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Today is the shortest day of the year, and from tomorrow we will have more light.  And as we dream of longer days — remembering that in Sicily, spring begins in just two months, with flowering almonds and early fruit trees — we consider four countryside bases, favorites of ours’, favorites of yours’.   Let us know if we may include them in your next itinerary.

I. The Wine Advocate gives this Tuscan agriturismo’s wines highest marks.  One hundred twenty-eight acres of award-winning vineyards circle the inn, which offers two remarkable rooms in the 15th century villa.

Breakfast is served in the garden.

A dreamy place for a honeymoon.

II.  “We loved this place and the couple who run it.  The lodgings were gorgeous and the setting was breathtakingly beautiful.  Lodovico and Patrizia were both fantastic and made us feel like house guests and not merely lodgers.

Breakfast on the terrace overlooking the vineyards and the hills beyond, while enjoying fresh-baked cakes and Patrizia’s homemade jams was a truly wonderful experience.”  (J. Mishkin.)

The inn, with just seven suites, is housed within an imposing palazzo surrounded by its own superb vineyards outside Orvieto.  Built in the late 14th century by an important cardinal as a hostel for pilgrims en route to Rome, it was redesigned by its present owner with urban sophistication. Lovely pool and superb restaurant (many have said the best food on their entire trip.)

III.   Northeast of our Orvieto inn, this hotel is also very small — intimate, with superb, warm service, greatest charm in rooms…

and our Insider’s Prize for the best breakfasts in Umbria.


 

A perfect pool, with spa services too.

Come here to celebrate spring’s arrival — the birdsong in April was simply spectacular — and the reviving properties of complete tranquility.

 

IV. A perfect base for Pienza, Montepulciano, Montalcino and much of southern Tuscany — including the Brunello wine country — this special, six-room inn is cited repeatedly as “the best of the trip”.   Intimate, ideal for family reunions, small weddings and complete relaxation.

From D. Cobb : “A belated but also heartfelt thank you for creating our wonderful Italian vacation.  There are so many memories (including) floating in the infinity pool (here).  You are a master at your craft, thank you.”  From B. Madero : “We adored (this inn) ! Giulio was extremely friendly and very helpful. Two of our evenings there, they were kind enough to prepare us a cold, delicious supper of cold meats, cheese, bread, fruit and wine. Fabulous! We loved our room….”

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