With two days in Sorrento, I asked my Facebook friend and Italian tour guide, Marcello, to recommend an affordable place to stay. He told me to contact friends of his who have two rooms in their residence in Piano di Sorrento that they rent out as B&B Antica Dimora (no website but you can read reviews on TripAdvisor or Airbnb). I contacted Daniela directly to book a room and paid by PayPal ahead of time. She was quick to reply to my emails which was nice as I was planning my sabbatical piece by piece.
B&B Antica Dimora Location
A few miles outside of Sorrento, Piano di Sorrento is a residential area and the B&B is located on the main road. You can walk (although a bit hard without sidewalks) or take the bus at the corner across the street into Sorrento city center. The apartment building is located across the street from many cafes, shops and the police station – it was a quiet area. There are also many ATMs on the street and a fabulous gelato shop (one of many). You know you are in a residential area when you look at the restaurant menus posted outside and do a double take at the prices which seem so cheap in comparison to Sorrento, Capri and Naples that I became accustomed to.
Marcello, had picked me up at the ferry dock in the morning to do a full day Sorrento tour so he called ahead when I was ready to arrive near 5 p.m. I was met by the owners, Daniela and Roberto. Walking into the ground floor courtyard, I felt like I was visiting friends and then we journeyed up the four flights of stairs to the second floor (U.S. folks would call it the third floor), I was shown into their apartment.
Roberto carried my rock of a suitcase (remember I packed for three months away in one bag and had already shipped a portion ahead from Naples to Milan). Their apartment is half a floor so they’ve designed the front two rooms into the B&B while they live in the rest of the apartment which lies further inside. Roberto brought me water with lemon and Daniela, Marcello and I laughed as he squeezed the whole lemon in my one glass as evident by my face after the first sip.
The Studio Apartment
My room, which would be a studio apartment in many cities, was a surprise. With high ceilings, a tile floor and a double door window leading to the balcony, this was a large room. With two double beds on either side of the room, there was a bathroom, small kitchen, small table serving as a dining area, a large wardrobe and multiple tables. Absent were wall photos or splashes of color which I think would have tied it all together. After the tour of the room, I was given coupons for breakfast with a choice of four cafes in the area (generally a pastry and coffee – the sugar donuts are a MUST). It was comfortable to have so much space as well as a window with small balcony to get fresh air and look outside. The bed was a slat bed and I did dislodge one or two slats during the night that I put back in but otherwise it was comfortable.
Compact and stocked with shampoo, shower gel, three rolls of toilet paper and cotton swabs. The shower was pointed out as having a sauna function as well as a radio option (neither of which I used). I was put off by the huge step up into the shower afraid I would fall when exiting (I was careful) but this is probably only an issue for me not most folks.
The kitchen is small, functional and stocked with supplies. Sadly, during my visit, the clothes washer was broken (there is a wash/dry a few blocks away that I didn’t get to use as my days were busy). I was looking forward to doing wash after being on the road for two weeks so that was a disappointment. The Wi-Fi was strong in the room and there are many outlets to use.
I walked around the area both nights and it felt safe. I ate at the local café, Bar Sess, across the road, happy to get a toasted sandwich (I had eaten so much at lunch that I barely had room to eat dinner) and watch Italian music television (which was very entertaining since I didn’t think they still made music videos).
The owners, a multi-generation family, found me interesting as they don’t get many American guests or tourists it seemed during my visits. After my sandwich each night I would walk to the small gelato shop, Gelato a Chilo, that Marcello said was the best (I’m not going to argue with a local about the best gelato and happily took his word and enjoyed the research). Seeing folks double park their cars to run in for gelato was proof that this was a popular local shop. The gelato cost €1.50 for a small cone. I felt no guilt by my multiple visits as the stairs back to the apartment were enough to work off the ice cream (and hopefully the pizza, pasta and wine!).
There are a few market shops on the road which made it easy to buy fresh fruit, juice and food to take back to the flat. I had a laugh when Roberto told Marcello that he thought I didn’t like the cafes as I brought breakfast back to my room each day. Was I not happy? For me, this was normal as I brought back the pastries (one day a fresh croissant, the next day the amazing sugar donut) to go with my fruit and juice rather than sit at the café alone. It was a reminder of cultural differences – I did laugh at being ratted out on my routine.
B&B Antica Dimora Overall
While others are paying exorbitant fees in Sorrento, you can easily stay here and experience the town as a local. You can also save enough money to hire your own private tour guide like Marcello of See Sorrento to see the Amalfi Coast like I did. For early May, my rate was €55 per night (I was upgraded into the larger room as they had another guest, normally this room costs more than what I paid.) A bonus is that Roberto and Daniela offer a few free tours of the area which judging from the many internet reviews are a great amenity for guests. I’m glad that Marcello recommended B&B Antica Dimora because it was a nice change from the hotels I had stayed in and allowed me to experience this part of Italy a bit like a local, albeit a local living in a nice building in a large apartment with new friends Daniela and Roberto.
The apartment is also listed on Airbnb. If you decided to book your first stay with Airbnb, use my personal code for a discount