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Review 451: Villa Terrazza, Il Golfo


Review by Joanneaj from MN

Apartments in Sorrento, Campania


November 23 - November 30, 2002, one week


Villa Terrazza – Il Golfo Apartment, Sorrento

We found the La Terrazza website, and we also found another website listing the villa’s apartments. Il Golfo is the largest of the four apartments rented by Andrea Azzariti, and we booked it for the last week of November. The independent website listed Il Golfo at around 2,900 euros for one week, I assume in high season. Andrea rented the apartment to us for 1,955. Included in the price was Luanna, a beautiful sunflower of a young woman who cleaned the apartment and brought sweet rolls, breads, juice and coffee for breakfast every day.

We arrived at Villa Terrazza at around 3:00, and was greeted by a tall green iron gate in front of a beautiful tree lined driveway. The gate was locked, so we buzzed for Il Golfo, with no response. Our driver had left, and we were standing there wondering what to do next when I saw a woman across the street in one of the ceramics shops. She was smiling at us, virtually inviting us to ask her for help. I walked across the street and asked her if she knew how to enter Villa Terrazza. She smiled and said that Andrea had gone to lunch, and she would call him for us. We decided to wait literally around the corner at the Spinnaker Bar. Within minutes after we had our drinks, Andrea arrived, smiling.

Andrea is the young and energetic great grandson of the German Baronnessa von Gunderrode, who, in the late 1880’s, built her holiday villa in Sorrento. He controls four of the apartments in the villa and the majority of the terrace, and is working to eventually own the entire villa property.

He unlocked the gate, and we walked down the long driveway amid plane trees and vegetation, and arrived on the terrace. The villa is gorgeous. Andrea had it painted yellow and blue, with stained glass windows carrying out the color scheme. The terrace is a large expanse perched on the old Roman walls on the cliffs above the marinas of Sorrento. It has a blue wrought iron railing, with blue and white tiles. There is a small swimming pool on the terrace. The view is spectacular. Straight down is an old staircase, partially through the cliffs, going down to the beach.

With your back to the villa, to the right is Sorrento. Directly right, across the deep chasm, is the Excelsior Vittoria, the only 5-star hotel in Sorrento. Straight out, and dominating the scene, is the magnificent Vesuvius. The presence of Vesuvius is extraordinary – although we had been told there is a “view” of the volcano, its presence is stunning and for us, set the tone for the entire holiday. Also across the gulf are Naples, Pompei and Hercolano. On the terrace, there are wrought iron benches, but also some old couches under large awnings where we spent many evenings watching the volcano as the sun was setting.

Directly into Il Golfo is the living room with very high ceilings and an old chandelier. This room is beautiful because of its interesting design and furnishings. Behind the rectangle living room is a walkway from the master bedroom to the dining room, with a very large open pass-through. A mural has been painted on the back wall of this pass-though. There is another mural on a side wall, and a marble status of the Baronessa stands on a round marble table in front of this second mural. The marble table is supported by carved lions, and we found the same lion design at the ruins of Pompeii and the National Archeological Museum in Naples. There are several antique pieces, and very comfortable living room furniture.

The master bedroom is a nice size, with an extremely comfortable but simple bed. There is an armoire and chest in the bedroom, and a nice bathroom with a tiny shower. On the other side of the apartment is the larger main bathroom, with a double vanity, and a bathtub with a flexible shower head.

The dining room is simple with a large family sized table. The kitchen has a refrigerator, microwave, and stove, but no oven. There are adequate dishes and utensils. The great thing about the kitchen is that it is enclosed on three sides with diamond-shaped blue and gold stained glass windows, alternating with clear glass. Vesuvius is prominent through the clear glass.

For our group, Andrea placed two single beds in the area between the dining room and main bathroom, closed off with tall curtains. Directly above this area was a loft accessed by ladder where there was another queen-size bed on the floor, also closed by curtains. Our kids said the beds were very comfortable, and they all loved the loft bed, of course.

Villa Terrazza is a lovely work in progress. At present, it is half a spectacular villa with antiques and murals, and half your lake home with some simple and comfortable furnishings. That’s is precisely why we liked it so well – we were in a beautiful place, but felt that we could relax and feel very much at home. I would venture to say that when Andrea is completely done with the villa, it will be more formal.

Andrea’s studio is under the marble staircase leading to the terrace. On most nights, his door was open, and his vocal teacher would be instructing either Andrea or another student. Many evenings, we would watch the sun set, while listening to Italian operatic singing across the terrace. Andrea is a very friendly and helpful man, is very open about is hopes to maintain the villa in its original form, and brought a terrific Italian presence to our stay in Sorrento. He did everything to make us welcome, and I must say that we and our children loved our time at the villa.

The villa is one block from shopping, bars, and restaurants, and right in the historical center of Sorrento. It is literally across the street from the tourist information center, and about five blocks from the Circumvesuviana station where you can catch trains and busses for Naples, Rome, Positano, Amalfi coast, Pompeii and Vesuvius. It is possibly one of the most convenient and satisfying accommodations we’re enjoyed.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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