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Cortona: Hotel Italia

Phone: 0575.630254
www.planhotel.com

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Reviewed by: sandrac from Canada, review #1974

When: June 2007

A wonderful, friendly, well-maintained hotel in the centre of Cortona. {3 stars}

This is a charming, small hotel that's very well-managed by a young couple and an attentive staff. It's also in a great location, just a few (although very steep!) steps off of the bustling Piazza Repubblica, yet it's very quiet.

I had originally booked a double room for single use at 91 euros per night, but on arrival I upgraded to a superior double at 115 euros. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the basic double room I had originally booked, it was simple and clean with a small window that looked out on to a fine little courtyard. But, this being the first three nights of a three-week trip to Italy as well as my first visit to Cortona, I decided I wanted to splash out a bit on a room with a view.

Staff readily showed me a couple of other rooms (this being early June, the 26-room albergo was far from full) and I fell hard for one of their best! I really felt it was money well-spent, particularly because it rained quite hard much of the time that I was in Cortona, so I stayed in my room a bit more than usual.

This very large room on the top floor had beautiful, large windows that opened up to a spectacular vista over neighboring rooftops and across the plain that lies below Cortona and stretches towards Lake Trasimeno. The large bathroom also had a nice view over a neighboring church and let in plenty of light. When the church bells pealed, it sounded as though they were right in the room with me, but that wasn't a problem as they stopped at about 10 p.m. and didn't resume until late morning. One wall of the room was exposed brick, which was a great touch, the bed was comfortable, linens and towels great and everything very clean. I didn't need the stand-alone air-conditioning unit, so I'm not sure how well it would have worked if needed.

Breakfast is served in a very spacious and bright rooftop area with huge windows looking south across the plain below Cortona, so great views are possible, rain or shine. Choice was a bit limited to croissants and yogurt, with no fruit and little cheese, but that was likely due to the fact there weren't many guests to feed in early June.

While the rooftop area would also make a great bar in the evening, the hotel instead has a small bar area off reception, as well as a small Internet room and charges about 5 euro per hour for use of the computer.

There are plenty of great restaurants in Cortona, many only a few minutes' walk from the hotel, including the very friendly La Bucaccia a few steep steps further down the hilly street from the hotel. However, I'd avoid Fufluns right next door; Cortona residents say that restaurant changed management about a year ago and the food has really suffered as a result.

As well, it might be worth booking a car or a taxi through the hotel in advance if you're arriving at the Camucia train station in the valley below Cortona. I was warned about this before I arrived, but paid no heed - and waited almost two hours at the train station until a crowded cab, loaded with people heading for the train, showed up late in the afternoon!

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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