Beauty

These Historical Castles Are A Tuscan Dream – And You Can Stay In Them

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by: Ava Welsing-Kitcher
4 May 2018

With incredible food, homegrown wine and beautiful countryside backdrops, Castello Vicarello and Borgo Pignano are not to be missed when planning your next Italian escape.

The Vibe

Rolling hills, patchwork vineyards, ancient olive groves and an impossibly blue sky; driving through the countryside just outside of Florence is every bit as idyllic as you’d expect it to be, and spotting historical buildings and ruins adds to the excitement. I’m driving along a country road with the tiny village of Poggi del Sasso behind me, when a hidden honey-coloured medieval castle suddenly emerges atop a hill. It’s the family-owned Tuscan estate Castello di Vicarello, which has been standing for 900 years.

 

With only six suites, the Castello has been gently restored to closely resemble the original design. Two infinity pools and an organic garden circle the main building, with a secluded outdoor spa perched on the hilltop overlooking the remote vineyards. The ancient stone courtyard lies at the heart of the Castello, leading off to different suites, a hidden roof terrace and a beautifully rustic Tuscan kitchen complete with grand wooden tables and tumbling piles of fresh ingredients. 

 

 

The Rooms

Each suite has its own personality. Inspired by the original medieval decor with modern twists, you can expect wooden four-poster beds, immense cast iron tubs and huge flagstone floors. Most of the suites are up in the main castle wrapped around the courtyard, and two larger villas further out facing the hills. Perfect for families, a romantic escape or a girls’ getaway, the villas come with either a private pool or mini spa area and garden areas for each. 

Is The Food Any Good?

Eating and drinking is pretty much the soul of Castello di Vicarello (http://castellodivicarello.com/). The family-style kitchen is where simplistic Italian food is conjured up using locally-sourced meats, cheeses and produce from the Castello’s gardens. The organic wine is especially something to rave about – created by owner Carlo Bacchesci Berti and his son Brando from the surrounding vineyards, the four different varieties are so delicious that you’ll definitely be bringing a case home. 

The Hero Attraction

Florence is a couple of hours away by car, with an astonishingly rich cultural history and food to die for. Think sunset-coloured houses, grand palazzo’s, ornate cathedrals and a total smorgasbord of Italian food and drink (the Aperol Spritz are so delicious, it’s a crime not to have several). On your way to the city, make sure to pass through Colle Val D’Elsa, a hilly village in the province of Siena with the most beautiful hiking routes. After all that climbing, you’ll want a therapeutic soak – the Palazzo San Lorenzo hotel in the middle of the village has a gorgeous spa and charming rooms.

 

 

Are There Any Other Castles Around?

 

Crumbling remains are dotted around the countryside, but if you fancy another hotel at the height of luxury then Borgo Pignano’s (https://www.borgopignano.com/en/) unbelievably scenic 750-acre organic estate might just do the trick. The 18th century villa and neighbouring hamlet was initially the site of Etruscans settlers, and much of the original architecture is still intact (with a medieval church onsite). In the summer, art and music festivals are held, and the main villa holds a lofty art gallery with free supplies for visitors to play around with. 

 

 

The Rooms

The 23 rooms and nine suits boast lofty beamed ceilings, ornate claw-footed tubs (complete with a selection of bath salts and handmade soaps from the hotel’s beautiful mosaic-tiled spa) and window views spanning across the rolling hills. The infinity pool is to die for, and the surrounding horse-riding camp and elegant gardens make this a total paradise.

 

Is The Food Any Good?

Whether dining family-style at the huge wooden dining table with other guests, or opting for the lighter a la carte menu, you <have> to order the white truffle pasta as a starter. The baked sea bass is perfect for splitting in between two people, and the pairings with local wines just make everything utter heaven.

The Hero Attraction

Twilight fans rejoice – the town of Volterra (where the evil Volturi family of vampires live and rule over) is a 20-minute car journey away. Set high atop a hill, the walled old town is impossibly beautiful with many tiny delis, museums and gelato parlours dotted around. On your way out down the hill, stop the car on the side of the road and look out over the breathtaking Tuscan countryside – it’s a view I’ll never forget.

Extra Info

Rates for Castello Vicarello start from £595 per night and rooms at Borgo Pignano start from £273 per night. Book at castellovicarello.co.uk (http://live.ipms247.com/booking/book-rooms-castellodivicarello) and borgopignano.com (https://www.borgopignano.com/en/).

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Source link : http://www.instyle.co.uk/lifestyle/travel/historic-tuscan-castle-holiday