“Ultra traditional family-run hotel with rustic deluxe rooms, in beautiful countryside between Arezzo and Cortona”
Rooms are spread between the farmhouse and the Canonica (a converted priests' house). They come in a variety of shapes and sizes but they are basically of the same style, each named after a flower (Clematis, Rosa Antica, Orchidea - denoted by flower-sprigged straw hats hung on the walls). All have beamed ceilings, shutters at the windows, white cotton bedspreads, wrought iron headboards, kilims on glazed terracotta floors, white-washed walls, hand-painted doors and matching furniture. The look is classic Tuscan farmhouse - simple, uncluttered, hand-crafted – but with an extra layer of comfort. As in most old farmhouses, some of the rooms are a little dark, with small windows and sombre colours, but dark means cool - though they are all air conditioned except for the Single room (Mimosa) and the Double Charming. Each is provided with mineral water, fresh fruit and flowers (there was a huge vase of fragrant longi lilies in our room); some have sunny aspects and lovely views. The bathrooms (most just have showers) are clean and white-tiled, with bathrobes and L’Erbario Toscano toiletries. Our choice would be sunny Suite Deluxe Peonia (in the Canonica, with a little living room and views of the hills) or the spacious Junior Suite Superior.
Housed in the former stables - which in traditional farmhouses were beneath the living spaces - the restaurant is all low beams, brick arches and old-fashioned rise-and-fall lamps. Tables dressed in white or flower-print linen spill out onto a terrace where, under a pillared loggia, diners can enjoy the view while tucking into home-cooked food, usually delivered by Luigi dressed in his finest. Testament to the quaint last-century approach are the His & Hers menus – she gets the one without the prices. Breakfast (served on the terrace, weather permitting) is a sensational feast of cold meats, cheeses, pastries, breads, natural yoghurt with fresh fruit (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries – whatever’s in season), squeezed orange juice, and yellow (and I mean yellow) scrambled eggs. Unfortunately the restaurant doesn't offer lunch, but that motivates you to drive into nearby Polvano and have a wander round. Dinner begins at 7.30pm, kicking off with glass of Prosecco on the terrace, followed by a 2 or 3-course set menu or choice of a la carte dishes. The selection is big on risotto, but also offers simple pastas and sauces, Tuscan bean soup, Pienza Pecorino cheeses (with chestnut honey), seasonal salads and Chianana beef. The food is rustic, wholesome and served with homemade bread (made in an old-fashioned bread oven) and olive oil. For a change of scene, or menu, head into Castiglion Fiorentino (8km) where there are 2 little restaurants and a pizzeria.