Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 347: Gira, Irene
2bed/2bath house outside Cortona, Tuscany East
September 2002, 1 week
Irene is located up a winding mountain road just north of the city walls of Cortona. It's a tough ride up a very bumpy dirt road. It's worth it. You travel up the side of the mountain to arrive at an incredibly secluded perch on the side of the hill. The view is a stunning look out over the Valdachiana. It's surrounded by pines on one side and a grassy lawn/terrace on the valley side.
It would be a long but pleasant walk into Cortona. It's a five minute ride by car. If the weather is nice the hike would be lovely. If you park at Porta Colonia gate you are just a few hundred yards from great little restaurants, fresh pasta, an alimentari and just a little further into the main Piazzas of Cortona.
Seems like a newer building, but it fits in quite well with the surroundings. It's a single story building with a big kitchen on one end, a living room and two bedrooms on the end. Everything is new and updated. Visitors in the guest book said the place stays cool in the summer. The heat worked well for the couple of chilly days we had.
There's a table and chairs out on the lawn. Once again, the view from the lawn is amazing. No pool.
Everything was simple but comfortable. It's all single beds but you can push them together. There's a big kitchen table perfect for serving a big tuscan dinner. Everything was kept very clean.
Beds were comfortable enough. There are great antiques everywhere including the bedrooms. Big old wooden dressers and other signs that the owners know something about furniture.
The kitchen is quite good for cooking. It's huge, with lots of counter space. There's also a fireplace in the kitchen if you want to make things really homey. There were plenty of pots, pans, bowls, glasses etc. Our chefs brought their own knives and a couple of other untensils. Most things are included though and our chefs are quite picky.
Problems or Bonuses
The dirt road is the biggest drawback and the greatest benefit. It means you'll have most of a mountainside to yourself. Just make sure your car is sturdy and has plenty of clearance underneath. We detected a nasty oil spill where it looked like someone lost their oil pan on the road. Our little renault did just fine. Once you've driven the road a couple of times and trust your car you can drive much quicker.
Also watch out for hunters ... they do like to work the roads.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We did everything over the computer. The Gira site includes reviews by other renters. We didn't have any surprises - the reviews by the other renters were right on.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Highly. It's a beautiful spot and Cortona is a great little city. We canceled a couple of day trips just to spend more time in Cortona.
Things to do in this area
Croce del Travaglio is a wonderful little family trattoria on Via Dardano just off of Piazza Signorelli. It featured some of the best pizza we had the entire trip. The house wine is quite good and service is efficient and very friendly. We ended up eating here three times.
Entoria is a great enoteca at the other end of town. They have a fun by the glass wine list. If you order one glass they will probably bring you a couple of samples of others. Also try the appetizers with local Ciaccia bread.
You can keep walking up the mountain as the little dirt track grows smaller and more rocky. It's a great escape.
If you head up the mountain, instead of going into Cortona, you quickly come to the sanctuary of Santa Margherita. It's a beautiful church at the top of the mountain. It's features a spectacular dark blue ceiling with stars. Monks chant leading into mass. There's also an impressive fortress at the very top of the hill.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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