Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3727: Cilentano, Villa Claudia
2bed/2bath house near Scario, Campania
July 2008, 1 week
The home is located in a gated community in the hills about a mile from the center of Scario, a small town on the southern border of the Cilento National Park. Frankly, I found the gated community a bit creepy. There were a number of vacant lots (including on next to our rental) and some of the homes seemed to be abandoned. At night there was a surprising amount of noise from the other houses (many of whose owners keep loud, aggressive dogs) and from a large hotel in town, which had nightly outdoor "entertainment" complete with obnoxious disc jockey.
From where the home is located, it's probably too far to walk to town for coffee, groceries, restaurants, etc; it's at least a mile and the road is steep and narrow. Driving into Scario is not much of a problem, though, as parking is not too difficult and the drive is short. There was a reasonably nice, but small, grocery store in the town where we were able to buy all the basics.
The home appears to have been built in the 1970's. It was in reasonably good shape. The layout of the home is fine, but it is not particularly comfortable or inviting; the ambiance is more like a bomb-shelter than like someone's home. The two bedrooms are upstairs and both open up onto a shared patio, which was my favorite feature of the home. From the patio, one has spectacular views of the Gulf of Palinuro, all the way across to Maratea, and beyond. I also liked the downstairs front porch, which is nicely shaded and comfortable--that's where we usually had breakfast. It was warm at night when we were there, but not too hot to sleep. However, it would have been nice to have air conditioning; it would have enabled us to shut the windows and keep out the noise and the bugs.
You can view the property directly: Villa Claudia.
There is no pool. The home is located on a large lot (at least half an acre) but is was not well-maintained (overgrown by vegetation and not very well landscaped) so there really was little usable space. Our kids had difficulty finding a decent place to play.
The furniture was functional at best. There was plenty of seating, however. There was a TV that worked very poorly.
The beds were mediocre. The sheets and blankets were cheap, as were the mattresses. The upstairs bathroom was fine. The downstairs bathroom was small, but functional.
The kitchen was just OK. There was a dishwasher that was broken (see below) and, to make matters worse, there was no hot water available from the kitchen faucet. To do dishes, we had to bring in hot water in a bucket from the downstairs bathroom. The refrigerator was small and barely worked, mainly because it was designed and installed very poorly. Dishes, glasses and utensils were fine and the kitchen was spacious enough to prepare simple meals, which is all we did.
Problems or Bonuses
At one point, the water (hot and cold) stopped working completely. We called the local maintenance person and he was able to fix the problem -- at least temporarily -- but we were without water for about 18 hours. The next day, we lost water again. When the maintenance man arrived again, it was determined that turning on the dishwasher somehow caused all the water to shut off. (There was no sign in any language that we understood warning us about the dishwasher or telling us that it was broken. There were some notes posted around the kitchen but they were all in German.)
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The agency was fine. They are a German agency but they have no problem communicating in English. Communications with them were prompt and professional. The photos on the website accurately reflect the features of the house; it was just the overall feel of it that we did not care for. We paid €700 for the week. Despite the problems, I feel that was a fair price, especially for that time of year.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We would not stay in this house again, but we would definitely return to Scario and/or to the southern Cilento area, which we absolutely loved. The beaches, restaurants and people are wonderful and the area is very affordable. The reason my overall assessment of Villa Claudia is neutral, rather than outright negative is that we loved the surrounding area so much and because the upstairs and downstairs patio areas were so lovely. And, despite our issues with this house, I would rent from Cilentano again. They seem to be reliable and trustworthy and they do have a very deep inventory of rental properties in this part of Italy.
Finally, I have to report one thing that happened at the end of our stay that really stuck in my craw. There is no washing machine available in the house. This was a bit of a hardship for us, travelling with four people (including two children) but not the end of the world. However, as we were leaving we noticed the cleaning people taking all the sheets into a locked room underneath the front porch and putting them into a washing machine. So there was a washing machine on site, but the owner was just too cheap to allow us access to it.
Things to do in this area
Our main activity was just spending time at the beach. There are several wonderful ones in Maratea (about 40 minutes away), but our favorite was the beach at Marina Camerota, about 30 minutes north. Marina Camerota is also a lovely town in its own right with an abundance of good restaurants. We also enjoyed Sapri, a very pleasant town that is about a 15 minute drive south. Scario itself is an attractive town, but we did not spend as much time there as we would have liked, only because there were so many other great places to visit nearby. Overall, we felt a week was not nearly enough time to explore all that this area has to offer.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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