Tuesday, September 25, 2012

HOTEL CHECK ITALY, part 13, Castiglion del Bosco

Tuscan history comes alive at magical
Castiglion del Bosco.

Year round Tuscany is enchanting, but perhaps most delightful in the autumn with its “mellow fruitfulness”, grape and olive oil harvesting, truffle hunting, and lots of different tastings…

At Castiglion del Bosco fruitful activities attract top luxury customers, along with sightseeing among fantastic medieval villages, cooking courses, golf, tennis, biking, trekking and Tuscan safaris. This vast property of rolling hills and valleys has large areas of woodland  (“del Bosco” = the forest) where you can spot porcupines, wild boar and perhaps even wolves. 

The resort lies below a ruined castle on a hilltop – housed in an authentic medieval village with medieval church and clock tower.  The “borgo village” concept is one of the top trends in luxury tourism in Italy today, and so history comes alive again for fortunate guests.
Ruined castle in the early sunset

Main street of the borgo village with piazza in front of the
shop, bar and restaurants - all part of the resort
Terrace of the fine dining restaurant - also the spot for a divine
breakfast with views over the wooded hills

In this borgo  village you find a bar and two restaurants, infinity pool, 23 suites and three of the resort’s nine villas, beautifully restored authentic Tuscan farm houses. The other villas are scattered around the vast property, with views to sing about, complete with their private pools.

Infinity pool in the evening

Private pool of a 4-bedroom villa
Lovingly renovated in Tuscan style, all the interiors are rich with details by Florentine artisans, artwork from antique markets and the earthy harmony of rough cut stone.
It is a peaceful hideaway. The old grey stone seems to sleep in the sun in the quiet “borgo street” and piazza. Flowers bloom in the garden, cicadas pipe and lizards lie lazily, as we do. The terrace of our CdB suite is about 120 sqm with sunbeds, sofas and dining table, our suite enormous and our views of Tuscan hills haunting.

View over wooded hills to the fascinating
medieval town of Montalcino
We climb to the castle ruin and watch the sun go down.
Sunset up on the hill by the ruined castle
Frescoes and paintings in the church in the borgo village are
priceless treasures

Vast terrace of  CdB suite "Vigna Alta" -
just out of sight are dining table, 6 chairs, sofa...
and all this just for you and your loved one/s
A veritable fortune and years of restoration turned the medieval village with its church and ruined castle first into a highly exclusive club and then into the hotel owned by Massimo Ferragamo. He is the youngest son in the illustrious Italian family Ferragamo. A name that sparkles in Italy.

Already many celebrities have  come here to ”earth” themselves. With nibbles of celery straight from the large veggie garden, and all those Tuscan activities…


Simplicity is refinement but can include very expensive details. Everything is antique or custom made. TVs and minibars in leather cases.
Crafted from iron just for CdB guests

Four poster beds fashioned in wrought iron by craftsmen in Florence, the Renaissance city. Pictures found in antique shops. Rows and rows of them, beautifully placed.
Just one of the many pictures
sourced in antique shops

Though never flashy, the size of some its suites is remarkable. Like our suite Vigna Alta in the borgo village “main street”, with massive lounge, massive bathroom with tub and shower including stone seat, dressing room, extra bathroom and the best of all the spacious terrace with sunbeds, dining table, sofa and views of Tuscan hills.

We also got the chance to see two borgo rooms with terrace (some do not have terraces). The room Fontaccia alta has stairs down to a suite that opens out into a garden with a pizza oven. There is a little kitchen so the two can be rented together as a villa.

Garden at Fontaccia suite/villa

Bedroom at Fontaccia

Pizza oven in the garden of Fontaccia suite/villa in the borgo

We were also blown away by a 4 bedroom villa. In lonely splendour with open views this stone farm house is a hideaway that offers comfort and authentic charm, plus total privacy. There are 9 villas in all.
A very Tuscan twin room in the villa

Wooded beams are part of the Tuscan charm that
pervades this villa
A minibar in a suitcase - thoughtful secrets
all custom made in Florence


Of course the resort has a spa (Care Suite Spa by Daniela Steiner)  and a gym. It also has a kids club (25 euro per hour) - and families are made very welcome. The trattoria/Osteria is perfect for kids, very low key, with plenty of pizza and pasta naturally. We dined there deliriously – not just admiring the real taste of pizza with flours mixed according to the chef’s secret recipe, but the real taste of crisp freshly picked salad. Could salad without dressing really have so many flavours? The fine dining restaurant next door is also the site of a very delicious breakfast along with the same enchanting views over a wooded hilltop to Montalcino, two valleys away.

Breakfast starter - after fruit, muffin, cereal, homemade yoghurt
you get to order hot items from the menu
Technology is very up to date, but some of its best features are its oldest – the church with its 12 century etchings, the belltower on the former priest’s house – now the bar and trattoria Osteria La Canonica where you can taste the full Brunello range. The magical ruined castle where you can watch even deeper red sunsets. A great place to get married.


Other old treasures of Tuscany can be seen on excursions. Siena is about 40 minutes by car and Florence 1 hour 30 minutes. Montalcino is 15 minutes by car. The hotel charges 50 euro per way for a trip to Montalcino which is very affordable. Visiting by hire car is possible and fun, but you need to park low and climb high.

Charming fortified town on a mountain top - Montalcino

September and October and even into November it is a very special time at Castiglion del Bosco.   September sees grape harvesting for Brunello di Montalcino wine.  October is for truffle hunting, cheese tasting and wine tasting.  November is for olive oil tasting and related festivities. It’s also the best time for truffle hunting and for gourmet truffle dinners. The autumn at Castiglion is also perfect for trekking and mountain biking, golf, tennis, and safaris with chance of seeing creatures of the forest.

Famous for its deep red Brunello di Montalcino (takes 5 years to mature), Castiglion del Bosco charges 70 euro for a tasting session at its own winery. Select customers get this included as added value.

Castiglion’s own golf club charges 220 euro for 18 holes (golf cart extra), limiting the number of rounds to non members to only 4 per year. Ulrika our sales manager has played golf here and been blown over by the luxurious facilities and services. See our earlier blog on her visit.

In a nutshell

This is top luxury, the resort is so understated and earthy even while it is so full of artistic flair and refinement....great for all types of people with a budget expansive enough for tasteful ultra luxury – quiet romantic couples, people who want to take it easy and be pampered, or families who want to be active all day long…

Informal images by Select Team & PO Broddeson

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