Bill and I were very fortunate to have visited Il Rifugio last year for a week in February and during the small window in the Summer when we could travel. We had two glorious weeks at the end of July with my daughter and her family.
We wanted to experience a variety of activities, and one of the most exhilarating was the Zip Line at Cilento in Volo in Trentinara, approximately 20 minutes drive from the house. We booked the tickets online before we left home and although I was quite apprehensive, it was the most amazing experience for all of us, and I will definitely do it again. The drive up to Trentinara itself takes you through some lovely villages and the views from the top are absolutely beautiful. I have attached some photos to tempt you! On the way back to Agropoli, you can also drive the route which takes you past Tenuta Vannolu, the Buffalo Farm to see the Mozzarella being made and to taste the buffalo ice-cream – another not to be missed visit!
We also had a trip to the local vineyard, 10 minutes from the house, which was arranged by Nigel. You have a guided tour with Assunta the owner of the Marino vineyard, who speaks very good English. Our tour included wine tasting with wines which accompanied a freshly cooked meal. It really is a great way to spend a few hours and taste some great wines. You can buy some to take away too!
We organised some cooking lessons (via Nigel) which take place at Il Rifugio with chef Dominique Amendola (assisted by Sous Chef Nigel) who specialises in traditional Cilentan dishes. Lessons are usually for a maximum of 2 people due to space in the kitchen. All the food that is cooked is then eaten by all for lunch – perfect! Back in February Bill and his brother Derek learnt how to make pasta and accompanying sauces, and in July our Son-in-law Frank and his daughter Daisy also had a lesson, a prawn pasta dish with a fresh tasty salad and homemade bread. Dominique will suggest some dishes to make with ingredients that are in season, but you can always request specific dishes if you wish. We also tasted Dominique’s own version of Tiramasu – Mikkamasu! Which is absolutely delicious. Dominique will also cater for private dinner parties for special occasions. Costs all depend on the ingredients used and the amount of people eating.
If anyone is interested in learning Italian while at Il Rifugio, lessons can be arranged with Toni Amoroso, (again through Nigel). Toni is an English lady of Italian heritage who now lives 15 minutes from Il Rifugio across the valley, and will come to the house by arrangement.
I’m sure some of you have already discovered ‘Nona Rosa’ the bakery at the bottom of the hill. This is a tiny bakery where the bread, rolls, pastries, pizza are cooked fresh every morning, so for those of you who have not yet been, this is a must for fresh bread for breakfast, and is only 5 minutes from the house. They also sell other essentials, milk etc. if you do not want to drive to the supermarket.
I thought you might like to see the picture of the puzzle my daughter bought for me as a Christmas present – some of you may recognise the place. We were so surprised when we saw it was a picture of Santa Maria, Castellebate, a beautiful town on the coast some 15/20 minutes drive from Agropoli, where we visited several times during our visit. The reason we were surprised is that it is an actual picture taken by my daughter which was made into a puzzle – and I am in the picture – you can see the back of me in the bottom right hand corner! This is a must visit town, as it has everything, beautiful beaches, restaurants, shops, and up the hill at Borgo Castellebate the most amazing views. You can stroll through the medieval streets, eat at the restaurants, of course eat a gelato – again this is a must visit.
Hope the above is of interest. Kind regards, Jan