Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 571: Tuscany Now, La Tartaruga
villa, sleeps 10, in Maiori on the Amalfi coast, Campania
April 26 - May3, 2003, 1 week
If there is a more beautiful Villa in a more beautiful setting anywhere on the Amalfi Coast, I want to see it! The villa was built cascading down a cliff overlooking the mediterranean. It is located 1km from Maiori and 5km from Amalfi. It is very private with a long drive and two locked gates. There are no other Villas close! It could not have been more peaceful. The only exception to that was during the day you could hear some traffic and honking noise. We actually got used to the honking. You didn't hear any of it at night because the cars could see each other coming with their lights on.
You really needed a car to stay here. You could walk to a bus stop but it would be very dangerous! We would go daily to the village of Maiori and get coffee at Gino's and grocery's next door. Gino is a delightful man who will even sing Opera for you if you're nice! It is located directly on the left as you come into town. The town has everything you would need in the way of food and supplies.
Note: Driving on the Amalfi Coast is not for the faint of heart!!! Our children rented motor scooters for the week which frankly was better than a car for getting around and parking!
There is plenty of parking at the Villa.
I have no idea how old the house was but it has the feeling of an old established Villa. There was no expense spared in design or materials when building this place! The tile work is stunning! Everything was in pristine shape and kept so by the charming housekeeper, Pina and her gardener husband Alfonso!
This is my favorite part!! There were so many terraces, each with it's own dining area that we never even sat on them all! Each one had a spectacular view of the sea!! It also had flowers and gardens everywhere!! There were two lemon groves on the extensive property that we would go pick from everyday and make the sweetest lemonade I have ever had!
There is a pool and a hot tub with plenty of pool chairs for everyone. There is also a changing room and bathroom by the pool. There were cleared trails for hiking that went up behind the villa to the top of the mountain that I didn't brave ... but my kids did and loved it!
There was even a terrace/dance floor on top of the villa that we would dance under the stars overlooking the beautiful water. All our adult children brought muscial instruments so we had are own entertainment! You could have a small wedding up there for 50 people!
The furiture was very nice and comfortable except the beds were a little hard for my liking! It had a very large dining room that could easily seat 12-15. We ate most of our meals on the terrace directly off the kitchen.
The only thing that is a little strange is the living room is quite separate from the rest of the house so we never really used it. We lived outside where we could smell the blooming whisteria and enjoy the best view we have ever seen! We had perfect weather so why would we be inside?? I did wonder where we would have "hung out" if it had been raining. The living room had plenty of seating and a satelite TV, but like I said it was rather out of the way. There were plenty of chairs and places to sit on the terrace.
This place is listed as a five bedroom sleeps 10, but it is a six bedroom sleeps 12! This was really frustrating to us because we had an unexpected friend of my daughters with us for a couple of days and we had to put her in Maiori even though we had an empty bed because we had signed a contract that said we would not have more than 10 people! I think the bottom bedroom had been another living room and had recently been converted into a bedroom. The rental agency needs to change their listing to state that.
The bedrooms were all very nice, each with it's own bathroom. The two in the "Annex' were smaller but adequate. One had a king and the other had two twins. They each also had bathrooms but shared a shower. This worked perfectly for us because we put the kids out there!
The kitchen was small but very well equipped! We loved cooking in it!! It had plenty of dishes to both cook and serve on.
Problems or Bonuses
The only surprise is how very much better it was than the pictures showed! It far exceeded all or expectations!! The first night we had hired (through the agency) the housekeeper to cook and serve a meal for us. We knew we would be tired from traveling. What a wonderful treat that turned out to be!!!! Pina and her sweet husband made a meal that went on until after midnight!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
At first I was a little wary to use this agency because there was not much on them on Slow Travelers. Once I got their very informative and beautiful catalog I changed my mind! They were very professional and easy to deal with. The online booking and paying made the whole transaction very simple. The caretaker we met to get into the property spoke a little English, but the housekeeper did not speak any! We got by because my daughter and her boyfriend both speak some Italian.
The only thing I wish the agency would have provided would have been a notebook with restaurant recommendations and phone numbers along with some tourist information on the area. That would have been so helpful! This Agency is located in England which is why they probably don't have that extra touch. I would have used "Summer in Italy" because they are local and so helpful but they did not have a Villa large enough for our group.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would recommend this Villa to everyone who has ever dreamed of staying in a Villa on the cost of Italy! It could not be more perfect! We are already trying to plan a time to go back! The only qualification I would add is if steps are a problem then you may want to choose another Villa or sleep in the Annex building. The main bedrooms in the house are all on different levels with lots of steps. It makes it nice for privacy ... but could be rough if you were not used to stairs.
Things to do in this area
The Villa was so nice and relaxing we almost had to force ourselves to go see the sites! We rotated exploring villages and spending days at the Villa lounging by the pool. I loved all the towns but probably Positano the best. The gardens of Ravello are a "must see" too!
Our favorite day was when we rented a a boat in Amalfi, packed a picnic and drove ourselves to the Isle of Capri! Forget taking the crowded tourist boat! This could not have been more relaxing or breathtakingly beautiful! It also allowed us to see so much more of the Island than most would ever have the opportunity to see. I loved taking the chair lift to the top of the mountain in Anacapri. What a view!!!!
There is a restaurant that is in a castle hanging over the sea about 2-3 kms on the left from the Villa that has the most amazing views and wonderful Pizza! Sorry I can't remember the name but you can't miss it!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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