Sometimes if you’re very lucky you stumble upon a place that’s pure magic. This year I found it in Maratea.
Maratea is a little seaside town in Basilicata in southern Italy. It’s not famous for anything in particular, but it looked pretty and I needed a place to break our travel from Matera to the Amalfi coast.
So I booked a B&B there for a few nights to use either as a base to explore the area if we were feeling energetic, or as a place to just hang out on the beach if we weren’t.
Two things piqued my interest in Bed & Breakfast Le Chiane: this photo
And a review that mentioned the owner cooks amazing food.
Le Chiane is a little hard to find the first time, but I called up and between my mediocre Italian, and the assistance of another guest who spoke English and Italian, they worked out where we were (we had no idea) and came and got us.
I had an inkling this place was different when the other guests came over and introduced themselves when we arrived. A little odd I thought, but it all made perfect sense later on…
Vincenzo and Mariella are two people ideally suited to the task of running a B&B. They genuinely seem to enjoy having people around, and making them feel at home. We immediately felt like part of the family.
So too the other guests – one couple were making their eighth visit and another their tenth. When anyone left there were hugs all around and sometimes tears.
By the end of our stay I just wanted to cancel the rest of our plans and stay there indefinitely.
Le Chine is the kind of place where you don’t need to lock the doors, where the rooms (there are four) are full of thoughtful details and have absolutely everything you might need, and where there’s no set time for breakfast – Mariella: “You’re on holidays, just relax and sleep well”.
It’s like being at your Italian relatives’ place, if your relatives are really good cooks, and really nice people!
It’s not luxurious, but it’s really comfortable in every way and it just forces you to relax. I wrote in my journal on day two “I’m fairly sure this place is magic”
Let’s take a look around …
Sure it’s a pretty place, but it’s the dining table that’s really special.
The reviews were true, Mariella is a gifted cook. Every night three courses, and every night something different. All home-made and all delicious (I’m still thinking about the pasta with fresh figs and fish). And unlike many Italian meals, the serves weren’t too big so I never left the table feeling uncomfortably full.
While Mariella cooks, Vincenzo serves. Then when it’s time for dessert they both join guests at the table. And after dessert Vincenzo’s home-made limoncello and his digestives come out (secret recipes all of them).
But it’s not only the food that makes the dining table. Every night was like a dinner party. Everyone would stay there for hours chatting away about all sorts of things, and conversation would flow from Italian to English and back to Italian again, naturally gravitating to whatever’s easiest for everyone. It was a great opportunity for me to practice speaking Italian, and I was pretty impressed with my efforts!
You don’t have to have dinner there, but you really should. A young German couple ventured out one night and wished they’d stayed in. But I know good cooking when I taste it, and we had dinner there every night.
It’s the kind of place where you can just sit around all day reading in a deck chair, eating and playing with the dogs
Or go to one of the many lovely beaches nearby
Or explore the nearby towns
And the sunsets here are spectacular
Le Chiane: a little bit of magic in Maratea. I’m already planning my next trip, and this time it will be for a week.
Contact Vincenzo and Mariella here
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Until next time, safe travels,
The Travelling Pantaloni