Hotel Marulivo, Pisciotta, Cilento National Park
Simple but extremely stylish, this former 14th century monastery has been converted to offer a little touch of heaven between the sea and lemon groves of southern Italy.
Architect owner Leah bought the property in 2000 and spent seven years refurbishing a building that had essentially remained untouched for 100 years. She now runs the hotel with husband Massimo, providing flawless service and an enviable attention to detail.
Set in the heart of medieval Pisciotta, the lofty building looks out towards the coastline, over gardens that cascade down the hillside, punctuated with mini-terraces furnished with wrought-iron, white-cushioned furniture. On every level, terracotta pots and pebble-filled beds are planted with palms, cacti and bougainvillea.
Breakfast – fruit, delicious yoghurt topped with creamy walnuts and a basket packed with croissants and flaky pastry treats – is served on the panoramic terrace with spectacular sea views.
The main entrance to the hotel is off a narrow alleyway into a cool courtyard with a reception area and mini-library. Situated on multiple levels, stairs lead down to the bedrooms, past landings packed with exquisite antique furniture. Bedrooms are individually styled, some with terracotta flooring, exposed stone walls and powder blue shaded cupboards and doors. Choose from three types of bedroom – Classic, Superior and Junior Suites – all with small balconies (standing) or big picture windows and contemporary bathrooms.
There is no restaurant but the lively Osteria del Borgo, just around the corner, is an excellent option, with an open air veranda and plenty of local seafood and pasta. There is also a good restaurant down in Pisciotta marina, around 5-10 minutes by car (hotel shuttle service available).
Situated on the outskirts of the medieval historic centre of Pisciotta, surrounded by breath-taking views over the blue sea, coastal hills, and olive and lemon groves, the hotel provides an extraordinary glimpse of authentic Italian village life.
Pisciotta’s narrow alleys and stairways, are fringed with palazzi and houses that date back to the 16th century and in the evenings, locals gather at the few bars or outside the gelateria while children run up and down the stairs that border the main piazza. The historic centre of Pisciotta is off limits to cars and motorcycles, but it is possible to park in a communal car park in the centre or in a private space reserved by the hotel.
Beaches in the area are sandy, with the option of sunbeds and umbrellas, with clear blue seas. It is also possible to rent boats or arrange diving and snorkelling trips in the marina. Boat trips depart from Palinuro and Scario to some of the tinier bays and caves.
Owner Leah is passionate about the area and will help you plan meticulously everything from visits to the best beaches to boat trips and excursions inland. For an insight into the Cilento’s ancient past, visit the sites at Velia and Paestum. The Oasi Morigerati, a WWF site, is an excellent introduction to the Cilento’s natural landscape – here you can follow paths through the forest to a huge cave and the spot where the Bussento river gushes out from underground.
A little further inland, the magnificent UNESCO-listed Certosa di Padula, Europe’s largest Carthusian monastery, and the nearby town of Teggiano are well worth a visit.
A 7-night stay sharing a superior double room with sea view starts at £ 490 per person on a BB basis and including fully comprehensive car hire.
(Travel between 24/04 and 28/05 and from 09/10 to 29/10)
Prices are subject to availability, special offers and current exchange rate.
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Marina di Pisciotta
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