“Contemporary design, personal service and top-notch facilities, all served in a traditional Tuscan manor”
The 8 bedrooms in the padronale (main house) are small but perfectly formed. Named after precious stones, the dual aspect windows have voile curtains in an appropriate hue casting coloured light over the room. Floors have quarry tiles or pretty patterned tiles; beds, some roofless four-posters, some simple queensize, are covered with a delicate damask. Furnishings are simple but pleasing – a white wooden wardrobe and chest, funky metallic tripod lamps, iPod docks, Bramley products in the bathroom. A heating / air-con unit sits discreetly on the wall. Thoughtful touches include a hairdryer, a 3- to 2-pin adaptor, postcards, mozzie tablets, a choice of feather or foam pillows.
All rooms are double aspect but it’s worth requesting a superior or deluxe for the lovely, open views over the Val di Chiana. Deluxe rooms, such as Amethyst, are on the top floor, with additional space for a table and 2 chairs. The standard rooms face the carpark side, the nicest being Ambra on the first floor and Tormalina on the ground floor.
Ensuite bathrooms have dapple-grey mosaic walls, a bidet, heated towel-rail, fluffy towels and bathrobes, and a spacious shower cubicle with good hot water. The deluxe rooms and some standard rooms have a tub with a proper shower, hook and swing-pane, while the superior rooms have twin basins.
There’s also a junior suite in a separate cottage, with a high beamed ceiling and a pigeon-holed wall casting rectangles of sunlight on the spacious double bedroom. It comes with TV/DVD, a fridge and a bathroom with separate shower and tub. Couples with a young child or children can request a folding bed and a cot in this room.
Meals at the Villa Fontelunga are laid-back, sociable affairs, usually taken out on the gravelled forecourt with open views over the gentle Val di Chiana, but sometimes indoors at a designer table in the barrel-vaulted cantina. There's also a semi-outdoor lounge bar where you can enjoy aperitifs at sunset, or a post-prandial cigar tucked under a blanket by the open fire.
A leisurely buffet breakfast starts the day, with cereals, croissants and other patisseries, toast from a sleek chrome toaster, home-made jams, fresh fruit and juices, yoghurts and hot drinks. Paolo, chef-cum-concierge extraordinaire, helps you plan your day, offering printouts of the back route to Cortona and the Armani factory outlet, while the early (or late) morning sun warms your skin and turns the Val di Chiana from blue to lilac to green.
For lunch, a wide and fresh array of dishes is prepared by Paolo, with occasional, lively intervention from his visiting mother. Classic tricolore salads, Italian-style tortillas, cold cuts and cheeses guarantee a healthy intake. Guests and owners sit together around a long table shaded by white parasols, discussing everything from Smart cars to Romanesque churches.
Twice a week – on Tuedays and Fridays – they also prepare dinner at the villa. It’s a lively house-party atmosphere, guests meeting and greeting over a prosecco before sitting down for a 3-course feast at a communal table (or sometimes separate tables, though Paolo says guests always end up moving tables together). In addition, there is a "snack evening meal" for those who do not want to add too much to their waistline. Of course, if you take the whole villa, you can dine in as often as you want, with a cook available to buy and prepare the kind of meals you specify.
On other evenings, you can drive to nearby Marciano for supper in the excellent La Vecchia Rota restaurant – ask to sit in the upstairs room, with its lovely painted ceiling. Paolo also recommends a small restaurant called La Lodola (just 2 km away) and Pizzeria il Tempio in Pozzo (with al fresco seating in summer); and he is happy to book any of these for you.
Children of all ages are welcome at this sociable property and will enjoy running around the gardens and splashing in the pool, though the vibe is more of a grown-up one. Couples with older children, or families wanting more space and privacy, may want to book one of the separate concierged villas.
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
The Junior Suite is the best room for a family of four as it can take a fold-up bed (extra cost) and a cot (free), and is in a separate cottage. All Superior and Deluxe rooms can take a fold-up bed or cot
Available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The pool is unfenced and there's no lifeguard on duty at any time