Here is our feedback:-( in essay form! ) Stanstead-( no problem of yours) but a nightmare, probably next time we would prefer to go from Manchester to Naples and drive down with a stop en route!
We had a straightforward drive down to Scilla in the rain believe it or not! and were met as you know by our charming hostess Nella. What can I say about Nella! I'm sure if you have met her then you will know what a personality she is. She was wonderful, made us so welcome and provided us with marvellous breakfasts. We loved her to bits and felt quite sad to be leaving both her and such a charming place as Scilla. Nella works so hard to make her establishment so successful and deserves to be given the highest possible praise.
La Veduta is a real gem, we would stay there again in a moment. The situation is stunning, to be so close to the sea was amazing and the views were gorgeous and full of interest. My husband loved watching the swordfish boats going out each morning and we enjoyed watching the many wedding photographs that took place below our balcony.
Thank you so much for your suggestion to stay there it was very special. Scilla itself too we really enjoyed, the little fishing village was utterly charming and the beach at the Marina Grande was lovely- not to mention the gelato!
We found most of the restaurants very good with excellent food and service, in particular, Il Principe di Scilla ( run by Nella's daughter although we didn't know that when at the time that we went), Ristorante Glauco and the wine bar Civico were excellent, if very different. The only exception was Il Casado, where we had a very poor meal, I'm sure my meat had been frozen, it had absolutely no flavour and my husband's fish didn't look fresh either, very poor with the sea a doorstep away. It was also the most expensive and the service was bad and the waiters surly and unwelcoming.
However generally speaking we found the Calabrese people to be charming, very helpful, polite and they all made us feel very much at home and very welcome in their lovely village.
We did a fair bit of travelling around in the area and managed to get to Reggio Calabria to see the Riace bronzes in the museum-absolutely stunning. We also visited the amazing abandoned village of Pentadatillo, very atmospheric and quite beautiful.
We had quite an adventure getting to Tropea, the directions we had been coming down from the north from Pizzo, we, of course, were coming from the South, so we got off the motorway at Milleto and followed a signpost to Tropea-so far so good but after about 5 mins we were in the deepest darkest Calabrian countryside with no signposts in sight, so lots of fun winding down narrow roads dodging chicken, snakes and Italian motor motorist! Say no more!
Once in Tropea we found the hotel without too much difficulty thanks to the map.
Hotel was lovely, fantastic views of the sea and beach and marvellous views at sunset of the Stromboli volcano smoking away, which were quite mesmerising.
Our room was great, I would probably have preferred to have a room with a sea view balcony rather than a garden room as they are not terribly private, but it was excellently appointed and the staff were extremely courteous, polite, discreet yet helpful. Again we would not hesitate to go back there if in the area. There was lots to enjoy about Tropea, and it has many good restaurants, we found lots of nice Osteria's and Trattorias off the main streets. For example, Osteria Antico Androne, and Il Cantastorie were both great. Again as in Scilla, we found everyone to be so helpful, friendly and welcoming and very forgiving of our poor attempts at Italian! The coastline of Capo Vaticano is absolutely lovely, the beaches generally are excellent and its lovely to see them laid out more naturally and in not quite such a military precision order as is the way if so many of Italian coastal resorts. For example the Tuscany or Naples and the Amalfi or Liguria coast.
The last hotel Gullo, was very good, perfect for a last stop before the airport- once we found it! Had we had sat nav or a decent map we might have been ok, but our map showed Curinga so off we set climbing higher and higher into the mountains. We arrived in Curinga, which looked to be a lovely village set high above the coast. We looked at the directions you sent us, couldn't find any of the roads, asked a local who directed us back down the mountain to Accona di Curinga which is a tiny place, not on the map but on the coast just a short hop off the motorway! Our fault I'm sure and I did keep wondering as we were driving up the mountain why you would put us up there when we had an early flight the next day!! By the time we found it, we were hot, tired and thirsty so collapsed around the pool in the garden and didn't move until it was cocktail time before dinner!
We decided to eat at the hotel a Gullo, and I have to say that it was a fantastic dinner and one of the best if not the best we had in our whole stay.
All in all we had a great time, we enjoyed Calabria very much and have some fantastic memories to look back on. We enjoyed the unspoilt countryside and coastal areas. We loved the Calabresi, we found them to be wonderful, almost without exception we found them to be some of the nicest, kindest and most helpful people that we have encountered anywhere we have ever travelled. We would definitely like to return to Calabria and the Basilicata region, both rather wild and beautiful. We might like to perhaps visit places before Lamezia, perhaps from Maratea down, and get to see Diamante, Amantea and Scalea, although I think we would love to return to Scilla sometime as it now holds a special place in our hearts and minds!
Next time we would probably stay (as you recommended) about 3 nights in each place to enable us to see more of the area as due to the mountains getting from place to place is not as straightforward as we thought, but well worth the effort.
Thank you so very much for all your time, trouble. and expertise in organising the holiday for us. We would not hesitate to ask The Italian Connection to organise another trip for us in the future, we would never have found such wonderful places to stay without your help.
My only suggestion for improvement would be that it would be most helpful if a map or some sort of written directions ( like we had for the Hotel Rocca ) were provided with the hotel voucher. It would save a lot of time driving around unfamiliar places, especially if you don't speak Italian and can't ask for directions. Especially as in the case of La Veduta as the entrance is just a door in the wall in a narrow street, even the locals we asked didn't know of it although I can't believe they wouldn't know Nella!
I hope this helps, I have also done reviews in trip advisor for all three hotels (B&B). Sorry, this is so long but it's difficult to summarise such a different holiday that we have enjoyed except perhaps to say Fantastico! Many many thanks for helping to make it so Judith and Rod Rees