Editor’s note: Having visited in August 2020, we held off on publishing until travel abroad was looking more feasible. Fingers crossed a visit to Villa TreVille becomes a possibility in the not too distant future!
Villa TreVille is a real-life Bond lair, hidden deep within the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast, it sits on the edge of impossibly exclusive Positano – just far enough to avoid the throngs of tourists, but just a short walk, or even shorter rip ride on its speedboat – to the postcard-pretty town.
Built into a cliff on the Amalfi Coast, Villa TreVille is an opulent estate comprising just 15 rooms and suites, all overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. Suites are adorned with private pools, ornate tiles and marble fittings, and guests have a private bay and beach at their disposal.
Once home to legendary Italian opera and film director Franco Zeffirelli, Villa TreVille retains much of the classic opulence of the era. Celebrity guests include Brad and Angelina, Russell Crowe, Kate Moss and the great and the good of Zeffirelli’s bohemian world.
We had the Diaghilev suite, Sergei Diaghilev of Ballet Russes fame; one of Zefirelli’s esteemed and regular guests.
On the first floor of the main building, Villa Azzura, it has a huge marble bathroom – with rainforest shower and freestanding tub – a large airy, nautical bedroom, and a balconette with unobstructed views to the C19th fishing village nestled in vertical cliffs across the bay.
With a private boat to whisk you the short distance to Villa TreVille’s more casual beach bar, or to Positano Proper should you fancy a shopping trip, this unassuming cliff-side spot has the best of all worlds.
The restaurant, Maestro’s, was something else. Dinner was spectacular. A veritable feast of lobster salad, followed by shredded buffalo meat risotto with tuna tartare and mullet botarga – every bit as incredible as it sounds – and then grilled scottona beef with river frigatelli, fried polenta and chateaubriand sauce.
With fresh herbs, fruit and veg all grown on the estate, eggs lain by their own chickens, and fish caught daily from nearby waters, the food at Maestro’s is practically still breathing.
The restaurant also plays host to guests moored nearby, hopping off super-yachts to dine and drink and soak up the ambience of its historic surrounds. With panoramic views, it’s the ideal spot to get a better look at the Jones’s boat anchored next to yours.
Alongside the restaurant, there’s the spectacular Salone Bianca, a Moroccan-themed outdoor and indoor cocktail bar – think 70s kilim cushions piled high, candlelit tables at sunset, billowing veils wound around a vine-covered pergola and views to take your breath away.
Zeffirelli’s guests included everyone from Leonard Bernstein, Laurence Olivier, Maria Callas, Elizabeth Taylor and Sergei Diaghilev, to Liza Minelli and Elton John. Dancers, singers, writers, musicians, painters, actors and intellectuals flocked here from all over the globe to seek solace from their gruelling schedules and to retreat from the prying eyes of the outside world.
With understated stealth wealth, the international jet-set and Hollywood A-listers its more recent clientele, Villa TreVille still excels at discretion. It also excels at comfort, tranquillity, and a casual home-from-home vibe.
Out and About
The Amalfi Coast speaks for itself. The 40 km stretch from Vietri sul Mare in the east to Positano in the west spans some of the most picturesque villages in Italy.
With Ravello, Praiano, Amalfi and Sorrento all just a short cliff-edge drive along Strada Stratali 163, there’s a reason these vertiginous, hairpin bends are considered a bucket list road-trip.
The Worst Thing
As with everywhere along the southern coast, mozzie repellent is recommended come evening.
The Best Thing
The views of Positano – across a bay scattered with Riva speedboats and super-yachts – are the best in town, and the sea, ohhhh the sea… If you want the green, green, azure seas of the Positano you see in The Talented Mr Ripley – Villa TreVille’s private bay is as turquoise and clear as it comes!
With a pool built into a hollow cave in the cliffs, an outdoor gym canopied with vines, and walkways lined with bougainvillaea wherever you look, this may easily be the most idyllic spot on the whole Amalfi coast.
Staying at Villa TreVille is more like staying at your billionaire best friend’s pad than a hotel. It’s secluded and discreet with incredible views, fresh as fresh food, and staff that cater to your every whim.
Via Arienzo, 30 – 84017 Positano (SA).
Rates start from around £1000/night