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Reviewed 5 August 2015

If you're looking for a place to stay that is very reasonably priced, comfortable modern surroundings and away from the hustle and crowds of Southern Italy's holiday towns, then La Civetta is the place for you! Myself and my partner stayed here for 3 nights on a recent motorbike holiday in Southern Italy and it was a welcome relief to find La Civetta after the mania and crowds of the Amalfi Coast in July! Emiliano and Simone are such gracious hosts and nothing you ask is too much trouble. The house is very tastefully decorated in modern furnishings and the room we stayed in was lovely and spacious with a lovely bathroom and shower. From our room and from the terrace of the house, there was a stunning view of the sea and the Amalfi Coast across the bay with spectacular sunsets every evening. We got to enjoy this view every morning for breakfast and for evening meals as well. Excellent service and delicious food every day and all of the food served was either locally produced or grown on-site. I cannot say enough about Emiliano and Simone's hospitality and welcoming nature - thank you for a fantastic stay and we will be back! John & Caroline from Ireland.

Date of stay: July 2015
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank doyleyCork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 October 2014

When most people look to book a week away, finding somewhere that offers a degree of escapism is usually an important factor. Although we're blessed with choices, there can be few places within only a few hours of travel from London that offer such escapism in 'world's away' abundance as Cilento, in the southern part of Italy's Campania. Framed by rugged cliffs, golden beaches and sweeping panoramic views of the Tyrrhenian Sea on one side, and the rising majesty of the Apennine Mountains behind, Cilento is a mountainous and forested coastal region of southern Campania stretching away lazily to the south of Naples.

Having spent the last two summers enjoying the Bay of Salerno I needed no convincing to return. I now feel like I know the area personally, from the majestic Greek temples of Paestum, the beauty of the Isle of Capri, Amalfi's lemon-based delights and the twinkling waters of the bay, it feel as much a part of me as the red buses, buzzing tube trains and urgent bustle of my London home. It is the perfect escape from London, and in need of a solar recharge, we now regularly return for the Ferragosto season - the mid-August festival where seemingly all of Italy grinds to halt to escape from the baking mid to high 30s heat, and dip their toes into sand and sea as a reward for months of hard work.

It is easy to fall in love with this part of the world, and I have long been smitten by its blended perfection of remarkable history stretching back over two and half thousand years, exquisite scenery, lazy beaches and winding mountain paths, and of course, the food is to die for. I do love the buzz of Amalfi, its amazing history and beautiful produce, but in peak season the bus-loads of whistle-stop tourists, celebs and need-to-be-seen vacationers can ruin the recharging effect to an extent.

Sitting as it is on the Southern side of the Bay of Salerno, Agropoli and Cilento is literally opposite Amalfi. And Cilento definitely feels like the opposite. At night, Agropoli is chic and lively with street performers, strolling couples, locals enjoying an ice cream by the marina, the famous seafood skewers of cuopperia, or a pizza up to near the Castello - which during our visit had strains of opera floating out from inside towards the full moon filled sky.

When my partner found a small villa nearby and suggested we try it, I was slightly disappointed at first that we were not to be returning to the wonderful beachfront hotel in Maiori we had visited the previous summer. But within moments of arriving, my breath had literally been taken away. The quaint villa of La Civetta clings to the side of a rising ridge line a few short miles outside of Agropoli, and overlooks the town with postcard view. Beyond, the glistening waters of the bay can be seen, and the view sweeps inland across the plains of Paestum to Salerno and the Apennines.

The villa only has a few rooms, and so staying there has the feel of being hosted by a welcoming hospitable family, willing to cater to your every need. There is never more than a few other guests, and during our stay, everyone was friendly and got on really well. It is the perfect distance out of Agropoli to allow easy access to town and shops if needed, but also far enough out to feel quiet and peaceful, unaffected by the traffic of town. We got around on a motorbike, perfect for avoiding summer traffic, but if biking isn't your thing, it would be advisable to bring a car, as the road from town to the villa is quite steep.

La Civetta , meaning 'the owl', could not be more appropriate. Sitting up on its hilltop perch, La Civetta exudes rustic charm and also shares a nocturnal nature with its namesake. In the evenings, the open-air terrace comes to life, serving a gourmet array of beautifully prepared local cuisine from a carefully thought out menu that centres on choices 'terre' - of the land, and 'mare' - of the sea. But do not think that means a lack of choice - the menu offers something for everyone, and there is a beauty and local perfection in the simplicity. And Emiliano, our never-resting and always accommodating host, seems to find the time every day to source local produce of the utmost quality. The local meat products, seafood, cheeses and wines are truly exceptional. The Monkfish in sauce with pasta was a highlight. It would be easy to be lost in the mains, and forget desert, but you should not do so as it would be a huge mistake to miss the wonderfully prepared deserts that are home made by Mama. Ask in the morning for a specific dinner meal that evening and it is provided. Stroll down for breakfast at your leisure during morning service, and relax on the lower terrace as sweet or savoury options are provided - the service could not have been more perfect.

If you somehow feel the need to differ from the 'mare e terre', there is also a wood-fire oven offering piping hot and perfectly created pizzas of the standard expected in Campania. The bases are made from a home-made four-flour recipe that Emiliano makes himself.

The terrace also offers a full bar service, including local craft beers of exceptional quality, regional wines, and well-constructed cocktails. Sitting on the La Civetta terrace under a blanket of sparkling stars during the balmy evening warmth with good company, good food and a cool drink could be close to perfection. oh wait, there was also the Perseids meter showers so easily visible in the clean air of the region. It is such a pleasant place to be on a warm summer's evening that the guests of the villa are joined there every evening by smiling locals seeking a cocktail or Margherita pizza.

La Civetta is the perfect base to explore the region's multitude of offerings. Walking and horse riding in the nearby national park is close-by, and there are many nearby beaches to enjoy offering both the paid 'lido' with deck chairs and sun beds provided, or the free beach. The waters were warm, clean and clear. Close by to the south is Castellabate, the twin seaside and mountain top town made famous in the 2008 film Benvenuti al Sud, and the beaches there offer everything you're likely to want close by to shops, bars and restaurants if you want a break from the sea. Just remember everything closes for lunch and siesta for a couple of hours between around 1 and 4. At the height of summer as it was when we visited the coast road does become choked with people streaming to the beaches. But upon the considerate suggestion of Emilano, we instead took our motorbike up through the mountain pass. A gently winding road that passed through quaint ancient villages and offering panoramic views. Best of all the we owned the completely traffic-free road, and emerged at the southern end at the less crowded beaches of Marina di Ascea, close to Velia.

And of course the region is right at the heart of Magna Graecia - the ancient Greek speaking world that stretched across half of the Mediterranean and embraced the southern half of the Italian peninsular. Velia, once a major town in the ancient world and home of the philosopher Parminides, is also nearby and although the climb to its acropolis is tiring in the summer sun, the views are exceptional and the well-preserved ancient theatre made my skin crawl with excitement as I imagined watching Aristophanes with the mountain view behind the stage. Even closer the triple temples of Paestum, dating from 600BCE and more impressive and better preserved that Athens Parthenon.

It almost makes me feel guilty to reflect upon the fact that whilst those thousands of tourists were tripping over each other other along the Amalfi coast, just a few miles south on the opposite side of the bay, I was basking in a tranquility that took away months of stress as the sun soaked into my skin.

The location, food, staff and service are all top class, and not only would I heartily recommend it to everyone, I will be returning again as soon as possible.

Visited August 2014.

Date of stay: August 2014
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Robert13_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 October 2014

A little difficult to find (I'll give helpful directions later) but worth all the effort, La Civetta (The "Owl") is a small, family-run hotel & restaurant about 3kms outside Agropoli in a location which gives superb views down over Agropoli and out to sea. Emiliano was the perfect host. Nothing was too much trouble. We were the only guests as it's the end of the Italian season. The hotel has about 6 ensuite rooms. We were shown to a double room with the best views and as we are good mates and would have preferred a twin, Emiliano gave us a double room each for no extra charge. As it were we were only charged 60 euros per night including breakfast. Rooms were spotless with lovely bathrooms and everything one needed. Bed mattress could have done with being softer and the shower head needed holding in place but so what. Location was lovely and quiet. Breakfast (included) was served on the terrace overlooking Agropoli and the sea. Amazing views. Breakfast - toast, butter, home made jams, honey, croissants, cakes, fresh juice and tea/coffee. Restaurant opens on Friday nights and weekend. Traditional Pizzaria with Mamma's home cooking, Ravioli, Beef & Tiramisu were fab. Try local wines (Emiliano will help with choice. Aglianico was great) and local, on-tap lager too. Very yellow and delicious. We left on the Saturday morning to head down into Basilicata and regretted not staying there longer and eating at the restaurant again. Parking outside on road no problem. About 15 min drive into central Agropoli. We visited the Old Town which was definitely worth doing and the Via San Marco (Promenade) where we enjoyed a few hours at the Bar at Hotel Serenella. (staff were lovely). Agropoli is on the edge of the fabulous Cilento National Park (Parco Nazionale del Cilento). Must see(s) are the amazing Greek ruins and museum at Paestum which are 15 mins by car and Velia (Scavi di Velia) about 40 mins by car (Take the SS18/SP430 and follow signs to Ascea). You'll need at least 1/2 day for each. The whole region was part of Magna Grecia (Greater Greece) in the first few centuries BC. We loved the beach at Caprioli and heard that Acciaroli is worth a visit too. Pisciotta was a nice little town on the coast too.
Directions = Take the Salerno to Reggio Calabria A3 Motorway, exit at Battipaglia (Sa). Continue on the SS18 signposted Agropoli. Exit at Agropoli Sud. Come down to the main road and turn left up to Via Madonna Del Carmine ("Our Lady of Mount Carmel"). Under the railway bridge, turn right at small roundabout. Sign for La Civetta almost immediately ahead, turn left. Follow road, look for another La Civetta sign, turn left again. 2 kms up long hill road with lots of twists & turns almost to the top - La Civetta on left hand side. Job Done! After our lovely stay in Agropoli we headed south to Maratea, then east to Senise and eventually to wonderful Matera.

Date of stay: September 2014
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Henry_Morton_Stanley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 February 2014

We had a late night arrival with much difficulty finding the location. However when we finally arrived our very charming hostess showed us to our room and offered to make us dinner. We had a lovely late night 3 course dinner and a bottle of wine. The room was very clean and comfortable and we woke to the most spectacular view! Part of what the location so hard to find especially in the dark is that it is located at the top of the mountain in a very unassuming location. We will go back to visit again and hope to stay longer!

Date of stay: October 2013
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank ItsAboutTheTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2013

My husband and I stayed here in June 2012 and stayed regrettably only one night. Had we known the area was so beautiful we would have stayed long enough to explore the attractions nearby. The room was most comfortable, the breakfast was fantastic and Marco, the host, made us feel very welcome. We had a car but had difficulty finding our way so called Marco and he met us at the railway station and escorted us there. The view from our balcony was amazing and memorable. Wifi was excellent. We would love to return.

Room tip: The room with the balcony if it is available.
Date of stay: June 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Bronson137
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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