Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2627: Cilentano, Casa Sonia
2bed/1bath apartment in Pisciotta, Campania
September 2006, One week
Pisciotta is a delightful little medieval hilltop town, right by the coast. The oldest part of the town, on top of the hill, has no roads but is just a maze of tiny alleyways and steps and is fascinating to explore. There is just one road that runs through the town, just below the oldest section, and this is where the shops are -- not more than twenty of them at most. It is a narrow road and the traffic at times is chaotic.
Our apartment - Casa Sonia - was located just off this main street, up two flights of steps. There was no parking outside. We had a rental car, and we had to park it in a (free) public car park several hundred metres down the street. This was not a problem for us though, as we always managed to find a spot.
The grocery store was almost next door and there were several coffee shops and a nice bakery in or near the piazza, just a hundred yards or so away. The two best restaurants were up in the old section of town, which was just up from the piazza. One of them - the Tre Gufi (Three Tawny Owls) has the most marvellous terrace with a sweeping view of the sea. Good food, too.
The apartment was in what appears to be a fairly modern building and there was another apartment below it. It felt private, though, and very peaceful, despite being above the road.
We were really impressed with the place. It was huge, spacious and really gracious. Parquet floors throughout and lots of windows. Both the dining area and the main bedroom had sliding glass doors out on to the terrace.
You can view the apartment directly: Casa Sonia.
We loved the terrace. It was absolutely huge. From there, we had a wonderful view across to the old town and beyond it to the ocean. We ate all our meals outside on the terrace as it was completely private. There was a pergola, with some screening material over it for shade, but the fabric was torn in several places. (It was right at the end of the season, so I expect the owners replaced it once the season finished).
The owner of the apartment used to live in it herself. Now she runs a very attractive 'agriturismo' on the edge of town which is actually a converted mill. (We had to go there to collect the key). She obviously has excellent taste as some of the furniture and fittings in the apartment were somewhat out of the ordinary, e.g., art nouveau lamps and a bed made from reclaimed wood.
The whole place was spotlessly clean. There were two sofas, a dining table and chairs plus an outdoor table and chairs. We had everything we needed.
The main bedroom was large and the bed was very comfortable. We didn't use the other bedroom but it looked nice.
The bathroom was clean, well equipped. Bath, shower cabinet, toilet bidet, vanity basin, lots of fluffy towels ... it felt like a four-star hotel.
The kitchen was part of the dining-room and was very well equipped. We ate almost all our meals at home and found the kitchen ideal for our needs.
Problems or Bonuses
Everything about Casa Sonia not only lived up to our expectations, it exceeded them. We loved it.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We booked online and paid by bank transfer, as we live in England and the agency was in Germany. We had no other contact with the agency. The rate was €375 Euros per week. There was also a key deposit, which we paid to the owners and got back when we left.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would definitely recommend Casa Sonia. In fact we liked it so much that we have already booked to stay there again in September 2007.
Things to do in this area
We did a lot of walking. There are some nice walks in the hills behind the town. The beach is 1 kilometer away down a steep path (good exercise coming back!) Nice beach. Good swimming. There's a little marina there and a few shops and cafes.
We explored the Cilento by car. It is a beautiful area. We also drove down the coast as far as Sapri. Took a boat trip around Cape Palinuro, which has its own Blue Grotto - fascinating.
There is not much foreign tourism in this area, so don't expect anyone to speak English (though the manager of the grocery store does). I speak enough Italian to get by, so this wasn't a problem for us. (Incidentally, there is a language school in Pisciotta, Pisciotta Lingua so it would be a perfect destination for someone who wanted to spend a week or two improving his or her Italian). We found the locals very friendly.
Thursday was market day and the little piazza filled up with stalls. The whole place had a very jolly atmosphere.
Pisciotta feels like a very 'real' place and not touristy at all. I would certainly recommend staying here in preference to one of the more 'resort-like' places further down the coast.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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