Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2904: Owner, Villa Letizia (#56309)
2bed/1bath apartment in Santa Maria di Castellabate, Campania
June 2007, One week
On the edge of Santa Maria di Castellabate in a small gated complex that includes apartments and a hotel. This is in a separate building at the top of the complex. You can walk right down to the beach through the complex - about 50 m - and get an umbrella with two sunbeds on the very well maintained private beach included.
We chose it because our children (7 and 11) are big beach babes, and after looking carefully about the Sorrento and Amalfi coasts we decided the beaches there would not meet their desires. The beaches are lovely here as is the scenery.
We walked along the beach in both directions to Santa Maria for shopping, gelato, coffee, restaurants (maybe 1/2 a mile) and to San Marco (a bit closer with similar although smaller set of services). Santa Maria we found easier because you come off the beach right into town and into the main shopping street. The road is quite busy so you wouldn't want to walk along the road.
There are three rental apartments on the upper floor of the building - the owner and his wife live downstairs. His brother runs the rest of the complex. I would think all three are very alike with one key difference (see below). Ours had two small bedrooms, a small bathroom and a kitchen - no living room or place to sit except kitchen table. Very simple tiled floors and white walls. Small TV on top of the fridge. Small selection of channels.
Lovely patio with big umbrella, table with chairs and two lounging type seats. Beautiful view through the tree tops to the sea. Occasionally we could see Capri on the horizon. We lived out here basically.
Very simple and basic. Very clean except - to be picky - inside corners of shower by the shower door. I presume the cleaner didn't see those when she cleaned the shower from the outside. Four chairs only in the house. Shutters on all the windows. We opened them all the time and had no problem with bugs.
Very minimal basic equipment in the kitchen. Oven and fridge. We did cook simple meals and just about had enough for that. No coffee making facilities at all. There was (and almost nothing else) a jar of instant cappuccino in the cupboard - it doesn't taste like anything else we've ever drunk but for lack of anything else we did drink that.
Problems or Bonuses
Surprises - we were disappointed when we arrived. The web page doesn't make clear that there are three apartments and the difference between them is in the view - all three have the same inside amenities I think and a big patio. Ours I'd say was the middle - the patio had this nice view and we lived out there, but the windows all looked out on a wall at the back. One of the other apartments has the same patio view and its windows look out on the front over the sea (this is what the website represents). The third has two windows on the front but the patio is at the back between the house and said brick wall. We would have been very disappointed to have that.
No tourist or local amenities information whatsoever in the apartment. The private beach aspect is great. The guys in charge clean and rake it every day.
The owner sent us good directions from Naples but didn't say the entrance to the complex is a locked gate - so we had some hassle when we got there to get through the gate and then locate which building was ours. That would have been hard without speaking some Italian. If you go, clarify about that. We did have his phone number but no phone so I guess if we'd had a phone we could have called him from the gate.
There is a small house up at road level between this villa and the road, but nevertheless there is road noise especially as our bedrooms were on that side.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Booked directly with the owner. He seemed to have native speaker fluency in English in the emails so we were quite surprised to find he didn't speak English at all! Must have someone doing email for him. But he was incredibly charming and friendly. In his 70s and retired there I presume, I think from Naples. My husband broke a window (the frame...) in a bizarre accident and all he was concerned about was how my husband was - didn't charge us at all for the breakage which astonished us.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes! We had a wonderful week. We paid €550 in June which is a great deal.
Despite the reservations above, we loved it and would definitely go back. I would say and have heard it's extremely busy with Italian families in July and August, but it was quiet in June.
Things to do in this area
Santa Maria is a great town. We loved it. Very Italian, a handful of English and almost no Americans. Very very family friendly. Probably not much night life if that's what you are wanting. Our kids absolutely loved it. The sea is perfect - blue and clear and shallow for a long way. We bought snorkeling equipment and snorkeled in the coves which was amazing. We rented pedalos from along the beach a couple of times and they had slides on - never had that before. It was a blast. Some of our favorite evenings were walking along the beach into town after supper and watching the local beach soccer tournament eating gelato.
The local produce was wonderful.
We had been sightseeing in Pompeii and Sorrento before we got here so we alternated beach days and sightseeing from here. We went to Paestum (amazing) and went south to the other beach towns (which made us think Santa Maria is the best both for its beach and facilities and its proximity to tourist sites to the north. One day we drove to Salerno and caught the metro del mare to Amalfi to see that and then took the bus up to Ravello. (The metro del mare stops at San Marco in July and August, but doesn't go past Salerno otherwise.)
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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