Italy 2017: Introduction
Alitalia Business Class Chicago to Rome
Hotel Lungarno (Florence)
Dining in Florence
Il Falconerie (Cortona)
Dining in Cortona
Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria
Dining in Rome
Alitalia Lounge Rome (FCO)
Lufthansa Business Class Rome to Munich
Lufthansa First Class Lounge Munich
Lufthansa First Class Munich to Chicago
After an amazing time in Florence we were excited to arrive in our Tuscan resort, Il Falconiere. We arrived via train and met our driver eventually who after a 15 minute drive arrived down the long driveway of Il Falconiere.
We were dropped off right in front of the reception and our driver said he would take care of our bags. The first thing I said when we got out of our black Mercedes van was “wow, it smells great out here”! You could smell the lovely flower and lilac permeating the property!
We were met by a lovely check-in associate who was very thorough and pleasant. She asked if we would be having lunch with them as it started soon and would be happy to get us a table. We were assigned a Deluxe Room very near the spa, pool and main dining facilities which was very convenient for us with our baby. The walkways are all stone so a stroller doesn’t work very well here.
On display in the reception area was their full lineup of Baracchi wines which is the in-house winery owned by the Baracchi family which owns and runs the resort. This is their family estate and has been beautfully restored.
Near the entrance we noticed the “pet” falcon sitting on its perch in the afternoons. They do offer some sort of Falconry course/certification for a fee but we didn’t partake.
We were given our room key and escorted to our room by the same lovely front desk agent. After a brief introduction to our room we were left on our own and our bags arrived a few minutes later.
Il Falconiere Deluxe Room
Our Deluxe Room was fair sized and very comfortable generally. I would say the decor and condition of the room was slightly drab in my opinion. It’s very “country” or “homey” feeling. Kind of like visiting your grandma’s country home spare bedroom.
The bed was comfortable and there was a crib in the room already for our son although he managed to find his way in our bed most nights.
The TV has pretty much all Italian channels as it was very hard finding an English channel but who cares about TV when you’re in a beautiful Tuscan escape.
While it was nice to have a bathtub in our room it was literally in our bedroom. A large silver colored tub that looked vintage or at least 50 years old. Because it looked so tattered my son took showers during our stay.
The bathroom had double sinks and a water closet off the sinks.
There was a coffee maker and bowl of fruit for us on the dresser.
The room had a traditional door and key and thus you had to actually lock the door with the metal key when coming and going.
Our room was directly outside the spa pool which was fine as the pool got very little usage. One of the things that truly amazed me and disappointed me was the amount of bees/wasps around the spa pool and the main pool!! The resort must have not been able to stop the bees getting water and thus they had total control of the water areas.
Overall the room was fine and well appointed. One issue was one of the two air conditioner units was making a loud pop noise every 20-30 minutes and really made it hard to sleep our first night. The next day after I alerted them they turned off the unit using the in-room circuit breakers. The unit still made some noise but not as much and as frequent. They did offer us another room in the main building but it was smaller and didn’t have a tub so we just stayed in our original room.
Full room walkthrough below:
Baracchi Winery and Vineyard
One early evening we decided to take the winery tour for 25 Euros each.
Too bad our son wasn’t in the mood for a winery tour! We started the tour in the air conditioned champagne cellar.
The Baracchi Brut Rose is very popular and well awarded. The winemaster, the owner’s son is the one who showed us around and explained the details of the wine processes.
We later went into the more traditional winery with the large vats of wine and many barrels of wine being aged in barrels.
After about 30 minutes we walked back to the front of the resort where tables were set up for us to try three of the wines. Sadly half way through our tour my wife took our son back to the room so she didn’t get to try the wines that evening.
On another occasion we decided to just take a walk through the vineyards and get some nice photos of our son. I cannot emphasize the beauty of this location. Slightly elevated over the countryside so you get lovely views of the mountains in the far distance and the sunflower fields and the various vineyards.
On the other side of the resort you can clearly see the city of Cortona up on the mountain side near Il Falconiere.
Our son enjoyed looking at the grapes and we got some nice family photos.
Il Falconieire Pool
Very near our room was the main pool. The pool was a good size and most days the pool was empty or there was only 1-2 other people at the pool while we were there. Again as I mentioned earlier the bees and wasps have claimed the edges of the pool. Once inside the pool you’re safe but near the borders they are all over the place. On our last day one lady guest stepped on a bee while walking alongside the pool and was stung!
I bring this up because I HATE bees! I have never been stung partly because I stay away from them. In this instance I couldn’t avoid them. You just had to pick your moment and enter the pool.
Once inside the pool we had fun with our son.
After 30 minutes or so in the water my son was ready to relax 🙂
Once in the pool I didn’t want to get out. The water was pleasant the view was nice and plus I didn’t want to face the bees again.
Il Falconiere pool towel
There was no poolside attendant, if you wanted food or drink you had to walk over to the nearby phone and dial 9 for assistance. We didn’t order anything as we usually swam after breakfast. In our room were the pool towels but they did have more at the pool if you forgot or needed additional towels.
We used the pool on two of our three days at Il Falconiere and enjoyed it (aside from the bees).
Il Falconiere Spa
As part of our stay and booking through our Virtuoso agent we had a $100 spa credit. My wife was able to get a nice massage at the spa one evening. When she arrived back in the room I asked how was the massage and she said was fine except she has never had someone massage her chest! LOL I guess that is a thing in Europe or Italy after some research.
The spa had a nice pool that spanned inside and outside and was very cold and insect free on the inside. It was very peaceful and I never saw another soul in the spa during our stay except upon checkout I noticed a young couple hanging out.
Since the spa was deserted I peeked in all the rooms to check it out. I saw a few treatment rooms. I used the steam room and the sauna. It was nice to have the place to myself.
Overall the spa is a nice place to get away and get some relaxation. They also offered some fresh lemon water and two types of teas complimentary.
Food and Beverage
The two main reasons to stay at Il Falconiere are location/setting and the food! Wow the food was a star during our stay. The lunch and dinners here are memorable! The restaurant here is rated 1 Michelin star and for good reason.
We had lunch at Il Falconiere shortly after arrival. The setting is fairly formal but relaxed at the same time if that makes sense.
We were offered a complimentary glass of champagne to start. We then decided to have the 6 course prix fix vegetarian lunch option.
We then decided to have some more champagne and very nice white wine with lunch.
Course after course were some amazing flavorful dishes with unique combination of ingredients.
The zucchini blossoms were out of this world along with most of the meal.
I couldn’t believe the vegetarian menu would be so flavorful and amazing. Well worth the $85 Euros per person.
Simply amazing meal and perhaps either my first or second favorite lunch of all time.
Breakfast was included in our room rate and we stopped in each morning. Generally we ate inside at the same table near the window.
The buffet was good and had a decent amount of variety. I would have liked to see some pancakes or waffles or something as an additional option.
There is really just one hot item on the buffet which is the scrambled eggs which seem to be popular because it was alway running low or empty. We were able to request eggs made to order however.
Overall the breakfast is good but not in the same league as the lunch or dinner we enjoyed at Il Falconiere.
On our last night we decided to enjoy a superb dinner! What a magical setting on the outdoor patio overlooking the Tuscan landscape. This is wonderful experience to watch the sunset and see day transform to night all while enjoying high quality wines and top notch food.
Trying to entertain our son for our multi course dinner at Il Falconiere
This time we both went with the seven course dinner service and just ordered some basic pasta for our son.
Similar to lunch a long platter with various breads was delivered to start.
Our seven course dinner was paired with a wine selection for several of the courses so we got to try a nice variety of the vineyards wine during this dinner.
As the food was delivered it was plated nicely and explained to us. Each course was super flavorful and the wine combinations were excellent.
When I took my first bite of the ox tongue I was floored! It was the best, most memorable and flavorful dish I have EVER tasted! Wow! I wished I would have ordered that every day.
Even my son behaved during the long 2+ hour dinner and enjoyed his meal.
Simply wonderful service, very formal and professional all around. Every course was excellent. I may start looking at more Relais & Chateaux properties as food is a big part of their philosophy in many properties.
No points were used for our stay. We paid cash for our three nights. You can check the rates at their website for your dates. We booked through our Virtuoso travel agent.
A few minor issues but otherwise an overall nice stay and would love to return to Il Falconiere.