As darkness fell we headed off from Pisa and on to our next Tuscan destination which was the Medieval town of Cortona in Arezzo. This was to be another long drive, this time in darkness. Finally, as we climbed the hill up to the old town of Cortona the time was approaching 10 pm and we were decidedly weary. We drove right to the top of town where the streets were so narrow and hard to negotiate with the car so we made our way back, a little down hill, to an area where we could stop the car. Lora had made a list of possible hotels, but had not made any reservations, so I headed off again on foot to see if I could find somewhere to lay our weary heads that night.
A local gentleman kindly gave me directions to the Hotel San Michele. I was relieved to find its doors open and a helpful receptionist on duty. I tentatively asked if they had a triple room available for that night. “Is it just for one night”, she enquired. She confirmed that there was a suitable room available for that one night only and said that we were lucky as the hotel was to close for the winter from the following day. We made our reservation and were escorted to our room which was comfortable and elegantly furnished.
Once we had stowed our luggage in the room we headed out again on foot in search of something to eat as we were absolutely ravenous. The receptionist recommended a local little restaurant in the centre of town, which we eventually located only to be told that they were just closing. So we continued our quest until we came across a little place called “Nessun Dorma”. We asked if they were still serving, and thankfully the answer was positive and the attentive waiter swiftly lead us down some steps into an old restored cantina which had been transformed into a dining room. The room was softly lit and had a lovely warm atmosphere and we soon ordered our dishes from the menu. The food and wine were excellent and the staff were very kind and attentive.
Feeling revived we made our way back towards the hotel. It was Halloween and there were children and youngsters running around the streets in costumes.
Needless to say it did not take us long to get off to sleep that night.
In the morning in the hotel’s dining room we enjoyed selecting our breakfast from a huge array of delicious food items on offer at the buffet table.
After breakfast we set off on foot to explore the town.
Cortona was the setting for the book by Frances Mayes and the famous film
“Under The Tuscan Sun”.
The Town Hall in Piazza della Repubblica.
The clock and bell tower of the Town Hall.
Heraldic coats of arms.
Piazza Luca Signorelli.
Delicious Autumn produce.
An obelisk dedicated to Giuseppe Garibaldi in Piazza Garibaldi.
View from Piazza Garibaldi.
View of a misty morning looking out over the Tuscan / Umbrian countryside.
The church of Santa Maria Nuova.
Having walked around the town Lora and Laurie were keen to set off to our next port of call that was to be the town of Assisi. Laurie went to fetch the car so that we could load our luggage into it right next to the hotel. Laurie seemed to have been gone for some time. Lora and I wondered what she was up to. Eventually she came back to the hotel looking very red and flustered saying that the car was gone.
Oh no !!! What were we going to do now. Perhaps it had been stolen? Perhaps it had been parked in the wrong place and had been towed away. What a nightmare ! We asked the receptionist at the hotel what we should do. He said we needed to go to the police station and ask if any cars had been towed away. If not we would have to report it as stolen. So off we strode and finally succeeded in locating the police station. We buzzed the intercom and the door opened to let us in. We trudged up three flight of narrow stairs until we reached the correct floor. A helpful policeman said he would check if any cars had been towed away and after a phone call he said no. So what do we have to do to report a stolen car? He suggested double checking as perhaps we had forgotten where we had parked the vehicle. Laurie and I set off down hill. It seems there are several steep little alleys that lead down to the lower section of Cortona. As we went through the archway there in front of us was the hire car. Laurie had mistaken where she had parked it. We laughed and laughed in utter relief.
So onward to Assisi.
All photos by me © Louise Shapcott
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