Villa Poggio al Sole: An encounter with the sea and mountains, past and present, nature and culture.
The Villa Poggio al Sole (that is the Villa on the sunny hill) is situated on the sunny slopes of a hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea , about 120 km south of Naples.
Lying at an altitude of about 240 metres above sea-level, the villa belongs to the community of Castellabate, with its two different quarters: the lively sea-side resort of Sta. Maria de Castellabate with a small harbour, different sandy beaches and good shopping facilities, which spreads at the foot of the Villa ’s hill – and the ancient mountain village of Castellabate, in 1999 awarded the Unesco World Heritage emblem for its perfecltly preserved medieval center with lots of charming lanes and places to discover, with pittoresque insights and magnificent views of the surrounding landscape. This part of Castellabate lies still a bit up the mountains, behind the villa, within twenty minutes’ walk.
Castellabate belongs to the “Cilento”, a region that luckily has not yet been discovered by mass tourism – and hopefully also will not be in future, as it has been turned into a National Park, protecting landscape, flora and fauna as well as sea-life. You’ll find here 330 sunny days per year – and a world in a nutshell – sandy beaches, dream-like coves, high mountains up to 2,000 meters, small rivers within valleys, spacious woods with chestnut- und stoneoak-trees towards the inner part of the region, the typical mediterranean vergetation with macchia and pine-trees in the coastal region, and in between small farms with endless olive plantations and vineyards.
And there is a lot to discover in the Cilento – if you turn south from Castellabate you’ll find walking paths leading to old villages and farm-houses or along the magnificent coast – oil-mills, ancient Greek and Roman monuments, the giant Kartause, coastal towers that remind of the Venetian and Sarazene sea-battles and of the pirate attacks in the 18th and 19th century.
North you find more spectacular and famous places to visit: Naples , the Vesuv and Pompeji, Paestum with its impressive temples or the Coast of Amalfi and Capri or Ischia.
The Villa was constructed in 1970 by a wealthy entrepreneur from Milano. Its position on top of a solitary hill is unique: the mountain behind, the sea below, surrounded by terraces on all sides that guarantee ample sun and shadow at the same time. And of course with a large swimmingpool. Adjourning you find large grounds, partly terraced with mediterranean vegetation: lemon and orange trees, a vineyard, almond and apricots, pine- and palm-trees and blossoming bushes of Oleander all around.
There is a private road that leads from the Road to Castellabate (SP15) directly to the villa – so that there is privacy and convenience at the same time. You can drive up to the kitchendoor to drop your shopping bags.
The villa has two separate appartments on two levels, with separate entrances, kitchens and living-rooms.
The upper appartment has a vast living-room, with fireplace and a balcony in front, a kitchen and four sleeping-rooms, each of them with twin beds, a bathing-room with toilet, shower, bidet and a separate balcony with sea-view.
The so-called garden appartment, too, has a living room – a bit smaller – also with a fire-place, a kitchen and a huge terrace, part of it comfortly lying in shadow all day. Of the four sleeping-rooms, three have twin beds, one a single bed. Each of the rooms have either a balcony or a terrace of their own, three of them opening to the sea, one offering a splendid view into the garden. Two of the twin bedrooms have their own bathroom with toilet, shower, bidet, and the other two sleeping rooms (one double, one single) share a bath with same equipment.
The small medieval town of Castellabate is often referred to as the “Queen of Cilento”, due to its majestic position on the top of a mountain, at a height of 280 meters above sea-level.
Castellabate was founded in the 12th century, when the abbot San Costabile Gentilcuore built a castle to defend the region against attacks of the Saracens (the name Castellabate means: Castle of the abbot).
The narrow streets and alleys wind through the center, sometimes beneath old stone arches, sometimes turning into old stairways, meeting in small places where you can sit und sip your espresso, meeting young and old people from the town itself or other tourists that enjoy the cozy piazzas, the authentic atmosphere and the splendid view into the country-side or across the sea.
Santa Maria di Castellabate is the part of the town that lies directly on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Even in the most touristic months you will find Italy here, at its best: families having their picknick on the different beaches, a small harbour where the fishermen mend their fishing-nets, ice-cream and music, lots of small bars and outdoor-restaurants, many of them directly on the beach, a pleasant pedestrian lane with a broad variety of shops – greengrocers, butchers and bakers, fishmongers, milk and cheese shops, boutiques with elegant Italian clothing and shoes, household articles and souvenirs. For passionate shoppers the market on Saturday morning is an absolute must. Market stands with an abundance of goods, colours and shapes, smells and fragrances – and eager street traders that want to make a deal with you.
You can choose between two long sandy beaches on both sides of the town and three smaller ones adjacent to the town center, one of them overlooked by a pittoresque Saracen tower. The houses with their warm terracotta colours, the big palm trees and pines, the friendly and lively atmosphere and not to forget the spectacular sun-sets will make your holiday unforgettable.
If you want to walk, you can reach Castellabate within 20 minutes, Santa Maria within 30 minutes from the villa. By car, it takes you less than half the time. There is public transport, a bus connects Castellabate to Santa Maria di Castellabate, and if you tell the driver to do so he drops you directly at the entrance of the private road leading to the villa ( 200 meters to walk until you reach the villa).
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