“Italy is a dream that keeps returning for the rest of your life” – Anna Akhmatova
Choosing a favourite part of Italy is almost impossible
How could you separate the northern lakes of Lombardy; the north-eastern glories of Venice; awesome Tuscany and Florence; the southern Amalfi Coast; the Italian Riviera or ancient Rome – to name just a few.
Each is a treasure in its own right.
However, one of our favourites is Tramonti, a collection of 13 hamlets scattered among the rugged hills above the Amalfi Coast.
These hamlets largely retain a traditional Italian way of life. Here you’ll find vineyards, chestnut woods, olive trees, grazing sheep and scented lemon groves, set in a stunning landscape just eight kilometers from the sea.
Tramonti’s communities offer a buffer from the crowded Amalfi Coast and a glimpse of rural life just a short distance from hectic tourist resorts.
Regional products like Limonchello, the area’s famous liqueur; home-made cheeses, jams and pastries and other specialty foods are still produced there.
In one of the hilltop hamlets, we were introduced to Casa Cavo 15, a 200-year-old olive farm.
Perched on a steep mountainside, this charming house – the word Casa means ‘at home’ in Italian – is an ideal way to immerse yourself in traditional atmosphere largely untouched by today’s mass tourism.
We love the authentic Italian experience – and now you can too.
Casa Cavo 15 is located in Paterno Sant’Arcangelo, a quiet and unpretentious hamlet, where gardens stagger up the hillsides, bursting with vegetables and citrus trees.
Traditional in every sense of the word, Paterno Sant’Archangelo is like a step back in time, with a clutch of narrow streets, the scent of flowers and plants and terraced hillsides.
And all around is the breath-taking majesty of the Lattari Mountains.
There is a small grocery shop in the hamlet – and only seven kilometres away through the mountains is the coastal town of Maiori with its retail facilities.
Casa Cavo 15 has been renovated to provide you with today’s conveniences.
On the top floor, the house has two standard double bedrooms – one with air conditioning – and a third room where mattresses can be placed on the floor if needed.
The authentic Italian feel continues down the stone steps to the ground floor where there is a big dining kitchen with an old fireplace and a table capable of seating about 12 people.
Modern facilities to allow self-sufficiency include a cooker, oven, kettle, dishwasher, crockery and cutlery, utensils, drying rack and washing machine.
We were able to can relax on the sofa and watch TV, browse the Internet on the free wifi or take in the panoramic mountain views from the cosy courtyard under its spreading lemon trees.
This courtyard is a wonderful space; shady and comfortable with an awe-inspiring view over the hamlet, gardens and across the mountains.
As an added attraction, the top floor of Casa Cavo 15 can be configured to offer a self-contained studio flat, with its own entrance from the garden; a kitchenette; bathroom and incorporating one of the bedrooms.
Behind the house, there are sweeping terraced areas and walking trails where you can either explore or just relax beneath the trees.
Casa Cavo 15’s location in a traditional mountain hamlet with narrow streets means that only tiny vehicles can drive to the front door.
Most guests park on the ancient street and then walk about 50 metres – including a section of very steep stone steps. For this reason, there is no real disabled access.
Exploring the mountain hamlets and coastal resorts requires a car. For example, the nearest supermarket is on the coast at Maiori, where there are also restaurants, beaches, playgrounds and other shops.
Maiori has been a coastal resort since ancient Roman times and boasts the longest stretch of beach on the Amalfi Coast
The house is also about 50 kilometres from the city of Naples and its airport.
Annette, the delightful Danish owner of Casa Cavo 15, lives only about 30 minutes from the house and couldn’t have been more helpful.
With her guidance, we were able to feel part of the community when we attended celebrations to mark the Feast Day of the village patron, Saint Michael the Archangel.
Enjoying Italian life
And, judging by the comments of previous visitors in the Guest Book, we certainly weren’t the first to enjoy the Italian way of living; Annette’s friendly hospitality and crucial advice; and revel in the more traditional values and lifestyle of the mountain hamlets – while within easy reach of the Amalfi Coast.
Casa Cavo 15 is normally let for holidays during the summer months between May and November. The rent is 2,500 Danish kroner (about 335 Euros depending on exchange rates) a week, plus an 80 Euro cleaning fee.
Annette is prepared to talk to prospective tenants during other months, but even in such a beautiful part of the planet, winter tends to dampen spirits.
If you are interested, Annette can be contacted by email at [email protected]