by Jean Drewes, Villa Specialist
The sights, the scents, the food of Italy. It is one of the most alluring places, and I can’t wait to tell you about my springtime trip to the Amalfi Coast with two of my colleagues, where our first stop was the magical Positano.
We arrived in Rome and packed the car, onward towards the bay of Naples with the magnificent Mount Vesuvius in sight. Even in early evening, the volcano is so daunting. You know it’s going to blow, but pray not while I’m driving by, please! After many winding turns we faced the beautiful coast of Positano.
View of the city of Positano, with fishing boats on the beach.
Hotel Covo Del Saraceni was our home for the next few nights, and what a view we had from our rooms—just breathtaking. I loved everything about this place, and the staff was so friendly and helpful that we made many friends there. We would be delighted to arrange hotel stays for our clients if they would like to stay a few days somewhere before heading to a villa.
After a good night’s sleep and a full breakfast the next morning, we headed off to the dock for our boat ride to Villa Torre di Positano (BRV POS). It was a beautiful, sunny day with calm waters and we arrived at the dock just below the villa where we were met by our guide. What a place this was—an eight bedroom, eight bathroom villa with a tower overlooking the ocean below. My fellow Villa Specialist, Bill, was our historian, dutifully taking notes on the history of this unique place, and the lovely Suzanne was the photographer on duty. The staff was so friendly here, and I know our guests would be well taken care of.
Later that day we visited a number of other villas in the area. Villa Diana (BRV DIA) has vast views and a huge pool, and thankfully, not too many steps! Villa Carla (BRV CAR) is a very cool place with modern furniture, spacious rooms, and a huge pool. As it has many levels, the elevator is a big help, and clients can park up to three small cars, which can be a rarity in Amalfi. Carla is located in Ravello, just about 12 miles from Positano.
The view from Villa Carla (BRV CAR)
After a quick rest and a pizza lunch, it was on to the next. Villa Tramanto (BRV TRA) is another large six-bedroom villa with beautiful views and stonework. Bedrooms are equal in size, which is helpful for couples travelling together. Villa Simona (BRV SMO), just five minutes from the center of Amalfi, has a Jacuzzi with sprawling views of the Med. The best part is that the beach is just 200 steps down, where a water taxi can take guests to local beachfront restaurants—great fun for families and friends. Although there is no pool, there’s an upper deck that’s quite large, great for sunning in the afternoons or dining at night. (The villa has hosted many a great party here). It comes with its own personal concierge service five days a week from 9:30am to 1pm, which is fantastic.
One of our other favorites was Villa Mida (BRV MID). This villa is a class act, with great art and a perfect kitchen, and rooms that are each distinct (for example, Pucci was the theme of one of the rooms). There are two pools: one indoors, and the other on a small terrace overlooking the ocean. I know my clients would be delighted to be in such a wonderful place.
After another wonderful night and delicious breakfast, the next day we headed down the coast to Sorrento. Villa Giada (BRV GIA) sits in the center of town, making it easy to find. It is a true delight, with unknown views of clock towers and bits of blue sea. The gardens were huge and well maintained, with many different areas to relax in. Two of the bedrooms had access to outside terraces, one of which overlooked the park. The best part is that it is only a three-minute walk to everything downtown.
Villa Midi (BRV MID) in Praiano
Next was Villa Aretusa (YPI ARE), a large villa with a natural sea pool literally on the ocean. We were blown away by the views of the ocean and the rocks below. After a few more visits in Sorrento, we drove back to Positano to see Villa Il Sogno (YPI SNO). Now, this villa has 270 steps up and down (Amalfi is not for the faint of heart!), but once inside, the villa was like an art gallery—just gorgeous both inside and out—with gardens, lemon trees and jasmine everywhere.
Our last night at the Covo we headed out to a restaurant that I had found called Al Palazzo. I had the best tomato mozzarella basil salad and a perfect steak. The aromas of Positano are unforgettable, so they’ve been bottled as air freshener. I bought a few to enjoy for months to come…
Leaving the beauty of Positano and the wonderful hotel Covo del Saraceni was hard, but—we were going to Capri! We had a great ride over on the ferry, which only takes 20 minutes. While driving to AnaCapri, I couldn’t believe the rugged terrain we covered and the history we discovered. My trusty colleague Bill is so full of knowledge about the history of the island that it was great to learn.
Our hotel Casa Mariantonia was Suzanne’s favorite from years ago, and once inside we never wanted to leave. The lemon trees were bursting with fruit and the aroma was sensational. The owner Peter Paulo was wonderful and so kind to us; we unwound with lemonade and then wine…lots of wine!
Our villa visits in Capri started with the fantastic Villa Eremo (HII PIC). It beams with art and old stone sculptures, and offers a great view of the Faraglioni rocks. There is no parking, but we really suggest not renting a car in a Capri—it is simple enough to get around in taxis.
The next villa was by far all of our favorites, called Villa Venere (BRV MAF) in AnaCapri. This five bedroom has beautiful art, fabrics, and lighting, and the bathrooms and the beds are perfect. The villa is fairly new, but you would never know it by the style; it really has so much to offer. After a few more villa visits, we taxied back to the hotel to enjoy one of the best lunches I have had anywhere: homemade lemon pasta. It was over the moon!
The Gardens of Augustus in Capri
Our next day was a welcome day-off to do as we pleased. I joined Bill and Suzanne in the center of Capri for a visit to the Giardini di Augusto (the Gardens of Augustus) which are filled with beautiful flowers. We climbed to the observation terrace to take in the views. As Bill and Suzanne went on their way for more sightseeing, I set off on my mission for shopping, then got my hair done, and had a salad Nicoise at the hotel La Palma. That was a great day…well spent for me! I joined up with the others for dinner at Il Geranio, which was really lovely and has the best food. I loved this spot.
After a lovely stay on the coast, it was time to head up north to explore wine country, and all our villas there. Stayed tuned for part two! And please let me know if I can help plan your Italian vacation! 1-401-849-8012.
Interested in more Italian adventures? Travel to the coast of Capri and read about the variety of restaurants offered with a water front view: The Complete Guide to Capri Part I