Lina told me – you Indians have such lengthy weddings for 3 days! Music and dance and so much fun. Far far away from India, uphill with Cortona, I didn’t expect to get such feed back from someone in Tuscany.
Which Indian wedding you have seen? – I asked
This famous Hindi movie director got married here
Which one? What’s his name? I smartly hid my excitement and my ever hungry bollywood gossip brain cells.
Some Chopra, 3- 4 years back, she said.
Aditya Chopra? – I felt proud of my ability in hiding my excitement
Yes, Aditya Chopra and Rani Mukherjee got married at Il Falconiere
History of Il Falconiere Relais and Chateaux
The property has been with the family for four generations and has been passed down to Ricardo Baracchi. Coming from a noble family, Ricardo’s ancestors used to stay in an adjacent villa and the labourers who worked in the vineyards and olive plantations, stayed here. Like most of the success stories which start small, it began with a restaurant in 1989. by the name of Il Falconiere. Silivia Baracchi, one of the sweetest chef that I have ever met, started creating magic through her food. Guests got more demanding and questioned why they couldn’t stay back after a good meal and Baracchi wines. The restaurant went to win Michellin star in 2002 and still is the only Michellin star restaurant in Cortona. In 1990, they started with 5 rooms and soon it was a success story which did not need any looking behind. Today it has 33 rooms, which are subdivided into 5 categories namely, Classic, Deluxe, Junior Suite, Suite and Executive Suite. There is one Winery Master Suite, which is with 3 rooms and 2 bedrooms and has the view of the Cortana Countryside.
Località S. Martino Bocena, 370, 52044 Cortona AR, Italy. That’s the formal address but I travelled from Porto Nuova to Arezzo Railway Station and from there, got picked up by my hostess, Silvia of Boscovivo. We travelled through the countryside, lined with beautiful Olive plantations and after few steep uphill turns, we reached Cortona. Il Falconiere is located at Cortona.
Why is Il Falconiere called Relais and Chateaux –
Il Falconiere is a member of Relais and Chateaux, a global fellowship of individually owned and operated luxury hotels and restaurants, hence the addition to the name. A body which started in France in 1954, this group identifies properties which often are located in mansions or castles, have premium luxury facilities and have distinguishing features from hotel chains. Within 8 years of opening, they became a member of this prestigious body.
I was staying in one of the Suites, which was just opposite to the restaurant. My most memorable experience of a Tuscan morning was in this place. Just outside my room was a little patch of green overlooking the valley. There was a small table with a single chair and every morning that I was there, I sat there for my first coffee of the day. The soft sunrays kissed the table and with a large cup of Americano, I was completely disconnected from the network of reality. The walls and the floor of the rooms were all laid with stone. A fire place, writing table with two large windows on either side, wardrobe and a stair down to the bathroom, characterised the room. It gave you a feeling of an old European castle with large glass windows, satin curtains and the azure blue sky playing peek a boo from behind the fluffy white clouds. Since it’s on a valley, there are small clusters of rooms spread across the property and that is a challenge for managing the services. I changed my room the next day and the second room was located up the valley. There was a bathtub inside the room. Yes, inside the room.
Activities inside Il Falconiere Cortona
What do you normally do when on a Holiday in a resort? I do nothing. Did it differ in Il Flaconaire Resort and Spa? Yes it did. Why? The stark blue sky cast a spell on me. If I have to quote from ” La Foce: A Garden and Landscape in Tuscany, by Benedetta Origo and Laurie Olin” – Images of Renaissance art and architecture, terraced hills neatly planted with vines and olive trees, monasteries and villas surrounded by woods and enclosed gardens all come to mind.” I started my day with breakfast at the groundfloor of Il Falcaonaire. The dining room had the aroma of fresh bakes of the day and the Tuscan sun filtered through like a morning hug. Gentle, warm and a fresh smell engulfed my senses. For once I did not care about my morning eggs. Instead, I gorged on cinnamon rolls, apple pies, muffins, cup cakes and crispy bacon strips to balance the sweetness and texture. I clearly over ate. One of the days, I added on sausages too. Around 9.30, the Tuscan sun would start to blaze and you get into a dilemma of going out chasing the variations in the sky or staying back to feel the wind blowing across your room, interspaced with sounds of works going on in the vineyard. I undertook the Vineyard tour, which happens all the days and it takes around 2 hours. In addition, you can prebook a cooking class of Tuscan cuisine with Silvia. If the body feels tired after that, then book yourself a spa session at Thesan Etruscan Spa. They also have a tour of the vineyards across the countryside but that takes more time. Don’t miss out Tuscan sunsets and how a silence wrapped in a black blanket covers the lush green valley. Il Flaconaire Restaurant, with its all glass entrance and a sitting area lights up like a shining diamond in the night. It’s another night where clinking of wine glasses, conversation and laughters and smell of cheese and butter and ham fills the air. The evening crawls into nights and late nights too. When it’s bed time, you can hear the sound of plates getting cleared and some help staff walking on the pathway filled with small stones. The never ending love story of Il Falconiere just completes one more episode to play another one the next day…
What I took from Il Falconiere Cortona
I can answer the cliche – memories. I will add on. Lina Bartelli, the Sales and Marketing manager was my guardian angel in the property. She shared the stories of the property, ensured that I am being properly looked after and always with a smile. I bring back the silent nights and bright mornings. I wished to carry a small portion of the blue sky back to India and if I have to say in the words of Frances Mayes from her boom ‘In Tuscany’ – “Tuscany is a world; Italy is a universe. “Five lifetimes would not be enough to explore it,” I once wrote. Change that to five times five. After ten summers, six winter holidays, a sabbatical year, various quick spring breaks, and this year six months here, I would have predicted, if I’d had telescopic vision, that by now I would not be dazzled by the place – but Tuscany keeps unfolding. I find more to love on every visit. ” I would love to visit again and again.
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