While we arrived early at this beautiful place during a spectacular thunderstorm and had to wait a couple of hours to get into the villa, we could instantly see what a perfect position we had chosen as our base. The villa literally sits on the side of a hill, with the tiny disused Capella di Santa Maria di Costantinopli perched below it.
The stairs down to the villa are quite steep but manageable, and once at the bottom the area surrounding the house is flat. While the tiled terrace was wet from the storm we could immediately see what a huge asset it is to the villa – very enticing in the sun!
But I digress, once we realised our host Domenico was actually in the villa, we unloaded the car with his help and could finally see inside. While the villa is not modern and the decor is a little dated (and that is in no way a criticism), it is obviously a well-loved family home and has a truly relaxing ambience. The kitchen dining room is well-equipped and the church pew seats that act as dining chairs are a nice touch. The living room has a dining table, comfortable sofas, television and wonderful dual aspect views. The two double bedrooms are large with plenty of storage and they both have wonderful terraces facing out towards Salerno. Waking up to dual aspect views of the Gulf of Salerno each morning has been a highlight and we have seen the most wonderful sunrises and sunsets.
As you can tell I am sold on Villa Horizon. It is perfectly placed to visit the larger Amalfi Coast towns like Positano and Amalfi, without being in the crowded hustle and bustle of those places. It has a regular bus service to Positano, around twenty to thirty minutes away, depending on how busy the coast road is, and there is a local bus service a few metres away from the door. Alternatively you can walk down the lane beside the chapel below to reach the bus stop for Positano and also the delightful but very tiny grocer’s shop, run by Maria, an ex-butcher. The shop’s tallying system is wonderful – Maria calls out the price to a chap we assume is her son and he adds it up. We enjoyed this when we went to stock up with Domenico on the first night and have been back a couple of times since – for us, sharing time with local people is all part of the magic of travel.
Praiano itself does not have a compact centre like Positano and Amalfi – it sprawls out along the hillside on either side of the villa which truly must have the best view in this town.
It is a little hard to explore by car because of the very narrow roads, the extremely tight switchbacks and lack of parking. This is a good reason for taking the local buses as it eases the pressure of getting from place to place and we have really been enjoying it. The bus drivers and taxi drivers here have to be very skilled as we have seen – there can be virtually just an inch or two between passing buses!
To finish the story, on our first night, having stocked up at Maria’s, and been well-versed in the workings of the villa by our helpful host Domenico (including how to use the cute little charcoal burner), we completed our eventful day with expertly cooked chicken, steak and chargrilled vegetables, knowing we had so much more to look forward to in this little gem of a place…
Next post – Positano