Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Il Falconiere ( hotel and restaurant)

On the train leaving Rome we had the misfortune of sitting behind a newly wedded  American couple
on a honeymoon.

Them:    "Yeah, like we're going to Florence for a week and then we're driving to Tuscany n' stuff. We're even going to take a cooking class at that Antinori place!"

Me:     "Nice, You both like to cook"

Them : "No"

Me:   "Buona Fortuna"  ( good luck)


A cooking class is work, if cooking is your passion then it is enjoyable work, but work it remains. As a gift from my wife Elizabeth I was given a private cooking class with Executive Chef Richard Titi at the Relais & Chateau Restaurant Il Falconiere outside of Cortona in Tuscany. You can see Cortona from Panicle but we decided to spend a couple of days there.

Sparkling wine

I had always heard of Il Falconiere and the restaurant has earned a michelin star.  Chef /owner Silvia Baracchi is a driving force behind the kitchen and is the face that greets guests every day. Her husband Riccardo tends to the world class wines that are produced from grapes grown on  the estate.

And then there is Giocco

And a resident falcon.


The class was about three hours long and covered 4 courses. It was an absolutely terrific experience. I don't know what my final grade was but I am now a confident pici maker....many secrets. 


Petunias at Il Falconiere
James Aponovich
pencil on paper,  9" x 8"

In Italy, Elizabeth and I are constantly drawing. Drawing enables you to organize space in order to capture the essential aspects of place in ways a camera cannot. Often , the drawings remain in the sketchbooks but others transmigrate and find themselves transformed into paintings on the easel. That is winter work.


The Falcon and Mount Amiata
James Aponovich
pencil on paper, 10" x 8"

Mount Amiata is a dominate visual anchor to Southern Tuscany. Pope Pius II ( Piccolomini)
recognized this when he built the Renaissance city of Pienza. The mountain stands alone and in many ways it reminds me of Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire. Here, at Il Falconiere, there seems to exist an intentional visual conversation between the estate and the distant mountain. So, as we were sitting at dinner with the sun setting we could see the lights of Montepulciano across the Valdichiana Valley with Mount Amiata glowing....Magic.

Copyright 2015 James Aponovich

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