The remote and mountainous region of Basilicata does not possess much coastline. But the tiny stretch of shore on the west side, where a corniche cuts through wild and beautiful cliffs, is one of the most spectacular parts of Italy's deep south. Villa Cheta Elite is set high up on this precipitous coastline, with splendid views. If the villa enjoyed no other distinction, its position would be enough to attract many travellers to the south. But this gracious Art Nouveau building has other attractions.
The villa is a pleasure to behold: a confection of ochre and cream stucco, decorated with ornate mouldings that would look at home in a grand Edwardian living room. It lies among lush, flowery terraces, one of which is set out with café-style chairs and smartly-laid dining tables. Inside, lace tablecloths, chintz sofas, carefully-chosen period pieces and abundant pictures create the feel of a private house. The beaches in the area are small, but the waters are clear, and reached in only a few minutes from the villa.
The Aquadros are relaxed and charming hosts, who take great care over every aspect of their hotel, including the food, which is highly regarded, and Stefania has even introduced yoga lessons for her guests.