By Brydie Boulton
After a scenic drive from Pisa, I had arrived in Cortona; a traditional Tuscan town beautifully placed on a picturesque hill overlooking the surrounding areas. Upon arrival at Relais La Corte Dei Papi, I was greeted by owner, David Papi who takes great pride in the Palazzo which has been part of his family for centuries (Hence the name!) I was shown to my Luxury Spa Suite which, of course featured it’s very own spa in the bathroom, compete with Jacuzzi double bath and steam shower room which played classical Italian music while you relaxed. Beautifully decorated, each aspect of the suite has been restored or hand crafted from the gold plated bed frame to the plush seating area.
Despite the traditional touches to the suite, there is no compromise on technology from the touch pad switches to the plasma television. You could spend a week here and not get enough of all of the features that the spa suite has to offer.
My first day comprised of a cultural tour of the local area visiting local monasteries and churches which was guided by a very knowledgeable and passionate tour guide followed by avisit to all of the boutique stores in Cortana selling handcrafted gifts, local cheese and wines and cashmere. You simply cannot visit Tuscany without a tour of a local vineyard and of course this was next on the agenda. I learned about the process of wine making and the particular process of the ‘ Vin Santo’ before sampling the best wines that Cortona had to offer.
Back at Relais La Corte Dei Papi, I experienced a private cooking class with two chefs and a translator, where I learnt to prepare special Italian dishes using simple, fresh ingredients. It was a true treat to speak with chefs who were so passionate about the hotel and restaurant, the passion really shows in all of the dishes they beautifully prepared. I then immersed myself in the spa facilities in my suite before enjoying a treatment without even leaving the suite
When I imagined Tuscany, I pictured great food, great wine, culture and serenity and I experienced all of those things at Relais La Corte Dei Papi.
A special little hotel in the heart of Tuscany, it is a true, undiscovered gem.