If you love the book or the movie, or you just want a few days of stepping into another life - filled with olive groves, sunflowers, wine, intriguing moments with an Italian or two all near a quaint hillside village and in your own (or what seems like your own for the days you are there) renovated Tuscan farmhouse, then please stay at Il Sole del Sodo. The house itself has been immaculately restored and much attention has been paid to every possible detail (eg. individually designed lamps and tiles). We only stayed for 2 days, but were in awe of the work that had been done on this property. It is clear that the owner, Claudia, has invested a significant amount of time and energy on this place. There were 6 rooms in the house, each are individually themed. We had the Stanza degli Affreschi, which was bright, roomy, and best of all had a balcony. It should also be mentioned that this is one the cleanest places we stayed at during our trip in Italy. Yet, eventhough the property itself was lovely, the highlight of our stay were our hosts, Gaia and Claudia. Both were fabulous in every possible way: Courteous, helpful, and available (yet they allowed for ample privacy). Each morning, they will greet you with a smile and a freshly made cup of coffee, espresso, or cappucino. It was an interesting mix of Italian hospitality infused with a more American emphasis on customer service, which is perfect for those crossing the Atlantic for that Tuscan vacation. The clientele ranged mostly from families with small children to couples. Note, in addition to the 6 rooms, they also rent apartments, which I think are next door to the farmhouse.
We will definitely stay here again! Cortona was a great town to stay in, an excellent base for exploring Tuscany/Umbria, and Il Sole del Sodo was the perfect home away from home!
Unique Quality: Pros: Swimming pool, cozy courtyard for drinking wine, free parking, nice breakfast and two cute dogs. Large supermarket is only a mile or two south.
Cons: No A/C (though wasn't really a problem), some noise in high season (farmhouses in tuscany were not build with soundproofing, so this will be a problem anywhere if you are a light sleeper)
What to bring: You can get here via train (and taxi) but I would recommend renting a car as it gives you more freedom.
Directions: From A-1, take the Valdichiana exit (to Perugia). Do not miss this exit! Follow signs to Cortona. On road S-71, go north til you see sign for something called Villa Sodo...turn right. You should see the farmhouse.
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