After only five hours of sleep, as we went to bed very late last night, we had coffee, breakfast, and our bags were brought down to the car. Villa Marsili really has been a gem of a hotel. The spacious room and bathroom, fabulous breakfast, easy walk to town, great water pressure in the “high enough for me” shower, and a staff of wonderful people. Stefano, Mirko, and Giulia help us with every possible question, and were delightful just to chat with. We were a little sad to leave them, but were invited to stop by for a coffee of appertivo, whenever we are next in Cortona (and they are now following my blog)!
By 11:30 we arrived at the beautiful Villa Le Barone, just outside of Panzano. It is like an old country manor house, with beautiful grounds and a restaurant. The Villa was a former watch tower in the Middle Ages, then was converted to a farm (fattoria) during the Renaissance when it became the property of the Della Robbia family. It has been a guest house for 30 years.
When I made our reservation, I decided I’d splurge on a superior room for our last few days. We were told that we were in Room 10, so we followed the young woman in a yellow maid’s uniform up two flights of stone steps. There was a sitting room with a HUGE vase of sunflowers, and three guest rooms leading off of it. Then she unlocked an arched wooden door that led to a hallway with a tiny wood circular staircase. Now I’m picturing the two 50+ lb. 28” bags getting up here, that are waiting in the car. I could barely clear the steps with just my purse. Brad was right behind me with the Slow Travel tote bag carrying the GPS and our books and camera. The maid is chatting to me in Italian about how beautiful this room is, and I’m telling her we have a lot of luggage. We are smiling at her as we puff up the stops behind her while mumbling “Oh my God!”, and “Oh sh__!” In addition to our two large bags, there are now four smaller bags and two boxes of wine (That’s if we leave one packed suitcase and a HUGE Furla shopping bag in the trunk). Just shoot me now. Did I mention it was 98 degrees?
OK, the room was stunning, with a “crown of blue and yellow fabric” over the bed, a writing desk that I could easily seat 8 people at for dinner , two big blue and yellow easy chairs, a huge armoire, dresser, ancient tapestries hanging from the walls, and a high vaulted brick and beam ceiling. It really is charming…once you get up here. There is a lovely view from three huge arched windows, air conditioning, and a vase of fresh roses from the rose garden. How could we trade all this in? A healthy tip later, and all the bags were in the room, while Brad and I gulped down a bottle of cold water. We were spoiled at Villa Marsili with space luxury AND a refrigerator for the cheese and sodas, but this would work. I only feared a nighttime bathroom run, as you have to go a couple of those weird steps back down the hallway to the sloped ceiling curved bathroom tucked into the stairwell. We had a coke in the garden, and explored the grounds and pool area. There was a funky little well-equipped bar downstairs where you help yourself, and sign a room tab.