Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 619: Summer In Italy, Villa Michela
4bed/2bath house in Meta di Sorrento, Campania
May 24-31, 2003, 1 week
This is a house built into a cave in the cliff overlooking the Bay of Naples in Meta di Sorrento, a village that is only 4 km - 2 stops on the Circumvesuviano - from Sorrento but is not full of tourists. The front of the house is on the stairs that go down the cliff face from the village to the sea, so if you are in the front bedrooms there is sometimes noise from teenagers in the night, but the rear bedrooms (which we did not use) are almost secluded.
The entire village is small enough to walk around, and the owner of the house gave us some recommendations about supermarkets, meat and vegetable shops. We did not rent a car, relying on public transportation and walking. There is a small hotel with restaurant at the bottom of the steps, and we ate there twice. We also did a lot of carryout.
This is an extremely interesting place. It is literally in a cave. The best way to describe the design is to say that the cave is the piazza and there are 2 apartments opening onto it, a downstairs and an upstairs. Upstairs are 2 very private double bedrooms, one bathroom with tub and shower wand, a kitchen, a dining room/living room with double bed (this is one long room with a sofa serving as a divider, but someone sleeping in this bed doesn't get much privacy), and a small terrace overlooking the stairs and the bay. Downstairs is a double bedroom, a bath with shower, a full living room with sofa, TV, and chairs, a formal dining area, and a "party kitchen".
The terrace has a sofa, and we spent a fair amount of time there. If you go down the steps, you come to a very nice sandy beach. There is a public beach and three private beaches (meaning you pay a few euro to get in).
Plenty of furniture, I would describe as 1930's/40's style, but quite comfortable. Cleanliness is an issue - you are literally living in a cave, and we kept the front open for the breezes, so there is some dirt blowing in from the sea and sifting down from the cave walls and ceiling. You need to sweep thoroughly every day, or you will track it around.
We didn't use the back bedrooms (there were only 3 of us), but we found the beds quite comfortable. The bathrooms are modern and everything works well.
The kitchen does not have an oven, but it was very well-equipped. There were plenty of dishes and glasses. We mostly cooked vegetables to supplement carryout dishes.
Problems or Bonuses
We were SO LUCKY to have picked this place instead of going into Sorrento proper! Most of the people we met are Italian and speak little English, which was sometimes a struggle for us as through extreme effort we had learned about 12 words of Italian, but we were looking for a quiet vacation with a view and a beach, and this definitely fit the bill.
This is NOT a tourist village - there is no ATM in town, you have to go to the next village or to Sorrento if you need one.
Meta di Sorrento calls itself "the city of Sunday" and that is because on Sunday, all the Italian teenagers - I am guessing from Naples - show up for their day at the beach. This is kind of fun, but we were relieved when the didn't come back on Monday.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Summer in Italy was very helpful, and sent a packet with detailed instructions on how to reach the spot, a detailed map, and other useful information. The owner lives in the house next door, so we saw only them, and didn't actually meet a representative from Summer in Italy. However, when I needed help with translation (the washing machine needed servicing), I called Luca, explained the problem, and he called the owner and got everything resolved.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We liked this place VERY much. My son, who is 23, pronounced that he could see living here when he's old and retired - say, 45. (No, we didn't push him off the cliff for that!)
You need to go up and down steps a lot here - I think it's 50 meters up to the village, and 50 meters down to the sea. Not for the weak of leg!
Living in a cave has some implications, as when it is damp outside, it is damp inside, too; as mentioned above, there is some dirt every day from the very soft rock; and although the back bedrooms would be very quiet, they might also seem close. We opted for living in the front rooms. My son has asthma, but did not have any problems.
The house is VERY spacious, so I would expect that a large group would find this very comfortable.
Things to do in this area
Swimming, relaxing. Sorrento is about 1/2 hour away by public transportation, and you can be on Capri in less than 2 hours.
You will definitely want your binoculars so you can study Sorrento from the terrace.
ABSOLUTELY take a sunny day to go to Capri, rent a boat and take it around the island (2 hours), then take the funicular up to Capri Center, the bus to Anacapri, and the chair lift to the top of the island. This is a TERRIFIC day!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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