgeous -- again, you can stroll along the waterfront, visit the marina, or just lie on the beach!
When we were there in May, there were just ten people on the beach -- we were four of them -- and the water was warm enough for us to venture in. As we stood in the shallow water, tiny fish swam around our feet -- the water was crystal clear, and exactly the shade of blue that seems so unrealistically perfect in photographs of the area!
In Acciaroli, we had a beautiful lunch at Ristorante Luna Rossa -- just across the road from the waterfront walkway. Actually, the restaurant's sign said "Il Delfino," but the business card they gave us said "Luna Rossa" -- look for either possibility! No menu, just a short list of all the wonderful fish dishes that were being prepared, apparently from whatever had been caught that day!
Paestum: Just a few km north of Agropoli on the superstrada. FASCINATING place, perhaps even more interesting than Pompeii, and definitely fewer tourists! The Greek temples are stunning, the parking is free, and there's a beautiful place to have lunch just outside the excavation area: Ristorante Nettuno. Not cheap, but very nice, and they have a lovely glassed-in outdoor terrace. There's also a children's playground just outside the restaurant.
Palinuro: I didn't time this drive, but I think it took us about an hour and a half from Agropoli -- don't quote me on that! We stopped along the way for gelato, of course. Lovely drive, and Palinuro is a very pretty little town, with a famous grotto that we didn't see, unfortunately. There's a really nice pasticceria/bar just as you come into town, but I can't remember now what it was called! Very nice array of pastries, and friendly service.
It's also possible to do day-trips to Salerno (about an hour north of Agropoli), Pompeii, and even the Amalfi Coast--but the Amalfi drive is no fun at all, and the whole area is crammed with tourists. Next time, we'll skip the Amalfi drive and just stay in our own area! Naples would be a bit of a stretch for a day trip, but not impossible.
Most of all, we enjoyed Paestum, Acciaroli and Agropoli. There's lots more to do in the Cilento area -- we barely scratched the surface! Next time, definitely.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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