We stayed at Villa Franca for seven nights between the 3rd and 10th June 2013.
We arrived late afternoon on the 3rd, finding the location with ease. We were emailed by the proprietor, Giuseppe on the day before our arrival to see at what time we were likely to arrive and also to ask if we would like food on our first evening, an offer we were happy to accept.
Giuseppe himself welcomed us with the drink of our choice- cold beer in even colder glasses, straight from the freezer. It was a pleasure to sit by the pool in the late afternoon sun after the long journey. We settled into our room and unpacked in time for our evening meal. Were we glad that we accepted the offer of food!
The meal on our first night was excellent and plentiful. The food was simple Italian cuisine made from very fresh ingredients, all cooked superbly by Giuseppe and his father Dominico who were to become our food gods over the next week. Indeed we only chose to eat elsewhere on one evening during the week, so good and reasonably priced was the food on offer at Villa Franca. The meal they served us of local Neapolitan rustic dishes (including delicious baby octopus) was one that I will remember forever, it was so good :-)
Our room was a good size, spotlessly clean, cool and simply furnished. We were offered an "upgrade" to their flat located in the next building but we were happy with the room we had and enjoyed its position adjacent to the pool and the dining area, all too convenient! My only suggestion would be to have a small table and chairs in the room (which was large enough to easily accommodate them) though this really isn't essential as there are plenty of tables and chairs around the pool.
The location is excellent for the ruins and for exploring the surrounding area by train (station opposite the entrance to the ruins) or by car and there is secure parking available. Giuseppe and his lovely wife Lorena were more than happy to offer help and advice on the local area, where to go, what to see and the best way to get there.
The thing we enjoyed most of all about this wonderful and memorable holiday was the way we were looked after by Giuseppe, Dominico and Lorena. It felt less like staying in a hotel and more like being staying with friends and family, so welcoming was the atmosphere. This family feeling passed on to the guests too, with most of us sitting and talking like old friends, long after dark. When checking out, I asked Giuseppe to pass on my thanks to Lorena for helping to make our stay so memorable (she was away looking after the children), he actually rang her so that I could say goodbye in person. Such a nice and thoughtful gesture!
Overall, I would recommend the Villa Franca to anyone looking for simple, unpretentious base to explore this wonderful area, I doubt you will ever find a warmer welcome on your travels.
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