Relais La Corte dei Papi: History and Hospitality in Cortona

| Mon, 02/12/2024 - 06:20
Gardens at Relais la Corte dei Papi

Ed.: The Inspired Stays series highlights hotels we love around Italy. Each property is independently reviewed by an Italy Magazine writer, who is generally hosted on a complimentary basis. Our contributors do not accept compensation or gifts in exchange for specific types of coverage. We only showcase properties we would genuinely recommend overall.

Why we love it 

In the Papi family for eight generations, La Corte dei Papi is rooted in Tuscanys agrarian history but with a luxury refresh. Led by a mother and son team, the hotel combines family hospitality with the indulgences of in-room spas, manicured lush gardens and a pool for lounging — its a welcome retreat from busy Cortona down the road.

What to expect

Banquet hall at Relais la Corte dei Papi
Banquet hall at Relais la Corte dei Papi

The atmosphere here is understated and tranquil elegance. The suites transformed from the propertys former stables come with in-room Jacuzzi tubs and saunas, and the seasonal pool is the ideal place for a candlelit meal or an afternoon with a book. Its best for couples who need a getaway, but youll also see families with quiet children.


David and his mother, Gabrielle, opened La Corte Dei Papi restaurant in 2001 on the 17th-century family farm. Gabrielle was in the kitchen while David managed the house, and requests from diners led them to rent two converted stables and eventually expand to a 16-room relais with a pool in 2019.

Location, location, location 

It’s a 10-minute drive from Cortona to the relais through hamlets and vineyards. The property backs onto the Papi family’s vines, and the rooms are set in two buildings separated by the grounds, which include a 900-year-old olive tree and a labyrinthine rose and herb garden.

Where you’ll sleep

Delux Spa Suite at Relais la Corte dei Papi
Deluxe Spa Suite at Relais la Corte dei Papi

Lower-level suites in the former stables are expansive, with double doors to the countryside and private gardens. Gilt furniture, candlestick telephones and writing desks create a turn-of-the-century elegance but with modern amenities in the digitally-controlled sauna shower with sound therapy and a Jacuzzi tub. The Bridal Suite is set on two levels with a four-poster bed on a balcony. A suite above the restaurant is in Davids grandmother's former house, with the original fireplace.

Dining & drinks

The dining room where David and Gabrielle opened their restaurants has since expanded to two cozy vaulted rooms in what was once the cantina. Breakfast and dinner are served on round tables with white linens and taper candles. The menu is Tuscan, with dishes such as bistecca alla Fiorentina, pigeon and a few seafood dishes from further south. Pasta is made from local wheat, and the desserts are inventive (such as cilantro gelato). In the summer, a pool bar serves food and drinks.

Service notes 

We found the breakfast buffet to be a bit lacking (bread but no toaster, and no alternatives to coffee or black tea) compared to the inventive dinner menu.

Spa time

Seasonal pool at Relais la Corte dei Papi
Seasonal pool at Relais la Corte dei Papi

While theres no on-site spa, many rooms have an in-room Jacuzzi and steam shower with multiple settings. The option to change the saunas music, lighting, and scent adds to the full relaxation experience, without leaving your room.

You should know...

You can taste wine produced from the relais vineyards at the restaurant or buy a bottle to take home (or enjoy in your room).


  • The hotel has no elevator. 

Features & amenities

  • Countryside
  • Semi-rural
  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Free WiFi
  • Parking (free)
  • Pool
  • Garden
  • Pets allowed 
  • Family friendly 


La Corte dei Papi 
Via La Dogana 12, Cortona
Tel. +39 0575614109