About the property
- Cottage699 sq. ft.
- Half Baths0
- Minimum Stay1 - 2 nights
2 bedroomed village cottage with views in The Majella National Park. Great walks from the door - gorges, meadows, mountains
French doors lead into your private living room with a flagstone floor, barrel vaulted ceiling and large windows looking across the garden to the mountains beyond. There are comfortable sofas, a dining table and a well equipped kitchenette with fridge, sink, hob, oven/microwave, kettle and toaster. The living room also has a TV, DVD, ipod dock and CD player, DVDs, CDs, books and games. A stone staircase leads to two bedrooms and a bathroom. Both bedrooms have lovely mountain views, window seats, terracotta floors and barrel vaulted ceilings. One room has a double bed, and the other can be configured with either a double bed or two single beds. There is also a travel cot and a bed guard for young children. The bathroom has a full sized bath for relaxing after a walk in the mountains, with a rainfall shower over the bath, and a skylight.
Every room has central heating for chilly days, and window screens to allow cool breezes through the house on hot days while keeping out any bugs! Pictures on the walls depict photographs of life in the village in times gone by.
The owners live in the other half of the house - lower and ground floor - and if in residence will be delighted to offer help/advice if sought.
Outside is a private gravelled parking area for your car. The large gardens include areas of lawn, small walled gardens planted with lavender and roses, a pond, hammocks, a rockery and two shaded terraces, one for dining and one for relaxing with a drink and a book and admiring the gorgeous views.
Laura Whinney & Dick Bayne
- Response time:
- within a few days
- english, french, italian
- Calendar last updated:
- May 26, 2018
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 Caramanico Terme
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.
Local Services & Businesses
Sports & Adventure Activities
Check-in: 4:00 PM
Check-out: 10:00 AM
100% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date. 50% refund if canceled at least 14 days before arrival date. You must contact the owner directly to request cancellation.
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.
Excellent accommodation in a beautiful and authentic area of Italy. Great walking and relaxation.
Warm welcome from Laura and Dick with great welcome pack including local (and very nice) wine. Tasteful and comfortable accommodation with all that we needed as two couples. Very comfortable beds with mountain views exactly as described. Kitchenette allowed us to cook what we wanted to with barbecue and fuel also provided. The seven garden areas
provided sun, shade, space and relaxation. We really enjoyed sitting out watching the village go by, listening to the bells on the local sheep and goat herds as they were moved and brought in for the night. Delightful village, friendly but not intrusive and the local bread delivery excellent - fresh loaves, still warm, who could resist?
Great walking from the house and we particularly enjoyed the Orfento Gorge and St Bartholomews. Caramanico provided local shopping and was lovely to wander round. We also liked the Maxi Coal at San Valentino. Sulmona was interesting, though despite understanding that many shops close in the afternoon, we were disappointed to have missed most of the market, so need to go early. The restaurant recommendation in the house information was spot on. The information pack in the house was the best we have experienced in 30 years of self catering. San Leonardo very beautiful and we can see much walking we would like to do. The restaurant in the village, Il Cervo, was excellent - great local produce cooked simply and well. Very well priced and lovely, good humoured service.
A great feature of the area is that we did not hear an English voice all week - but this does mean speaking some Italian or at least making a good attempt is useful and seemed to be appreciated.
We always knew a week would not be enough, but we got a good taste of the area and, safe to say, we are well and truly smitten.
A little reluctant to submit this review as we want to keep it to ourselves...Many thanks for a really memorable and relaxing week.
An absolute delight!
This was the highlight of our holiday. A property so beautiful in a superbly scenic position with mountain views from the garden and all windows, far exceeded our expectations. The village is charming and natural with friendly locals and good for a gentle wander or an evening stroll to one of the two village eating places. Lots of walks, of various duration, some from the door, were listed in the very helpful and comprehensive information manual. We had some difficulty tearing ourselves away from the delightful sitting places in the garden to explore some of the many places to visit in the area. We will definitely return as there is so much to do here. Caramanico is an attractive small spa town, close at hand for shopping and with a lovely pool. The hosts/owners were welcoming and on hand if we needed anything, but never intrusive. The house was equipped really well and had a thoroughtly relaxing ambience, lots of books, music and DVD's . We can totally recommend this property for a truly relaxing and uplifting break in a genuine Italian mountain village.
Ideal away from it all holiday
31 Decontra is beautifully situated at 800 mt inside the Majella National Park. Dick and Laura (who live on site) have very successfully renovated the property to make the stay comfortable and enjoyable while transforming the garden with three pagodas on various levels, two hammocks and a pond with resident frogs!
We had a wonderful holiday here, relaxing, enjoying the spectacular views, butterflies, even the occasional firefly! Local food with Marisa is to be recommended along with the restaurants in Caramanico. The village is very much a throw back to the past, friendly and full of character and perfect for an evening stroll.
The walking direct from the site is excellent both for the casual stroller or the all day experienced hiker; it is however generally up or down!
Equally there are any number of alternative walks a short drive away.
There are local villages and monastries to explore and of course the scenery is majestic.
This all made for an excellent holiday which we would wholeheartedly recommend.
A haven of peace in the magnificent Maiella
The Maiella is good for the soul and this beautifully restored village house makes the most of every aspect of the setting. The views of the mountains from every window are simply stunning and Dick and Laura have worked hard to ensure that their hillside garden has plenty of little seating areas from which you can admire the mountains, enjoy the wildlife in the garden or just smell the lavender and the roses. The house itself has been very thoughtfully renovated, and that same thought has been put into equipping the house with every comfort. We could not fault it. We spent a wonderful week walking in the area with lots of really helpful suggestions from Dick and Laura as to which were the best walks and which ones may be steep, etc The comprehensive house book which they've provided has plenty of helpful information about the house itself and it's history, but also lots of suggestions for walks, day trips, shopping and where to eat. They even arranged bookings for us at local restaurants when requested. Nothing was too much trouble. This is a really lovely house in a beautiful little village and we would commend it to anyone who loves the mountains, and who wants to experience the peace and tranquillity of a small village in Abbruzzo, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. This is the place to escape to.
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.
Decontra is in a magnificent position on the lip of the mighty 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 an excellent and popular restaurant - Il Cervo, 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 well-developed Adriatic coast are an hour's drive from Decontra.
Rates & Availability
Additional information about rental rates
The £200 damage deposit is taken with your final payment and is held safely by HolidayRentPayment. It is automatically refunded to you 14 days after the end of your stay if no damage has occurred.