|KATE AND GRAHAM AT IMORESANI, SOUTHERN ITALY
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ANOTHER LITTLE GEM - EVARISTO PEREZ, NEAR ARACENA, SPAIN
|Q. Where is i Moresani?
A. On the west coast of Italy, about 2 -3 hours drive south of Naples, and an hour or so south of Salerno. Casal Velino is 4.5 km from the sea at Marina di Casal Velino. Marina di.....with the same name as an adjacent inland village seems common in this area. iMoresani is about 1.5km up the road from the village of Casal Velino.
Q. Is iMoresani remote and quiet?
A. Quiet, but not remote. There are no adjacent roads, and there is no traffic passing by. At night the silence is complete. Bear in mind, though, this is also a working farm, so at certain times of the year there may be noise from machinary, or whatever. (Only an assumption).
Q. How far is the village from i Moresani?
A. About 1.5km down the hill. It's always uphill coming back form the pub, so what do you expect:-) You can walk down the twisty road, or take a shorter, but steep route via a wide, well used track that starts at the bottom of the Via Giordani in the village square - opposite the cafe bar with the flags outside. It is a good huffing puffing hill!!! Take a torch at night for the last half of the walk. If you walk at a decent pace it's perhaps 20 mins back up the track.
You can walk down to the Marina di Casal Velino using two or three routes not on the road, but it's a hell of a hill on the way back!
Q. What's in the village?
A. Apart from the houses, there is the town hall, cemetery etc, a fruit/veg shop. There are four bars that we found, five including the gelati place There is a a restaurant in the village that we didn't get around to trying. Apart from this and the iMoresani restaurant, it's down to the Marina area. This is a town in its own rite where the Italians take their hols so there are a number of restaurants and bars.
Q. What can we do here?
A. Depends on you. This is a good area for walking or just wandering the olive grove tracks - not high mountain stuff, but more Derbyshire Dales or Cumbria. Loads of tracks to do mountain biking (check on legalities first as this is supposition). There are nice beaches at the marina area and along the coast. Horses are on tap. You could always help till the land. To be honest, if the sun is shining, there isn't much incentive to venture far at all as the place is so peaceful and lovely with a great pool and garden area. We had ideas of visiting volcanos and buried cities, fancy gardens, but couldn't be bothered to leave the place.
Q. What's the accommodation like?
I 2005 we stayed in one of the BB rooms. It is a decent sized room, with big bed, bedside cabinets, chest of drawers, wardrobe, couple of straight backed chairs and mini fridge with mini bar - you can fit your own stuff in this. The bathroom is ensuite with toilet, bidet, shower and huge basin.In 2007 we stayed in the small apartment - as with the BB rooms with the addition of a small kitchen/diner. Plenty of plates, pots and pans and a double hot plate hob. By Uk standards it looks spartan, but this is the continental way - tiled floors, white washed walls, noisy plumbing. No telly (yippee), radio, or clock. No aircon. Windows with nets and shutters - all you need.
Finally, I must say that the place is absolutely immaculate, spotlessly clean from entrance to exit. Have no fear on this front.
Q. What's the iMoresani food like?
Simple, but delicious describes it. If you're familiar with the French 'Plat du jour' or Spanish 'Menu del dia' its very similar. Not a lot of choice, but what you get is plentiful, simple, filling and delicious. If you ask for or get given the complete menu, it is 3 dishes without the pud, so don't stuff yourself with the bread and anti pasti! You've got pasta and main course to come yet.
Q. Car hire - do I need a car, if so where from?
A. All the normal hire companies hire from Napoli airport. We got ours through EconomyCarHire, a company we have used loads of times in Europe. We have also used Carjeta few times as well as others. They just happened to be the cheapest at the time with no excess payment in the event of damage. Economycarhire are agents, so the actual hire company was 'Cars of Scicily'. Their office isn't in the arrivals terminal, but at the airport car hire compound, about 800 metres from the airport itself. This is no problem as everyone who hires a car must catch the little minibus from just outside the arrivals hall to the car compound. (Find the car hire desks, go outside and just to your right is a bus stop like thing where a minibus stops to drop off/pick up. In 2007 we flew to Rome Ciampioni - Cars of Scicily again.
Whether you need a car is up to you. If you want to get around, yes. If you're happy to stay around iMoresani, do a walk or two locally, ride horses, go to the beach, negotiate with Gino some lifts, use taxis, then perhaps not. This was probably our most underused hire ever, but was essential to visit othe areas.
Q. Can we get walking maps of the area?
A. Yes, but get them all in the UK, well before departure. Even the Monte Stella booklet mentioned below. Stanfords and Maps Worldwide do the 1:50000 military maps at 14 quid each. The relevent sheets are numbers '503 Vallo Della Lucania', '502 Agropoli' (90 percent sea), '519 Capo Palinuro'. There are 1:25000 maps that take a few weeks to arrrive. Both Stanfords and MapsWorldwide sell maps of the area. If you can get hold of the local guide below, you may be able to do without the 1:25000 maps as the pack has the relevent sections of the map in it.
In 2005, a nice surprise when we arrived was finding that a pack costing 3 euros was available from most tourimos (inc the iMoresani office) with a number of walks in detail with parts of the 1:25000 maps included as separate sheets with each walk. In 2007 we couldn't find any locally. Gino has one walk (13 from Casal Velino to Acciaroli) translated into English. All the others are in Italian, but are being translated. Checking with the Publisher, he hopes to have the English and German versions available in early 2008. The pack is published by the Genius Loci Turismo.
Q. Do I need to speak Italian?
A. No - but it helps. To put it in perspective we progressed as far as CD2 (of 8) on the Michel Thomas Italian course and managed to ask basic questions, please, thankyou etc.. To answer the qusetion another way, very few people in this area speak any English. A phrase book is a big help, but also bring a small dictionary to translate menus, notices and the like. It's not a case of people not wanting to speak English like in France - they genuinely don't. It's back to the waiter drawing pics on his pad to describe a swordfish steak.
Like most places, if you pre-learn and attempt at least a few words of please, thanks, hello, can i have a ..., please etc your effort is warmly received and rewarded.
Gino and two or three others at iMoresani speak a little English (Marco speaks good english) - if all else fails use the Google translator in the office. It bailed up out a couple of times when we just couldn't make each other understood.
Q. Any other British people here?
Generally, no. Those who make it this far south tend to hang a right out of Salerno to the the Amalfi coast. You will be a bit of an oddity being British.(if you indeed, are a Brit). A number of Germans and Dutch, and of course, Italians holiday here.
Q. Any downsides?
A. A marginal possible downside may be that if you are B & Bing and the weather is inclement, there are no undercover communal areas apart from the restaurant area. There are chairs in your room. But hey ho, there are four bars down the road to waste time in, or you could do the culture stuff like visit volcanos or Pompei, or castles or Paestum, or God forbid, the Amalfi coast.
Q. Will we go back to iMoresani?
A. We have visited twice now - but yes, we will return.
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