Il Cannito

Capaccio Paestum, Naples & Amalfi, Italy Book from Book from £241 per night

Old and new fuse with heart and soul at this charming 4-room hotel in the hills above Paestum
Paestum has Italy's most spectacular Grecian temples and this intimate yet sophisticated hotel is only 7km away, cloistered in 37 lush acres in the Cilento National Park. Built and run by the charming Gorga family, it's the realisation of their much-missed husband and father Luigi's long-cherished dream - to transform the ruins of a 1,300-year-old Franciscan monastery into a paean to peace, nature and design, while also connecting with kindred souls.

The 4 rooms are stylishly minimalist, comfortable and airy, with white walls and sloping rafters brightened by splashes of bold modern art. Doors are bleached wood, floors are smooth terracotta tile (cool in summer, heated in winter), and bathrooms have blissful state-of-the-art hydrosonic Jacuzzi tubs. The home-cooked food is organic, super-fresh and super-tasty, served up in the funky modern dining room, on the terrace in the shade of a 200-year-old oak, or beside the turquoise water of the heavenly hillside infinity pool. There’s also a vast private beach 10km away, with drinks, snacks, loungers and parasols, for some coastal chilling time.

Highs

  • The Gorga family's warmth, caring hospitality and fabulous cooking
  • The elegant and airy minimalist design, with hydrosonic tubs and plenty of gizmos
  • The isolation in nature - dappled light from ancient oaks, fresh mountain breezes, darting lizards, wild flowers, birdsong and bright stars
  • It’s in the heart of undiscovered Cilento, just south of the Amalfi coast, and close to Paestum's spectacular temples
  • The terraces and chemical-free infinity pool have panoramic views - if you're lucky you might see the lights of Capri twinkling out at sea

Lows

  • No bar or sitting room - though there are squishy leather sofas in the dining room and reception, plus a sofa and parasols on the terrace
  • It’s a longish drive from the nearest airport (Naples, 100km away) and it isn’t easy to find
  • There’s no intercom or phone to connect the main house with the 2 lower-level rooms or the pool - though a communication system is planned
  • No towel rails or dressing gowns yet - they're still looking for the perfect versions - and our duvet didn't quite cover the whole bed
  • Parents - beware the high supplements for extra beds

Best time to go

You can normally come at any time of year, though the family occasionally closes the house between November and February for maintenance. Summer can get hot but there are plenty of hill breezes here. Spring, early summer and early autumn are perfect and, if it gets chilly, you can warm your toes on the heated floor tiles!

Our top tips

Make sure you have everything you need with you when you head to the pool for a few hours’ relaxation, particularly if you're staying in one of the lower-level rooms. You'll kick yourself if you leave something behind and have to schlepp up and down 2 flights of meandering wooden steps to retrieve it!

Great for...

Beach
Eco
Family
Honeymoon
Wedding
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 4
  • Restaurant (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room: Mare

Rooms

The simple, chunky stone walls outside and the peaceful white, blue and brown palette inside lend a feeling of monastic chic to the 4 rooms. The bold wall art is by a family friend (lovingly described as a ‘crazy artist’), who also helped to create the eclectic yet unfussy interior design.

All the rooms are immaculately clean and come with firm kingsize beds, free-standing wooden wardrobes, silk cone lampshades and soft cottons. Each also has a wall-mounted LCD TV, a desk, a minibar, air-con and snug underfloor heating. Big windows, full-length mirrors and ravishing hillside views all enhance the feeling of calm, lofty and uncluttered space.

The largest rooms, Sole and Terra, sit beneath the main house and are reached via a winding flight of shallow wooden steps, prettily lit up at night. They share a furnished stone terrace encircling an ancient oak tree; Sole also has a private sundeck with loungers - we stayed here and loved it. If you’re feeling lazy or have rickety knees, opt for one of the 2 slightly smaller rooms, Mare and Luna, which are in the main house above the dining room.

The ensuite bathrooms in 3 of the rooms are dominated by state-of-the-art hydrosonic Jacuzzi bathtubs, which are said to assist lymphatic drainage and cell renewal. These reduce you to a puddle of bliss but, naturally, take a while to fill up. Luna’s bathroom has a shower with hydrosonic jets instead of a tub. All have hairdryers, fluffy towels, slippers and complimentary toiletries, adding to the luxury feel.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

Matriarch Anna Maria, a self-taught cook with 30 years' experience and a passion for regional cuisine, acts as the head chef. She uses secret family recipes and tends to avoid using wine or flour in order to bring out the subtle flavours of the meat or fish. All the seasonal ingredients are freshly bought daily or harvested from the family’s organic garden; they also make their own jams, compotes and fruit liqueurs.

The set menus change every day, with fish, vegetarian and meat options, and are served on the terrace or in the white-washed dining room with its contemporary glass tables and eye-popping lime-green chairs. In our opinion they’re worth every Euro - our dinner of clam spaghetti with chilli, garlic and organic parsley, sea bream with piquant salad and tender baby artichokes, and feather-light chocolate cake with a gooey heart couldn't have been more delicious. Our alfresco lunch of breadcrumbed chicken strips with sweet balsamic vinegar and traditional chips, accompanied by a crisp, local white wine, was a delight, too.

Breakfast, included in the rates, is a generous spread of freshly-squeezed juice, yoghurts, fruit, cereals, mozzarella and pancetta toasties, and eggs and bacon (it's worth specifying just how crispy you want your bacon as many Italians eat theirs almost raw!). You also get melt-in-the-mouth vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, freshly baked that morning.

If you want to eat out there’s an excellent pizza restaurant and 2 agro-tourism farms serving lunch in Capaccio, a 4km drive away. There are also several beach restaurants down on the coast.

Features include:

  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity: Paestum

Activities

  • Don’t miss the stunning Greco-Roman town of Paestum (7km away), with its trio of beautifully preserved temples, defensive walls, and museum of pottery and frescoes


  • Explore the surrounding Cilento National Park and Vallo di Diano to see forested summits, clifftop villages (Campora and Sant’Angelo), medieval bridges (Felitto), dark canyons (Laurino), resurgent rivers and age-old muletracks


  • Take a transfer to the private stretch of sandy beach in Tela (10km away, May-September only) for lounging, pedalo-cruising, people-watching and fine dining in the private lawned gardens. Also worth exploring are the lidi on the long beach stretching north

  • For prettier stretches of coastline, head south to the secluded beaches around Arena and Agnone (30-60 minutes away), where you can take boat tours to sea caves and cliff-ringed coves

  • Drop into one of the 60 buffalo farms in the area to see ancient and modern equipment, watch leather goods being made, and try buffalo-milk ice cream

  • Visit the historic hill towns of Castellabate and Capaccio, and the bustling harbour of Agropoli


  • Head to busy Salerno for street life and café culture, Vietri sul Mare for ceramics, and the Amalfi peninsula's eastern villages (Cetara, Maiori and Atrani) for sheer beauty

  • Explore the world-famous remains of Pompeii and Herculaneum, both 1 hour from Paestum by train, or the palaces, museums and gritty city culture of Naples (1.5 hours by train)

  • Or just chill out in the hillside infinity pool, surrounded by oaks and elms, the sweet scent of myrtle and juniper, and dreamy views

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Wildlife

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome. Cots, extra beds and babysitting are available on request. Those past toddler age will love spending hours in the chemical-free infinity pool and playing hide-and-seek in the surrounding hillside gardens.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Babysitting can be arranged on request.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Families Should Know:

Very young children will require careful supervision in the gardens, which have lots of steps.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 3 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Rooms
8/10
Food
8/10
Service
8/10
Value
8/10
Overall

Overall we had an excellent experience. I believe we had the Sole room with a private balcony set away from the main house. The room itself was a very good size and tastefully decorated. The bathroom was simple but good with a hydro bath that looked fantastic. The balcony was the greatest feature of the room - with views through the trees down to the coast and across the sea, it was absolutely wonderful. Having a glass of wine whilst watching the sun set was blissful and in truth the first moment we truly relaxed. All food was prepared by Anne Maria and true to the values of Neopolitan food it was simple but exquisite. We stayed 3 nights at Il Cannito and chose to eat at the villa on all 3 evenings. My wife is a vegetarian and so finding good food on the continent can sometimes be a challenge but not so here. Despite a slight language barrier, Anne Maria was flexible and understanding and she tailored all of our meals to suit my wife's requests. The only thing I think could be improved was the breakfast. This was relatively simple with much of it prepared (e.g. packaged toast / yogurt / cornflakes). Service is excellent. Although Anne Maria's English is limited, she was the perfect host. Her family, Nicola, Antonella and Santa were so welcoming. As cliche as it sounds it was truly a home away from home. Rather than feeling like we were staying in a B&B, we felt like we were staying with a long lost Italian family! I can't fault Il Cannito. The service, the food, the wine, the location (one of the most tranquil and relaxing places I've ever been), the pool, the rooms and the wonderful balcony were first class. This is a gem, away from the hussle and bussle of Naples and the Amalfi coast. You will feel instantly relaxed upon arrival.

10/10, , September 2015

Lovely hotel and staff who genuinely put their all into the service for guests. A tad too removed from things for our taste, so if you're looking for a remote, quiet getaway this would be one for you. Food was beautiful and plenty.

8/10, , September 2013

Il Cannito is a unique place to stay in fabulous countryside, but only a short way from the marvellous classical temples at Paestum. For a few days you can join an Italian family who run the place with love and care.The home cooking is delicious, son Nicola's attention to the excellent local wine list is infectious and the pool with views to Capri is delightful. We stayed in the room called Sole with two terraces, super local views and space you rarely find in Europe. Il Cannito's fantastic rural location does mean that the access is by a long stretch of bumpy road and driveway but the wonderful experience of staying there makes the bumps completely worthwhile. In addition to the temples do visit the nearby Vannula buffalo farm for fantastic ice cream and their own Buffalo mozzarella. We took some back to Il Cannito where Mamma prepared a salad to accompany our purchase, a delicious lunch.

10/10, , May 2014

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Rates for Il Cannito