In booking our trip to the Amalfi Coast we considered a number of options from private homes to B&B's. But when we stumbled upon this place, it almost sounded too good. A bed and breakfast run by three Italian brothers and their father, complete with 'family' meals in the evenings if you so desired with most of the ingredients coming from the expansive organic gardens surrounding. Nestled in the hills over Positano, no question it would offer breaktaking views down the coast (all the way to the Island of Capri, in fact). But what really sold us was the idea that when traveling with a toddler, there might be a day or two we simply wanted to rest, and this place was essentially it's own destination.
(all of the following photos were taken directly on the property over the course of our stay)
We read thru endless reviews online, all raving about the brothers and the unparalleled views. One or two mentioned 'the hike' from the road being a challenge, but we were undeterred. I was enamored with the idea of a cliffside, family-run Italian B&B surrounded by lush organic gardens.
The brothers nor their 'house' as they so affectionately refer to it, disappoint. These guys know hospitality. They welcome all ages from retired to young families and backpacking singles the world over, and I witnessed day after day as they made every single person feel like family. Friendly, humble, passionate, whether it was a glass of water or suggestion for dinner, never once did they seem less than overjoyed to accommodate. The views were rivaled only by their kindness, which they seem to have inherited straight from their father. Timid but clearly full of joy, it was the father who greeted us in the darkness and physically hauled our bags from the road straight up, up, up the winding cliffside a solid 10-minute hike. The man made me marvel.
The rooms themselves are simply furnished but spacious and comfortable with large private baths. The property itself is impressively quiet nestled in those hills, and the views… the views are killer. From every single room and terrace, simply stunning.
I couldn't tell you exactly how many acres their property covers, but it feels enormous. We wandered thru the gardens and vineyards to our hearts content day after day, drinking in the mediterranean views and gushing over the astounding array of fruits and herbs and vegetables. There was no way to adequately discern how much was being tended and how much simply grows wild. It was such a gloriously harmonious dance of the two. The brothers themselves didn't even seem to know. They just smiled and shrugged with an obvious awe and appreciation for this rich and fertile land. Their gentle respect towards the soil beneath their feet inspired me in a way I still can't fully articulate.
Every morning we awoke to a lovely spread of local fruits and jams and pastries, among other things. Breakfast on the terrace gazing out at that view? I promise, you could do it every day. For all of time. It is profoundly, deeply nourishing.
One really fascinating bit is to inquire of the history of the house. It's relatively new by European standards, built by the father some years ago. But because it's located in a nature preserve, building any kind of new structure was and is illegal. The transporting of materials and the actual building process happened mostly at night under the cover of darkness.
The sunrises and sunsets were jaw-dropping as I'm certain you can imagine, and one day we were even treated to an afternoon thunderstorm. (you'll notice dark storm clouds in a number of photos) Watching those clouds roll in, drench everything in sight and promptly roll out again was absolutely mesmerizing. With the rich volcanic soil and Mediterranean climate, no wonder so much grows wild. It essentially tends itself. There can't possibly be happier vegetation on earth. There just can't.
I found the infamous hike lovely. Must say, it is not for the faint of heart. Reading the cautionary reviews I shrugged them off thinking people were likely making a bigger deal than necessary. They weren't. It's a hike. But it's beautiful.
I opted for good shoes and thought of it this way: I can eat pasta and gelato everyday to my hearts content with zero concern!
When your workout is built right into your stay at no additional cost, what's to fret about? ;-)
Have I mentioned yet that this real life garden of Eden is shockingly affordable?? Yes, indeed. Right at $120 per night, I can't imagine you could beat it, well, perhaps anywhere else in Europe. For those dreamy views, the warm hospitality, a private terrace and bath, and lovely breakfast? Not likely. If you've ever traveled to Europe you know well the accommodations are no where near cheap, and even at that you'll likely end up with a tiny room and less than comfortable bed that looks out at a brick wall.
I have an entire post I've been putting together for awhile including tons of tips on how we travel affordably, and this Amalfi Coast adventure was no exception. Our airfare to Italy was free using miles (incredible savings there, always) and with an affordable stay such as this that included breakfast (or typically brunch for us) all we had left to budget for was dinner. And maybe the occasional… okay twice per day gelato! Good thing gelato is cheap in Italy ;-)
Another cannot-stress-enough travel tip is to spend the bulk of your food budget picnicking. Go to the local market, spend a few dollars on fresh, delicious ingredients, and save yourself the ton of money you'd spend at expensive restaurants. Besides, wouldn't you rather spread a blanket and take in the coast or Eiffel Tower or Roman Colosseum over dinner anyway?? A fraction of the cost, a hundred times the ambiance. Definitely splurge on a nice dinner or two for the sake of culture and experience, but don't feel like you have to do that every day. Your experience will be richer (and so will you) if you opt to go the picnic route.
I simply cannot say enough about this gorgeous B&B. It's been several months now since we visited and during that time I began The Intention Project and took a little sabbatical from blogging, but with travel season upon us I had to share this with you. (although I encourage you to look to 'shoulder' season for the best travel rates, no matter where you're headed) Colle Dell'ara is simply way, way, way too good to keep to myself. We fully intend to return sometime and I'm crossing my finders it's sooner than later!
(tons more reviews available at airbnb.com)
Or for more on our Amalfi Coast Adventure: