jueves, 24 de abril de 2008

Villa Beatrice --- Belvedere di Fiaiano, Ischia

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Villa Beatrice was constructed in the traditional Mediterranean style: thick stone walls and red terra cotta tiled roof. It was designed, built and furnished by a career diplomat whose various posts and extensive travels enabled him to gather a delightfully eclectic collection of statues, tapestries, rugs, furniture and ornamentals. The paintings are largely European, with a well-rounded collection of Mediterranean gouaches forming the nucleus. Many are of the mountain Vesuvius, destroyer and preserver of Pompeii and Herculeum. The villa combines the beauty of antiquity with modern convenience.
The villa is built into the side of a hill, so that all three floors have access to sun- drenched terraces, shaded areas and the surrounding land. The 4,500-square-meter gardens afford privacy, freedom of movement and views of the Mediterranean, including the island of Procida, (setting of the beautiful film "Il Postino") the ancient island castle Argonese guarding the port of Ischia (as seen in the film "The Talented Mr. Ripley"), and the great volcano Vesuvius, dominating the bay of Naples.
The library of approximately 2,800 volumes is on the third floor, and includes an extensive assortment of books on art, history, exploration, literature, religion, philosophy, and political periodicals. There are also guides to Ischia, the sister islands of Capri and Procida, and such nearby mainland attractions as Pompeii, Herculeum, Naples, the Amalfi Coast and Paestum. The library at Villa Beatrice is an excellent center from which to study Italian culture from north to south, in all its variety. Most volumes are in English, with many in Italian, German and French. There is a study area at one end with a view of islands in the ever present Mediterranean.
The living room is the largest room, with antique tiles, two circles of chairs and couches, a desk at one end, other antiques dispersed throughout, and an open marble fireplace. There is also a CD stereo and a television. The living room exits onto the central terrace with hand crafted stone grill and outdoor dining area by way of a jasmine-covered loggia.
The adjoining dining room also exits onto the central terrace where the temperate climate and garden enhance the pleasure of outdoor dining.

The kitchen, separated from the dining room by a service alcove, was completely renovated and refurbished at the end of 1999 and beginning of 2000. It is equipped with a modern refrigerator-freezer, five-burner grill, oven and broiler stove, dishwasher, and two sinks, all recessed in or arranged around a black granite counter top with wall tiles and cherrywood cabinets. Everything needed to prepare and serve sumptuous Italian repasts is provided in an efficient and pleasant environment.
The third floor bedroom, with adjoining bathroom and study, was completely renovated in 2000-2001 and has a private loggia with views of the garden below. There is another small terrace outside an independent exterior door that leads directly to the gardens and then to the pool. The bed is queen-sized. The en-suite bathroom has separate shower and two person tub.
One of the second floor bedrooms has a queen-sized bed, en-suite bathroom with separate shower and bathtub, and its own outdoor garden loggia. The other second floor bedroom has a double bed, private arched porch overlooking gardens, and an en-suite bathroom with combined tub and shower. The three ground floor bedrooms are configured as follows: one with two single joinable beds which has an en-suite bathroom with tub and shower, one with two single joinable beds that shares a shower bathroom with another smaller bedroom that has a single bed.
All six bedrooms are elegantly decorated with tapestries, paintings and furniture. All have bedside reading lights, ample closet space, and new orthopedic mattresses. The five bathrooms were all completely renovated and refurbished from 1998-2001.
In the gardens, a stone walkway meanders amidst secluded stone benches, flower beds, a shaded hammock area, four terraces conveniently dispersed at different altitudes (with sit-down and lie-down chairs, tables, and a three-meter-by-two-meter canvas and wood umbrella on the pool terrace) swimming pool with a fountain of Poseidon (open from mid-May to mid-October), large stone barbecue and hundreds of evergreens, (including ten or so Redwood potted saplings, both semper virens and gigantium varieties,) oak, orange, lemon, grapefruit, cherry, apple, palm, circas, mimosa, magnolia and olive trees. Roses, camellia, bougainvillea, geranium, iris, pansies, begonia, pumblaca, dahlia, crocus beds, lavender and numerous other flowers are spread throughout the garden, highlighted with ivy beds, herbs, bamboo groves, hedges and grapes.
The sea, a five-minute car or short bus drive away, is visible from most parts of the property.

With its many beautiful beaches, Ischia provides swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, windsurfing, boating, water-skiing, and tours of the island. It is famous for its natural hot spring spas. Tennis, soccer, health club facilities and excellent walks are also available. Despite its tranquility, the island also has many excellent cafes, bars, restaurants and a few nightclubs.
The rental fee includes all utilities except heating and phone, which is monitored by an in-house meter. There is a washing machine, and weekly change of linen is provided. Guests have full use of the library. Garden and pool maintenance and immaculate daily housekeeping are also provided at no additional charge. A cook, baby-sitter and driver with or without car are made available for an additional charge on an as-needed basis. The villa is available year-round as it is equipped with central heating and three wood burning terra cotta heaters along with the open central fireplace. The minimum stay is one week.
Some Additional Information:
Pietro Agnese is the custodian and he has been affiliated with the place since 1970. He is a delightful and completely responsible man, non intrusive yet maintaining the place in top notch condition. He also is the latest Agnese in many generations of wine makers responsible for the family vineyards. His delicious, light, dry, earthy wine is available for a song. He lives right down the road from the villa. Give him a call on his cellular and he will pick you up on the docks.
Villa Beatrice offers an excellent driver for pick up from and/or drop off to Rome Airport, Naples Airport, Naples Train Station, or anywhere else. His name is Filippo Silvestri and his web site is http://www.ischiacarservice.com/. In addition to the obvious benefits he can actually be more reasonably priced than alternatives, especially when there are a number of guests. He pays tolls, gas, and ferry fees (which he gets the residence rate on.) He also does guided tours. Please make arrangements with him directly.
Tennis is nearby with a clay court at Fiaiano and hard court at Testaccio.
A tried and trusted private boat tour of the island and natural hot water springs along the shore is available.
There is a beach umbrella.
The villa's produce is at your disposal.
Should you wish, Pietro and the chef, have arranged a selective, delicious and reasonably-priced menu for your enjoyment. There is also a vegetarian selection.
Our neighbor Vincenzo's restaurant Bella Vista is 300 meters away, has wonderful food with a lovely view and he will have you picked up and dropped off from the Villa if wished, for no charge.
Even closer (200 meters) is Franco's Rosa de Venti restaurant.
The nearby natural mineral water spring located beneath the town of Buonopane and above Barano is well worth a visit as of course are the exotic spa's of Poseidon, NGombo and Cassamicciolla.
There is a phone meter which must be read with Pietro upon arrival and departure.
There is a 220 volt to 110 volt adapter which is available, as well as extra phone jacks for internet connection.
Best regards and have a lovely vacation!