Italy is simply magnificent. It has to be experienced to be believed. There are few places in the world where life and art seem so closely intertwined, to the extent that living seems to be art itself. Whether it is culture, history, architecture, fashion, food, art, nature, sport, music or a religious experience you are seeking – Italy offers it all.
And with so much choice how do you find the place that suits you best. We recently visited the Amalfi Coast and found the most gorgeous spot to relax and explore this extraordinary area, Casa Privata in Praiano.
Praiano on the Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast is an UNESCO World Heritage site that it is characterised by both mountains and sea. It is simply beautiful, the green terraces and hills form a perfect backdrop for the villages that cling to the cliffs above the sparkling sea. Casa Privata is in Praiano a tiny fishing village on the Almafi coast. It is perfectly placed to explore all that the region has to offer, the Sorrento Peninsular, Ravello, Scala, Amalfi and on to Saleno.
Clinging to the side of one of the most beautiful stretches of coast in Europe, Casa Privata is a hidden gem on the Almafi Coast. Tucked away from the glitzy hotels and Almafi crowds Casa Privata offers simple luxury in an elegantly designed stone house in Praiano. The house has only 6 rooms, all beautifully decorated with views over the sea and manicured gardens. Unusual for the area the house has a large garden that seems to descend endlessly to the sea and is flanked by its own olive and lemon groves. A secluded pool with magnificent views across the Tyrrenhenia sea is a relaxing option for those who do not want to tackle the stone stairs down to the sea. The garden itself extends right down to the water and the private rock beach has been transformed into a sunbather’s paradise with comfortable sun loungers, a fresh water shower and diving points. It isn’t just the unbelievably beautiful setting or private sea access nor the stylishly designed interiors that set Casa Privata apart from all other hotels, it is the very personalised experience that Rosa and her team take so very seriously, they make you feel so at home that it is more like visiting a close friend than being a guest in one of the most sought after hotels on the coast.
Casa Privata has 4 double rooms and 2 suites. The house can also be rented as a whole, making it ideal for a private family holiday or celebration. All of the rooms are unique and have been elegantly finished in true Italian style, cleverly combining modern and antique furniture to give the sense of staying in an exclusive old Italian villa. You can see the sea from all the rooms and those on the top floor open onto a magnificent stone terrace from which you can enjoy incredible views of the coast, sea, local mountains and garden below. All the rooms are fabulous but we particularly love staying in the rooms at the top, the access to the communal stone terrace from the bedrooms something we really appreciated. Each evening we would sit on the terrace, with a glass of something cool from the honesty bar and watch the sun set over the sea and coastline before heading out to enjoy the night.
Casa Privata is a perfect launch pad to indulge your own personal passions, whether it is culture, art, architecture, gastronomy, retail or more energetic activities – it is all here. At Casa Privata they believe in the southern Italian saying “tutto e possibile” (everything is possible) and all you need to do is ask. The options are endless from helicopter flights, dives at the island of the sirens, boat trips, in-house massages or tickets for a concert in Ravello. Almafi, Sorrento, Ravello and Positano (made famous by the film La Dolce Vita) are all within easy reach.
Breakfast is a long and lazy affair at Casa Privata. Rustic wooden tables are laid with crisp white linen under the trees on the patio in the garden and guests can help themselves to a tempting choice of fresh fruits, yoghurts, meats, cheeses, breads and sweet pastries. Whilst fresh juices, tea and coffee seem to flow endlessly from the kitchen and are made to your specific taste.
Although Casa Privata does not have a formal restaurant, Rosa and the team are happy to prepare rustic dishes for anyone who wishes to stay in for lunch or dinner and often invite guests to an impromptu dinner under the stars if a particularly excellent piece of fish has been caught that day. The house operates an honesty bar system and the enormous fridges in the kitchen are stuffed full of every type of drink one could possibly want, they also have a wonderful Italian wine list.
For those with a passion for food the village of Praiano offers a wide variety of restaurants and if one exhausts the immediate options, glamorous Positano is only a short bus or taxi ride. We had a couple of memorable meals at both Restorante Next 2 (www.next2.it) in Positano and Hosteria il Pinoin Praiano but you really are spoilt for choice along the coast.
Foot note: This is an independent review; the writer stayed as a mystery guest and paid for their stay.