Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 856: Summer in Italy, Villa Il Poggio
villa sleeps 10+ in Massa Lubrense, Campania
May, 2004, one week
We really enjoyed the location as it is quiet and away from the tourist frenzy, but if you are into nightlife it is not the place for you. The property is situated about a half mile outside of Marciano, a very small village. The house is on a VERY narrow road with room for only one car. However, the driveway adequately accommodated the four cars our party had rented, including two four door sedans. The house is on quite a large property, so we felt like we had a lot of privacy. The nearest neighbor canít really be seen from the patio, as there is a lemon grove in between, though his rooster is quite a lovely morning companion.
The bus stop is at the bottom of the hill about Ĺ mile away, so I suppose you could try it with public transport, but I would highly recommend a car. The drive to Sorrento for boat/train transport and the supermarket (as opposed to the smaller stores in Massa) was about 15-20 minutes. We never found the grocery that the web site stated was in Marciano, so we went to Massa Lubrense about 3 miles away for quick groceries and to Sorrento for our big shopping. Note that there is no public telephone in Marciano to call the owner from when you arrive. You will need to telephone from Massa or Termini and have them meet you.
The villa is divided into the main house and a smaller two bedroom apartment downstairs. At the time we booked, it was being rented as one big unit sleeping up to 14, I believe it has since been changed to a billing as one unit that sleeps 10 and another for 4. Somewhat unique I gather among Amalfi villas, there are only a few stairs (3 or 4) up to the villa. The website advertises air conditioning and there were units in every room I looked at, but as the weather was wonderful we never tried it out. The house is comfortable and modern, doesn't seem to be very old at all.
We spent almost all of our non-sleeping time outside on the beautiful patio or series of terraces that go down through the lemon grove. The pictures on the website do not do justice to the view of the sea or to the beauty of the setting. While the property is a good mile or so from the sea, it is located on a hillside, so the view from the terrace is absolutely incredible! Of course, most views on the Amalfi coast seem to be.
The owners have a small lemon grove on the property and olive trees scattered about. There is nice outdoor furniture, including chairs and two picnic tables. The advertised pizza oven is present and even has paddles, but we never found a way to acquire fire wood to use it (though granted we didn't try too hard).
Imagine making a great antipasti and eating it under the stars with local wine, watching the fireflies hover in the olive trees - I want to go back already!
The furniture was nice and functional, not fancy. The living room had a small wicker couch and chair (not enough to seat all of us), a normal sized dining table that seats 6-8, and a breakfast table that seats four.
The house was very clean when we arrived, and the cleaning lady had actually showed up right as we were leaving, so they cleaned promptly upon our departure.
In the main house there are four double bedrooms with private bath, and one twin. The twin room is nice enough, but only has a half bath in the hallway, so the occupants have to impose on another room for showers and must go out in the hallway to use the facilities. This would be fine if you were putting children in there, but for adults beware that some awkward timing issues can result.
Two of the doubles and the twin are up a short flight of stairs, the others come off of the living room area. The house is not fancy, but is comfortable and the beds all seemed to be reasonably comfy as well (I didnít hear anyone complaining). The room we were in had a built in dresser/closet unit that was more than adequate and bedside lamps.
The bathrooms all had modern fixtures and with a party of 13 we NEVER ran out of hot water. The towels supplied were standard Italy issue.
The kitchen was great Ė a full sized refrigerator freezer plus another smaller fridge, a very new oven and dishwasher, and generous granite countertops. The cooking equipment was perfect, we found everything we needed for pasta, veal roasts, etc., except for the knives, which really needed help. The stove-top is somewhat more dated, but worked well enough, once we all mastered the match-lighting thing. The washing machine is brand new as well, and located right off of the kitchen (a drying line is hiding behind a screen out behind one of the patios close by).
Problems or Bonuses
I was actually pleasantly surprised with the setting and the property. As we had never rented a home in Europe, I didn't know what to expect. The house is very modern and the location couldn't be better if you like peace and quiet.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
As Summer in Italy as already received lots of positive comments, I won't repeat previous remarks. My emails were returned promptly and they were very helpful.
We were met at the property by a friend of the owner's family that spoke enough Engligh to get by. We used a little pointing, but it wasn't a problem.
The prices vary considerably by season, and are available on the website.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Absolutely! My only comment is as above -- this is a rural property ten minutes by car from much of anything. For us, it was perfect!
I would say that I would not rent the bottom smaller unit without the upper one. The downstairs unit has one double w/ bath and one twin with bath, but only one of the twin beds is sleepable, the other is more of a cot. The kitchenette down there looked ok, we didn't use it, but the unit is a little dark.
As additional sleeping space for a big party in the whole house, it was fine, but as a separate unit I wouldn't go there.
Things to do in this area
What isn't there to do in the area? We did all of the obvious Amalfi sights, Pompei, Herculaneum, Amalfi, Capri, and our big blowout meal was at Don Alfonso 1890 just up the road in Sant Agata. Very pricey but wonderful. We got great fruits and veggies, as well as some good inexpensive locally made wine, at the fruiteria on the square on Massa Lubrense. If she is there, the dried fruit stand there has some very interesting and tasty offerings as well.
Though touisty, we enjoyed the food at the Aurora Pizzeria on the square in Sorrento. They were very nice to us and the gnocchi was wonderful!
For those who are intimidated by the array of meats and cheeses in the typical Italian store, please try the Scamorza. Its a wonderful smoked cheese that is great with everything we tried.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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