Villa Scarpariello

Marmorata di Ravello, Naples & Amalfi, Italy Book from

Simple B&B rooms and apartments, with tiered gardens around a Norman watchtower, and a pool overhanging the rocky coast
Sail the Amalfi coast and you might spot a string of Norman watchtowers along the rocky shore, and wonder who is lucky enough to own one. The answer, in this case, is Prince Luigi d'Angerio di Sant'Agata; but a huge tax bill means we are the lucky ones. Three outhouses, built to accommodate his friends in the 1970's, have now been converted into a variety of rooms and apartments, sleeping 2-6 people, some with simple kitchens.

From the Amalfi-Minori road, paths bordered with marble busts lead down, past the 1000-year-old tower, to immaculate gardens which burst with lemons, geraniums and palms. At the bottom is a vine-shaded breakfast terrace with majestic sea views, and a crenellated swimming pool which literally overhangs the water. The same goes for the guesthouses: waves fizz below your balcony, while the sound of gurgling water lulls you to sleep.

Highs

  • One of the finest settings on the coast, with sweeping views of the sea and the jagged mountains behind Minori
  • A spectacularly sited swimming pool, and easy access into the sea (or into hired boats) from a private little quay
  • We loved sitting in the well-groomed gardens among imperial statues and Norman stonework
  • Delightful staff - and family-friendly too
  • Good value in an expensive area

Lows

  • Interiors, while spacious and functional, are decidedly dated (though the oldest bathrooms are gradually being updated)
  • Minimum stays apply - but there's plenty to keep you busy
  • It gets booked up early for the summer, so plan ahead
  • Don't expect to stay in the watchtower - it's reserved for the owner
  • You have to dine out, or apartment guests can cook for themselves in simple kitchens; breakfast is extremely basic
  • We have not visited since management changed in 2016

Best time to go

Summer is extremely busy – in mid August you can barely find beach space to lay your towel. Come in spring (April-early June) or autumn (Sept-Oct) if you possibly can. The weather then is perfect for gentle exploration, and swimming is quite feasible until early November (though in April it's chilly). A word of warning: the heating is only the wall-mounted, air-blown type, so bring warm clothes if coming at the edge of the season.

Our top tips

This is a great area for sea-foodies. Local specialities include superb spaghetti alle vongole (clams), herb-encrusted hake, paccheri pasta in a seafood sauce, grilled lobster, or pezzogna (the local word for sea bream) baked in salt. Sweet cakey desserts normally come with a chilled shot of limoncello on the house.

Great for...

Beach
Family
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Apartments
  • 12
  • Self-catering (+ nearby restaurants)
  • All ages welcome.
  • Closed: 3 Dec 2016 - 10 Apr 2017
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
Room:

Rooms

There are 5 double rooms and 6 apartments for 2-6 people, spread across two newish seafront buildings and a small house near the top. All are done out in simple Italian rustic style, with cream or pastel walls, wrought iron beds, bronze faux-chandeliers and a scattering of wooden furniture (some of it antique, some of it modern). Brightly patterned fabrics and vivid floor tiles add colour, but not always in the subtlest of combinations, with naïve artwork on the walls adding an occasionally erotic note. But if it's not quite the contemporary chic you might hope for (and, to be honest, few hotels on the Amalfi coast are), rest assured that it is comfortable and spacious – and the views of sea, mountain and garden are to die for.

Bathrooms, likewise, are functional, with a couple of avocado- or peach-coloured bathroom suites surviving from the 1970's furbishment (do these qualify as retro-kitsch yet?). The rest are being gradually done up with neutral cream tiling and corner shower cabinets.

Of the apartments, the 3 in the lower Amalfi-side building (Luigi, Elena and Emanuele) are the largest, with a long sea-facing balcony and sitting-dining room, 2 rear-facing bedrooms (in Elena/Emanuele, a chunk is taken out of the sitting room to make way for a 3rd bedroom), and one bathroom. You can cook simple meals in the small kitchen but nothing fancy: there are 4 gas rings, a microwave (but no traditional oven) in Luigi / Emanuele only, a large fridge and Ikea-style cabinets with basic cutlery and crockery. Up above the prince's quarters is Ficus, with two double bedrooms and a bathroom in between.

The rooms are all double-bedded (if you want a twin, ask for Regina apartment), and situated in the Minori-side buildings. There are 2 secluded ones up by reception, and 3 in a lower building with plunging views over the sea.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Oven
  • Phone
  • Satellite tv
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

Room prices include a very basic continental breakfast (rolls, mini-jams, carton-juice, hot drink) which is served outside on the dining terrace, or brought to your room. Anything more complex you can buy and store in your minibar.

The apartments have rather dated kitchens with 4 gas rings, a large fridge, Ikea-style cabinets with basic cutlery and crockery and, in Luigi / Emanuele only, a microwave (but no traditional oven).

For dinner you can either prepare something simple in the apartment, order pizzas and pasta from a nearby restaurant, or drive to Amalfi, Atrani or Minori, all within 5km.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • In house cook
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Hire a private boat to collect you from the villa and take you to nearby coves (the deep inlet of Furore is spectacular), to sea caves, or to rocky islets such as Li Galli (where Nureyev had a villa). Canoes and pedalos can also be delivered to your 'front door' from Atrani

  • Take a public ferry from Amalfi or Minori along the coast to Positano or the isle of Capri for some glitzy shopping and dining, plus colourful cliffside villages

  • Drive or walk up to gorgeous Ravello, a handsome village set high on a spur, with plunging views over the coast (best appreciated from the stunning gardens of the Villa Cimbrone)

  • The town of Amalfi has an impressive duomo (in whose crypt lie the remains of St Andrew), a small museum in the town hall (where you can see the first ever maritime law, the 16th-century Tabula Amalfitana), not to mention excellent pastry shops (try the creamy sfogliatelle of Andrea Pansa)

  • Keen walkers should not miss the lovely Valle delle Ferriere, a 5-hour hike heading deep inland from Minuta or Campidoglio, to re-emerge at Pogerola above Amalfi (buy the Sunflower guidebook

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome, and cots are available free of charge. This is one of the few places on the Amalfi coast which genuinely suit families. Staff can arrange English-speaking babysitters. Minori and Maiori have long, safe strands; other villages have smaller and steeper beaches

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Babysitting available by arrangement

Our guests' ratings...

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

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