Agriturismo Villaggio La Lista in Amendolara was the only bad experience we had on a recent trip to Italy. It is the only bad experience we've ever had with an agriturismo. They are usually great places to stay.
The problem: The place was closed, locked and empty when we arrived. There was no comfortable furniture inside and no lawn furniture outside. The restaurant was closed and the breakfast was cancelled. They refused to accept credit cards despite our confirmation for that. The public areas were all closed and no one was on site to manage it.
We had a printed confirmation from booking.com stating (1) reservation day and date, (2) room rate, (3) arrival check-in 08:00 24/24, (4) buffet breakfast included in room rate, (5) internet via moden available in public areas free of charge, (6) payment by credit card
Their web site also confirms the 24-hour check-in and credit card payment and says they have a restaurant, bar, 24-hour front desk, tennis court, billiards, table tennis and BBQ facilities available .
In truth, no one was there for check-in when we arrived at 11:24 AM; no one was there when we returned at 1:45 PM. We tried to call from a local public telephone booth and unfortunately it was out of order. In desperation we returned to the Grillo Hotel where we had had a wonderful lunch and a lady there agreed to call the Agriturismo for us. She did this and the owner was in Rome; we were expected but the Guardian had not come. He assured the lady that the Guardian would let us in when we drove back out.
We drove back and the Guardian finally appeared. He was a dirty, toothless old man who spoke no English and refused to understand my husband's Italian. He showed us to our room which was ready and was clean. However, it had no sofa nor comfortable chairs. There was only a kitchen table and 4 kitchen chairs. The bed was made up and there were linens. Unfortunately, there was no lawn furniture nor any of the web-site-promised amenities. The Guardian made it quite clear to us there would be no breakfast and said we must pay in cash. The public areas were in the locked main house so there was no restaurant, no bar, no internet and no phone. We didn't know how to contact the Guardian if he failed to show up for check-out in the morning since we do not have a cell phone.
We insisted the Guardian call the owner in Rome and he did but refused to allow us to talk to the man. In desperation we returned to the Grillo Hotel and asked the woman there to make another call for us which she did. She spoke to the owner in Rome and he said that we could cancel our reservation without penalty. We did appreciate this and he did keep his word.
We had planned a peaceful afternoon on the lawn at the agriturismo enjoying the view and instead spent the day driving back and forth through town between the agriturismo, the public phone and the hotel trying to get a place to stay.
Unique Quality: We had several other reservations with booking.com and they worked out well. We stayed in several other agriturismi and they were a highlight of our trip. I'm not sure what happened here but if you want to stay there, you should speak fluent Italian, carry a cell phone and book directly with the agriturismo rather than through a booking web site.
I don't know if there is a sofa in any of the apartments nor if lawn furniture appears later. The owner told the lady who called for us that the "season" hadn't started yet. If they weren't prepared to take guests, they should not accept reservations. I would also suggest if you are interested in the place that you only reserve in "season." (We were there at the end of May.)
Directions: There is a sign on the main street to the agriturismo
S.S. 106- Jonica, , AMENDOLARA 87070