B & B La Corte in Sant’ Antimo di Napoli is not easy to find. If you search Sant’Antimo on Google, you will easily confuse it with the well known Augustinian Abby of the same name in Tuscany, where the Gregorian chant is the most sublime in all of Europe.
But Sant’Antimo di Napoli is worth the search because it takes you to the heart of Campania and the South, the emotional heartland of Italy.
If you search for Sant’Antimo in Napoli on Google, you will immediately understand the limitations of the search engine. The town is described as an Italian commune of approximately 30,000 residents; there is some mention of its Civic Administration centro -sinistra and the reminiscence of a social industrial past came to mind as we followed one of the major thoroughfares, the Corso Unione Sovietica, toward via Cesare Battisti, which would have been hard to find even with the best voice guided GPS system. Thanks to the courtesy of a local café owner, who volunteered t o drive ahead, we were able to follow him through the meandering streets and laneways, where cars, pedestrians, bicycles, prams, the young and the not so young fight for every inch of the overcrowded streets. The café owner led us right to the gate and at last we heard the warm voice of our hostess bid us: "Joseph, come in." I was particularly impressed by the exhortation embossed on the outer wall, from the Ave maris stella, a medieval hymn to the Virgin Mary, protector of wayfarers and seafarers, “Monstra te esse matrem”, a direct invocation so typical of the South, bathed in sun, surrounded by the sea, and protected by its Saints.
It is here that we met Angelo and Romy, who introduced us to their Oasi di Pace within the confines of an enclosed and stately courtyard, lined with white Roman arches and paved with Vesuvian black volcanic rock, with a row of comfortable and tastefully decorated air-conditioned rooms and surrounded by facing mezzanine terraces.
We spent the first week of August in the 17th century family home of our hosts, who were also largely responsible for the renovations throughout the home, which included 18 foot ceilings. The high walls were decorated with a wide range of modern paintings by Romy and the antique collections of Angelo. The balcony overlooked a typical Neapolitan neighbourhood: balcony to balcony was only the distance of the narrow streets below. Both the breakfast and our hosts were generous at morning and at night, when we were often invited to join them …dopo la cena… for home made granite from locally grown lemons, biscotti and digestives. As summer fireworks are frequent in Sant’Antimo, Angelo boasted that they had prepared a summer feast for Joseph, Hélène and Gisèle. With the family and friends of Angelo and Nardy, we enjoyed pleasant evenings beneath the stars.
They also prepared us for the discovery of the Bay of Naples with judicious advice, maps and itineraries. “Avoid being too ostentatious with jewelry and cameras” they cautioned; “if you are up to a 25 minute walk, use the suburban trains and travel to Piazza Garibaldi in downtown, Naples or to the countryside at Caserta.” And they were right; it didn’t take us long to discover the versatility of Italian trains. With a simple day pay pass we could take the Sant'Antimo train and transfer to the Circumvesuviana and visit all the wonderful sites at Pompey, Herculaneum, Oplontis and Sorrento; another pass allowed us onto the Metro system in Naples and no visit to Pompey is complete without a visit to the National Museum of Archaeology where the delicate Mosaics and frescos from 1st Century Pompey are now kept; in addition to the versatility of the trains, we were also able to take the Metro del Mare and visit Pozzuoli, Ischia and Capri; Mediterranean day cruises that allow you to see the places where St. Paul first disembarked in Italy or meander along the Via Krupp overlooking the azure of the sea from the Gardens of Augustus. Discover the entrance to Hades for the Ancient Greeks and the place of Aeneas’ meeting with the Sybil at Cumae.
Of course we saw far too little, but thanks to the generosity of our hosts, we shall be encouraged to return.
Joseph Blain, Montreal
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This aristocratic house is in the heart of the historical little town of Sant'Antimo, 10 km. from Naples, 12 km.from Caserta and near Pompei and Herculaneum with the motorway. It was built in the 1600's, it's grouped around a large courtyard paved in stones from Vesuvius. In the middle, a magnificent palm. This is an ideal place for going for some trips and running away from the stress of the metropolis. You can find the relax you've lost! The building has been lovingly restored to its former splendour by your hostess, an artist whose atelier is on the round floor. The big rooms are new and well furnishes, completely autonomies from the house, with private bathrooms and air-conditioned. The breakfast is served in the dining room. You can eat some delectable of specialties of the region Campania, like the sfogliatella napoletana. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- B&B La Corte Italy/Province Of Naples