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“Charming but could use improvement” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Relais Il Falconiere & Spa

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Relais Il Falconiere & Spa
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Localita San Martino, 370, 52044 Cortona, Italy   |  
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Ranked #9 of 22 hotels in Cortona
Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
43 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
“Charming but could use improvement”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

This Relais et Chateau property oozes charm but could use a hefty dose of practicality.

On the positive side, the location is fabulous. The grounds are beautiful and tastefully landscaped, with many fruit trees, lawn areas and walking paths. The hotel overlooks a valley sprinkled with vineyards and orchards, with hills in the distance. There is a fashionable spa, with an indoor/outdoor pool, and also an outdoor pool (which we did not use, as the weather was a bit cool for swimming). The staff was very friendly and helpful, doing their best to accommodate their guests’ wishes. The restaurant is the prize—impeccable service and wonderful food. If you are interested, take the cooking school, where you will learn more than you could anticipate.

In keeping with the name of this hotel, the owner (a lovely lady) has a large falcon (called Leela) which is left outside during good weather. If you are fortunate, as we were, she will present the falcon on her arm. For us, it was an unusual and lovely touch.

On the other hand, there are some practical issues. First, if you are driving, make sure you arrive during daylight (or have the exact address in your GPS—the coordinates are not totally accurate). The last 2.4 kilometers of the drive to Il Falconiere consist of a one-lane road, frequently bordered by a high stone fence. At nighttime, the drive is daunting. Second, the rooms, while charming, lack some practical amenities. Our room (No. 10) was charmingly decorated with period furniture. Ironically, that was part of the problem. The antique armoire was not deep enough for standard size coat hangers. As a result, our hanging garments were cramped when the doors were closed. Moreover, one of my pet peeves is theft-proof coat hangers. I can understand why a one-star hotel might see the need for theft-proof coat hangers, but I would expect that the clientele who can afford to stay at a Relais et Chateau property are unlikely to purloin coat hangers. The bathroom has only one pedestal sink which lacked any storage place for toiletries. There was a small low cabinet which of course my wife took over, leaving me to put my toiletries on a shelf that was no more than 18 inches higher than the floor—not a very comfortable situation. In addition, we could not access wifi from our room, which was a real annoyance. The excuse was that the walls were very thick. In this day and age, the solution would be to upgrade the hotel’s wifi system, as many if not most guests like to be able to access the internet while traveling.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Il_Falconiere, Proprietario at Relais Il Falconiere & Spa, responded to this review, December 4, 2012
Dear Mr Silverbrian,
thank you for your appreciations about our hotel. We tried during the work to restore the old Villa and the Church to cheap the original atmosphere, without change to much the site. For this reason the Villa, the lemon house, the church and the farm house are very beautiful, but about of technology like Wi Fi we are not at not the top! We can reach the signal just from Cortona, we cannot bring a cable underground we can only rely on the connection by air, and it has not a regular signal.
Antique furnitures are the ideal decoration of our house and of course there are no very comfortable sometime, but they have an unique and charming taste. About the hangers, we arrived to buy this model because many clients were used to take away ours, leaving plastic and horrible hangers!
Anyway I rely on the future to have as soon as possible a very fast connection, also for us in office! Thank you agin for your comments. Silvia Baracchi
Thank you
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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North Potomac
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2012

The il Falconiere was a wonderful surprise. It was a great place to come to between Rome and Florence. We stayed for 3 nights in a very cool room in a small building next to the restaurant. it was decorated in Tuscan style which was lovely. The old world doors were hard to open but, once mastered it was a cinch. (my husband never could open or lock our room). They staff here was superb. I am lactose intolerent and Luigi and the staff went above and beyond to make sure I would not have anything that would make me sick. The food here is excellent with a wonderful chef. We had some of our best meals in Italy here. The grounds, vineyard and olive groves are beautiful. We had a very informative wine tour and tasting. They just happen to produce some very good wine which added to our dining pleasure. Our only disappointment was that we didn't reserve space in the cooking school in advance. We didn't realize that you have to do this in advance since it fills up fast. (next time). This was something we thought maybe our travel agent should have mentioned. All in all we loved Il Falconiere and would not hesitate to recommend this hotel. We can't wait to return. It was a wonderful Relais & Chateau property. This is in Italy. In Cortona. Not in New York City. It was just charming.

Room Tip: Ask about rooms and location before hand. Also, make sure to book the cooking school before your arr...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Il_Falconiere, Proprietario at Relais Il Falconiere & Spa, responded to this review, March 5, 2013
Dear Nancy,
thank you for your wanderful review, I'm sorry you miss our Cookery Experience! Cooking Under The Tuscan Sun is our cooking school that sometime an advance reservation is required...Next time!!! Differnt room with easier lock and cooking class! I''ll organize a special welcoming for you next time!
Silvia Baracchi
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Treasure Island, Florida, United States
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2012

First something positive, this hotel is set on beautiful grounds on an amazing vineyard and the wine was truly delicious. However, we feel it is overly expensive and overrated and will not return because of our experiences. I'll start with the worst note- Our rental car was broken into in their parking lot. It cost us about $400 because the deductible on our damage insurance was $1000. This property is extremely remote and gives the impression of being secure and safe. Il Falconiere states this is the first time this has happened and acted very concerned and surprised. However, when asked the hotel would not compensate us for any of the costs we incurred. What poor customer service for such a "highly-rated" hotel. This is certainly not something you would expect to happen when you are paying $300 Euros a night! While the property is beautiful and quaint, the rooms are really not updated and there is NO insulation between rooms. In fact, you can see your neighbor through a huge crack where the doors meet. We got next to no sleep the first night due to a drunk couple fighting loudly across the hall. Even just opening or shutting doors will wake you up. I had two very disappointing but overly expensive services at their spa. The free turkish bath, sauna and steam shower were lovely, but my $200 facial and pedicure paled in comparison to anything I've gotten for near that price before. Finally, one of the highlights was the tour of the vineyard and wine tasting by the owner when we first arrived. It was one of the highlights of our whole Italy trip! We were a little shocked, however, when we got our bill and they had charged us for it! There was no mention of this when we signed up. Again, just bad business. We assumed it was complimentary since we were guests at the property. Of course, nothing is free in Italy so we should have known :) Even with the cost, we would have done it anyway because it was wonderful but felt a little blindsided. We expect to receive top-notch service for our money and when compared to places like the Four Seasons, Waldorf Astoria and other wonderful properties in this class, this property just doesn't hold up their reputation.

If you are a down to earth person...stay at Villa Marsili in downtown Cortona for a fraction of the price. So many things are complimentary there, and the staff is fantastic and make you feel comfortable and at home. There were no disappointments there and you can walk to all the Cortona restaurant and shops.

Room Tip: Get a private suite separated from the main house if you stay here and like to sleep.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Il_Falconiere, Proprietario at Relais Il Falconiere & Spa, responded to this review, December 4, 2012
Dear Shannon,
Thank you for the time you dedicate to us. I understand that after the bad experience in the car park, any positive thing goes away! After a negative experience everyone is less relaxed and maybe doesn’t enjoy a lot the vacation. I’m sorry for what happened, we are not used on our area to have delinquency, we live in countryside and we are usually very quiet and safe. I don’t know about the money you are talking about, of course we have a private insurance for any request.
Inside the hotel we offer different activities and both in the rooms and in reception clients can find prices lists and decide to take part or not, usually a wine tour is followed by a wine tasting of 3 or 4 glasses of wine, a tasting of bruschetta with our own extra virgin olive oil, cheese and salami. It is hold personally by the producers, my husband Riccardo or my son Benedetto and takes about 2 hours. They are more than happy to show the winery and explain their philosophy, but all of this has a cost!
About the spa, we are very proud to use natural ingredients coming from the estate, but in case of facial our proposal is the treatments of Officina Farmacia Santa Maria Novella of Florence . They are very exclusive and everyone can see immediately the result! We have employers working in the spa from many years, with an excellent level of experience and everybody love them a lot!!!
Tuscany is very enchanting and thank you for your decision to come again.
Silvia Baracchi
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Kansas City, Missouri
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2012

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of staying at various Relais & Chateau member properties. I must say my experience at the il Faconiere was disappointing at best. The grounds are wonderful and the property is quite historic but there were so many deficiencies for a fine hotel property that the list of issues is endless. I would encourage the owners to pay simple attention to the details that makes one a "fine property and worth the price one pays". That unfortunately is not the case with what we experienced. Like another reviewer stated, how in the world did this property qualify for the R & C distinction?

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Il_Falconiere, Proprietario at Relais Il Falconiere & Spa, responded to this review, December 4, 2012
Dear sir
Thank you for your opinion about my property, I like take in consideration every review that can help to improve our service. This is not the case, I don’t understand what you liked or if you have had some matter and what. We are used to offer to the guests our efforts to make their vacation memorable ( I mean in positive way!). I recommend to the ladies at reception and to the staff to dedicate time to every guest to understand more about their whishes and try to make them happy! Unfortunately sometime clients are not very communicative and this make our job very hard.
I hope to have the possibility to welcome your again at Il Falconiere, personally, during your next trip in Italy and make your vacation special and memorable.
Silvia Baracchi
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Orange County, California
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
50 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
95 helpful votes 95 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2012

Let me warn you, this will be long, but if you are considering Il Falconiere, and in particular one of the cooking programs, please read on.

First and foremost, if you are looking for a shiny new place to stay which is perfectly updated, Il Falconiere is not the place for you. It is what used to be a family home that dates back to the 17th century. Yes, that means that it is older and that it has slightly older fixtures, etc., but I personally don’t agree with the prior negative reviews. Our bed and bathroom were very nice. We were able to cool our room just fine; the shower was not an issue nor was the bed. Again, the rooms are not modern but have a charm that we loved.

We booked the 5-day cooking package staying in a Junior Suite and our stay was one of if not the highlight of our trip. Just about everyone we spoke with did a cooking class somewhere in Tuscany, but I wanted more than just 1 class. Our program included three 3-4 hour hands-on classes all taught by Richard Titi (more on him later); the first class was with a bigger group of 9 people but our second two classes were just my husband, Chef Titi and me which were really cool. It also included pretty much all meals (you cooked a 4-course meal in each session and then ate the meal at either lunch or dinner), 3 different private tours with guides (1 of Cortona and surroundings, 1 day trip to Montepulciano and Siena and other stops, and one to the local market with chef Richard Titi to purchase ingredients); the tours also included meals arranged in advance by Il Falconiere. Our package also included a wine spa treatment (see below), a vineyard tour (which we ended up missing by our own mistake). In short, it was pretty much all inclusive.

I chose Il Falconiere because of their flexibility. So long as there were two of us (my husband was a trooper and joined in the cooking) we could do the classes pretty much whenever we wanted. We were also asked if there was anything in particular we wanted to cook but their menus were so diverse that we had no changes. In short, Chef Titi was awesome. He was extremely knowledgeable, clearly loves what he does (and is amazing at it) while also being a really nice, down to earth guy. We thoroughly enjoyed all of our classes as well as the market trip with him. Plus, most importantly, the food we prepared with him was amazing. If you want to cook in Tuscany, I cannot recommend Il Falconiere enough.

Silvia and Ricardo Baracchi, the owners, were both also extremely nice. They joined us for cocktails our first night, which was a very nice, personal touch. Silvia made a point of checking in with us every time she saw us; we also had a farewell drink with her and Richard Titi on our final night. Quite honestly, everyone went out of their way to make sure our stay was enjoyable. Want to reschedule your welcome dinner to the last night? No problem. Need a ride into (and later back from) Cortona? No problem. They were incredibly accommodating and we really did feel more like a friend/family guest than simply people paying to stay.

Our room was between the spa and the pool and was very quiet and private. It had a huge lawn in front (plus 2 chaise lounges shaded by fruit trees) which was basically all ours; it was bigger than our yard at home. The Junior Suite consisted of a good sized bedroom, a living/sitting area with a couch, desk, armoire, etc., and a bathroom. We felt like we were in our own private little cottage.

The property itself was amazing with spectacular views out over the hills and Cortona. There are actually two pools on the property, one by the main area and another up the hill past the vineyards where there are additional rooms. The grounds are absolutely beautiful. (One recommendation: bring mosquito repellant. The property is in the country and you will get bitten.)

Daily spa use is included, specifically steam room, Jacuzzi and a very nice lounge area with beautiful views. Our package also included “Wine Therapy” which was a Jacuzzi bath for two in a huge copper tub with a large bottle of red wine added to the water. To be blunt, it was awesome, if not completely decadent to be sitting in a wine Jacuzzi while drinking champagne. After, we relaxed in the lounge enjoying the view. A perfect relaxing afternoon. They have other treatments as well, but we didn't have time to try them.

Breakfast was good: the usual breads, cheeses, meats, eggs. We enjoyed all of our meals, both the ones we cooked and the tasting menu we tried on our last night. I do not understand the negative comments about the food, either at breakfast or dinner.

I will be honest, I was a little nervous before our stay as there are obviously mixed reviews of the property and I had no idea what I had singed us up for. But our stay was amazing and we highly recommend the resort, the restaurant and the cooking program.

If you have any questions at all, please message me. I am happy to answer any questions.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Il_Falconiere, Owner at Relais Il Falconiere & Spa, responded to this review, December 11, 2012
Dear SarahInSoCal
Thank you for your superb review, I see that you are used to travel and write review, for that I like it a lot!!!
You noted many details and that make my work very pleasant.
Thank you and I hope to welcome you again soon
Silvia Baracchi
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Montreal
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2012

We found the estate to be lovely. Our room was in the "newer" section, a bit off from reception and the main restaurant, but it had it's own breakfast area and outdoor (unheated) pool. It was quiet, spacious and had exceptional views. Turndown service left fresh towels as well. The breakfast consisted of yogurt and cereal choices, fresh fruit and pastries, fresh pies and cake as well as a variety of cheeses and hams, coffee to-order and fresh squeezed orange juice. The staff were always courteous and friendly, though it did take 30 minutes once for them to bring a bucket of ice. We made use of the on-site spa (complimentary daily access) and enjoyed it, though we wished the pool was warmer! We enjoyed the tasting menu and restaurant immensely, dessert being the highlight. We would recommend a stay here if on the "3 nights for the price of 2" special rate.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Il_Falconiere, Owner at Relais Il Falconiere & Spa, responded to this review, December 11, 2012
Dear DMD06
Thank you for your nice review, I like a lot your descriptions about the hotel, it makes me fell better. I always try to make happy my clients and when I realize that it happened I’m very satisfied.
I hope to welcome you again and have the possibility to share my world with you!
A presto
Silvia Baracchi
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ca
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2012

Could it be that Relais and Chateux now has a curve basis in a desperate attempt to add a relais in Tuscany. I have been to dozens of relais and this isn't close to measuring up to their standards. Most of the complaints on this site seem to be the same so pardon the redundancy. The air condition in the rooms do not cool the room, its hot. The mattresses are 30 years old and hard as a rock. My wife woke up in pain every morning. The showers good luck trying to figure out how to work it. No gym. The coffee pot filled with dust like its been sitting unsused for a year. What relais would pass this. Very bad service in bar. Breakfeast buffet the worst ever anywhere. Now on to the restaurant same issue as I am told they have a michelin star. For sure 100% this restaurant is no more deserving of a michelin start then McDonald's. The food, some dishes good some just plain bad. The service terrible you will strain your neck looking for the one captain who takes orders on 21 tables all by himself. I on both nights went and got him and made him come to my table and take my order. Once nice thing to say. It's a beautiful property in a beautiful Tuscan setting but after coming from the 4 seasons in budepest and the four seasons in Prague we know what perfect is. Relais in my opinion should be one better then a four seasons. Neither the hotel or the restaurant are close to dererving a michelin star or a relais and chateux membership

Room Tip: stay elsewhere
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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Il_Falconiere, Proprietario at Relais Il Falconiere & Spa, responded to this review, December 8, 2012
From Silvia Baracchi Chef and owner
Dear Golfbob,
thank you to spend your time to write a review about your vacation. For us your opinion is very important to make our Relais and service better and better. I see you made a reservation on September and our air conditioning was in perfect working all the summer and especially in September with a chilly temperature it worked perfectly ! Maybe was your sensation.
About the restaurant , we have this organization from many years, Luigi our Maître can organize the service and take the orders scheduling at the best the arrival of our clients to avoid stoppages in the kitchen. At the end we don’t have 21 tables at the restaurant , we have just 16 and spread in different dining rooms, so I think was not easy for you check our service, especially in the second floor. Our Michelin starred restaurant is not a fast food and we like to dedicate the best attention to every client. I don’t want a simple Chef de Rang takes orders but can do this just the Maitre or myself.
I opened at the first the restaurant on 1989, the hotel 4 years later , at the end we cannot have mattresses 30 years old , we changed all the beds 4 years ago and yes, they are not soft because they are orthopedic the best chice for the health of the body ( back and shoulders ) maybe you are not used to this kind of healthy attentions. We are always able to change our mattresses and pillows on request.
You are right we are nor a Four Season hotel , but we are very proud to be part of Relais & Chateaux , most of them are family hotels which excel in the art of hospitality with their personal touch and attention of every detail. I’m sorry to be far from your aspetations, but of course every clients is different and we love all of them a lot!
Hoping to be able to change your opinion on your next trip in Tuscany .
Greetings
Silvia Baracchi
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Additional Information about Relais Il Falconiere & Spa

Address: Localita San Martino, 370, 52044 Cortona, Italy
Phone Number:
Location: Italy > Tuscany > Province of Arezzo > Cortona
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#7 Romantic Hotel in Cortona
#9 Luxury Hotel in Cortona
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Relais Il Falconiere & Spa 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The typical Tuscan villa which dates back to the 17th century was the home of the famous poet Antonio Guadagnoli. Now completely restored and transformed into a countryside Relais, it is part of the prestigious chain Relais & Châteaux, which exuberates the art of hospitality.In the restaurant, in the kitchen, at the reception, dedicated to taking care of the needs of our guests ,we are proud to offer everyday our availability and our specialties, improving them continuously. The art of refining quality is achieved by caring about details that make a difference.An ideal setting for those who love the beauty of the countryside, the atmosphere of the Relais is quaint with characteristic old-fashioned Tuscan charm. The twenty-two rooms are elegantly furnished-each unique in color and décor and reflecting the classic, refined style of important Tuscan homes. A few rooms are in the antique villa, some attached to the villa’s chapel and others in the cottage. All share the view of the magical landscape of the Cortonese countryside and are fully furbished with every modern comfort.La THESAN ETRUSCAN SPA has the goal of reawakening all of your senses through the harmony of the environment and the flavours and tastes of Tuscany.The Etruscan Thesan Spa guides you to discover the true relaxation, with a unique and unrepeatable involving all five senses. A wellness Trail where the two basic elements - water and heat - are skilfully combined with lights, sounds and colours therapeutic to optimize the relaxation. Exclusive for Officina Profumo Santa Maria Novella of Florence. Behind each of our actions is the desire to spark an unforgettable emotion: a recipe with delicate and persistent aromas, a special and rare decoration, the vistas leaving you breathless and astonished, the warm welcome that makes you feel as though you belong.. all of this will take you to the primordial feelings of pleasure. Staying with us will leave you with everlasting memories.The restaurant is on two floors with a glass and wrought-iron conservatory, overlooking the outside dining terrace with its ancient fishpond and rose-clad pergola. The cooking, which is personally supervised by Silvia, with the help of the head Chef Richard Titi, has succeeded in creating new temptations, using original and traditional recipes to create a marvelous cuisineaccompanied by great wines. “Il Falconiere” is situated in a quiet, elevated, rural location amid vineyards and olive groves. It enjoys enviable views of the Val di Chiana to the west, and Cortona, the ancient Etruscan hill town just three kilometers to the south. The Relais is ideally located for short trips to some of the most famous art cities of central Italy, such as Arezzo, Perugia, Siena, Florence and Assisi, all within in an hour’s drive away. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Relais Il Falconiere Cortona
Relais Il Falconiere Hotel Cortona

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