Cottage apartment with 2 dbl bedrooms, bathroom & living room with kitchenette.
Laura Whinney & Dick Bayne
- english, french, italian
About Laura Whinney & Dick Bayne
We (Dick and Laura) both spent many years, from the 1990s onwards, working for walking-holiday companies - particularly in Italy. In 2002 we took a break and spent 6 months walking the whole length of Italy, from the toe of the boot in Calabria to the border with France at Ventimiglia. Of all the amazing places and landscapes we encountered, we were most attracted to the Majella. In 2004 we bought 31 Decontra - a shell with rudimentary wiring and no plumbing - and worked alongside local builders and craftsmen to renovate the cottage and preserve its original features.
Laura Whinney & Dick Bayne purchased this Cottage in 2004
Why Laura Whinney & Dick Bayne chose
I hope some of the photos will speak for themselves. We love Decontra for the sense of space and peace it offers. The landscape (sorry to bang on about it) really is extraordinary - walking, or just sitting and looking, is endlessly rewarding. The village is still a very real little Italian community - a tiny bit reserved at first, but then wonderfully friendly and welcoming. Caramanico and the surrounding area offer everything that the more famous regions of Italy do, but without the masses of other visitors.
What makes this Cottage unique
The house and garden invite one to just stop..... There is always something that catches the eye - great flagstones on the sitting room floor, watching the early morning sun hitting the mountain tops without needing to lift one's head off the pillow, and in the garden - the smell of lavender and wild mint, a lizard basking on an old stone wall, the burble of the village fontana, and the amazing views of Monte Amaro, Monte Morrone and the Orfento Gorge.
Check-in: 4:00 PM
Check-out: 10:00 AM
Children not allowed
100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date. 50% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date.
Another great stay at 31 Decontra
Our second visit, this time for longer! Accommodation is really great - a very sympathetic renovation with modern comforts. The garden is the most excellent space, we especially used the vine terrace - great for watching the world go by, listening to the sounds of the village and surrounding area and watching the night sky.
The local vegetable and bread deliveries were excellent and we enjoyed the walks from the house as well as further afield. Laura and Dick made us so welcome and the evening spent at the agritourismo will stay with us for many years- the amazing music and performance, wonderful, simple food and great company.
Talking of which, the almost resident cat together with numerous other cats and friendly local dogs are another lovely feature of this delightful village and helped us not miss our pets too much. We also felt very welcome by the village.
You have to want to go to Decontra- it is up a steep and winding road, but so worth it. Authentic Italy. Thank you again for a great stay. I am sure we will have to return again.
31 Decontra is about as close to paradise as you can get.
If you want stunning scenery, peace and tranquility, great walking countryside and a chance to experience village life in rural Abbruzzo then this is the place for you. Laura and Dick have thought of every last detail in this stylish and very comfortable property, and have been incredibly helpful with advice on walks, beaches, day trips and restaurants, even making bookings for us at the local restaurant and at the agri tourismo a couple of doors away. We can't wait to book again next year.
Outstanding accommodation in a unspoiled area
Outstanding accommodation in a very beautiful and quiet area
We stayed here for 8 nights.We agreed fully with the prior reviews,
which are all - quite deserved - very positive.So please read them again
and know things have not changed in the period we were here,except for
the arrival of a second fridge (see review of 11-09-2016).
Cees and Dini G. from Holland
Best views ever, beautiful restored house
We enjoyed every minut of our stay!
The book of Paolo ( shepperd and peasant who lived his whole life in Decontra) which we received when we arrived, was a good start to experience village feel en undergo the villagelife, the people, cats, dogs, birds, frogs, the environement, the everchanging amazing views and the tranquility of this gorgious spot. We loved walking in this surroundings, at number 1 the Great walk to the Orfento Gorge, which was quite thrilling. And what a joy we had at Marisa’s place, a very nice agriturismo next door, serving excellent food.
We thank Laura and Dick that they made it possible to spend some time in their fantastic house with the beautiful garden and for their grand hospitality. We rented a lot of houses through the years but this property and location is definitely one of the best!
Beautiful setting, wonderful hosts!
My husband and I stayed at this cottage for 5 nights and could not have hoped for a better experience! Nestled in a small, friendly mountain town, the home offers rest and relaxation with opportunities for hiking and exploring the area--refreshingly 'un-touristy', an absolute authentic Italian experience. Dick and Laura have done an excellent job restoring the home with modern comforts while keeping the patina and historical details intact. The hosts provide easy-to-follow, detailed directions to the house and a comprehensive guide to towns, hikes, restaurants, etc. in the surrounding area--thank you for these, they were invaluable! Highlights of our stay included enjoying a delicious dinner at the Agritourismo Pietrantica next door, exploring Caramanico Terme and the quaint hill town of Roccacaramanico, taking a peek inside the nearby Chiesa San Tommaso, visiting Santo Spirito a Majella (built on the side of a cliff!), and hiking some of the 'easy' trails near the house. On one morning, we bought a loaf of bread from the 'bread man' who makes his rounds through the town a couple of mornings each week, tooting his horn to announce his arrival--loved it! The restaurant in town, Il Cervo, had excellent, reasonably-priced food in a cozy atmosphere. The staff was very helpful and friendly (and especially patient with our limited Italian!). Last but not least, we had the pleasure of meeting 91 year-old Decontra resident Paolo Sanelli, author of the auto-biographical book 'My Dreams Have All Been of the Maiella'--we were thrilled that he had the opportunity to sign our book.
We will forever treasure the memories of our stay at this cottage and hope to return one day :) Thank you, Dick and Laura!!
We are SO grateful we had the opportunity to stay in this sweet stone cottage in the hills of Decontra, overlooking the Orfento gorge in the beautiful Appenine Mountains. Once you get past the breathtaking views and amazing light, you realize you are somewhere very special. And if you're lucky enough to meet Laura and Dick, the owners who restored the property, you'll see why it's so special. We came to Italy to explore normal, everyday life in three different areas of this country, and we have to admit that this region just. Took. Our breath away.
Our stay here will always be in our hearts and minds, and for so many reasons. Laura and Dick are amazing neighbors and hosts...so down-to-earth, thoughtful and thought-filled, accommodating, willing to share their experiences, and just in general great people to know. We happened to arrive a little bedraggled, and they helped us in so many ways...from where the nearest pharmacy was, to offering us safe haven for our growing mountain of laundry, to making reservations for us at the agriturismo next door, where we had the opportunity to meet their lovely neighbor Marisa and her 91-year-old father-in-law, a retired shepherd and lifelong inhabitant of this area.
And the cottage...WOW. Beautiful vaulted masonry ceilings, terra cotta floors, and the feel of a traditional cottage in a tiny village, yet all the modern accoutrements, including a modern stove and an awesome sunlit shower. If you get a chance, take a look at the photo album documenting the restoration of the property. You will be amazed. And the property itself....just beautiful. We spent every morning trying to decide where to have our morning coffee. The views are beautiful from every spot. This a beautiful, quiet place to rest and ruminate, and a wonderful place to come home to every night from exploring the other parts of Abruzzo.
We can't say enough about this beautiful home in the mountains of one of the most beautiful provinces of Italy. Laura and Dick, thank you so much for your hospitality, and for sharing your beautiful labor of love with us for a few days.
Getting There and Around:
Car hire is essential for a stay in Decontra as it is a rural area not served by public transport.
Decontra is an hour's drive from Pescara airport, which has regular flights from London Stansted. Alternatively, a variety of daily flights leave the UK for Rome's Ciampino and Fiumicino airports, respectively 2½ and 3 hour's drive from Decontra. The drive from Rome is by motorway through beautiful mountain scenery and not much traffic.
Decontra is in a magnificent position on the lip of the huge Orfento Gorge, with south-facing views of the mountains of Amaro and Morrone. The house is at the heart of the village - an end of terrace cottage in an elevated position with gardens on three sides and beautiful views. There are some wonderful walks to discover from the door, whether you wish to explore a gorge, discover an ancient rock hermitage, gaze from a mountaintop or simply enjoy leisurely picnics surrounded by magnificent views.
The village of Decontra has only been connected to the outside world since the 1970’s – until then it had no electricity, and no road. Today, some of the 70 or so inhabitants still work the surrounding fields or graze their flocks of sheep and goats on the mountainside. Many houses are empty – some owned by families who have emigrated as far as Canada and Australia. Other villagers have moved closer to the valley but return at weekends to visit family and spend the summer in their “real” home. There is a popular restaurant - Il Cervo which is usually open at weekends, and the village is visited by mobile suppliers bringing fresh bread, fruit and vegetables, and cured meats and cheeses.
The spa town of Caramanico Terme is a 10 min drive from Decontra and has a pretty historic centre, shops, banks, bars, restaurants, churches, spas and a public outdoor pool! There is also a Visitors Centre which has a small museum and an otter-breeding centre, and can issue you with a permit to walk in the Orfento Gorge (highly recommended). They also hire out mountain bikes.
Within 30 minutes drive of the cottage, are pretty villages, a Botanic Garden and fascinating ancient hermitages built into the cliff-sides of the great gorges. An hour’s drive away, the lovely town of Sulmona has medieval buildings, street cafes, churches and museums (market days Wed & Sat) and is the home of sugared almonds or confetti, while Chieti has an impressive National Archeological Museum.
The popular sandy beaches of Abruzzo's developed Adriatic coast are an hour's drive from Decontra.