Patrick our guide met us at the Rome train station and we all boarded the train for the ride through Umbria and into Tuscany to our final destination the lovely hill town of Cortona.
We are staying in the just refurbished Instituto Santa Margherita run by the Serve di Maria Riparatrici sisters which now is more of a three star hotel with gleaming new tile in all the rooms and completely shiny new bathrooms than the plain place it use to be as described in Rick Steve’s guide book. The Sisters are friendly and efficient. They speak Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian style) and gesture with an occasional word of English. The important stuff like how to operate the security gate, gets through fine, but when Mary Jean asked about mosquitoes she was given an emotional lecture with sweeping gestures about Mussolini!
Here is the view of the city hall on the Piazza della Repubblica in the heart of Cortona as photographed from our restaurant where we enjoyed our first dinner in Cortona.
Walking back to our hotel along with the locals taking their nightly stroll, I realized how at home I feel here. In Rome I felt I had to constantly be on guard. In Cortona I felt relaxed, happy and full from our huge Tuscan dinner.