Casale del Cotone is an impressively restored farmhouse that has been decorated with taste to make it one of the finer bed and breakfasts in the San Gimignano area. The house, a long, low building with small brown-shuttered windows and the occasional external stairway, was once used as a hunting lodge, and in the breakfast room are the remains of a fresco depicting a deer in flight and a pheasant. Another farmhouse has recently been converted on the estate - the Rocca degli Olivi - beautifully situated, like the main farmhouse, and surrounded by vineyards and olive groves.
   Great care has been taken with both the interiors and exteriors. Outside are well-tended gardens with gravel paths and neatly kept, colourful flowerbeds, and the main house is so positioned that even on a torrid August evening you will catch a cool breeze sitting there.
   On the ground floor is the sitting room and breakfast area; in fine weather, breakfast is served in the garden. We were impressed with the furniture and decoration, using a few well-chosen antiques to set off the fine proportions of the rooms. The bedrooms have a similar, uncluttered, tasteful ambience, conducive to the peaceful, almost hushed atmosphere.