I have been to Tuscany before… Or at least I thought I had. I had seen the meandering cobbled streets, the Italian hospitality with wildly oversized meat platters and olive oil so fresh, it would make my Greek heritage blush (Sorry YiaYia)…. but what I had never seen, what I had missed every time… was the endless sprawling green views and perfectly uniform grape vines.
It takes a lot to floor me when it comes to views… but this place did. Continuously. Mi Amici… permettimi di presentarti a Castello Del Nero.
Because, I mean… Right?
This late 12th Century Castle has 300 hectares of the land, lakes, vineyards and just plain jaw-drops to explore… by foot? by bike? by car? Sure. Its 300 hectares right? You’ve got options.
This includes their own Olive groves (which produce their own olive oil), their own bee hives, to produce honey and the ‘Promenade of the Marquise’ through ancient cypress trees created for the Marquise Teresa Del Nero, “allowing her a shaded, private and hidden route to woodland next to the castle”. I feel like we would have got on well. Oh, and they have deer, hares or pheasants. Because, what else?
They are huge art enthusiasts for both original post 12th century art works but also local artists and modern pieces
I should add a caveat here. If you’re going to Tuscany, especially the Chianti region and “planning” to keep a) off the wine b) any semblance of a diet… you won’t. Yes, I know you’ve “got willpower”… I know you’ve got your “sisters wedding coming up and have a bridesmaids dress to fit into”… but take it from me. You won’t. Because you can’t.
Going to Tuscany and being moderate with the carbs is like going to the Sun and getting a light tan. It’s never going to happen… and why would you want it to? One of the best things about Italy is the food and in this region, the wine.
Suffice it to say, we ate well… it would be more truthful to say that we ate a little too well and I had to have the bread basket taken from me.
There are 2 restaurants. La Torre which is their Michelin starred restaurant. Open for dinner and uses fresh vegetables and herbs grown in their vegetable garden and Located in what was the authentic stables of Castello del Nero.
This is haute cuisine with pretty much the best rural view you’re likely to get with a regal castle feel.
Then there is the less formal La Taverna restaurant. The benefit of this restaurant (in the Summer) is the view. Because as you can tell… I am still not quite over the view.
The food is traditional Italian pastas, meats and salads and exactly what I wanted on the day I arrived to immerse myself in Tuscan food.
As always the portions are Italian size.
If you are interested in wines, they do a daily wine tasting down in their cellar which of course comes complete with meat platter and breads etc. Their head Sommellier will talk you through (and give you tipples from) the 1000+ labels that they have including regional wines. Because no-one in real life spits out good wine. Ok, I mean no-one I want to be friends with. They also do cooking masterclasses.
It doesn’t stop there… and this is what is really impressive… They have their own Olive Oil and… they harvest their very own honey.. from their on site bees.
The Espa Spa
I really like this spa because it is chic and well considered. It has a number of really luxurious facilities (sauna, steam room, hydropool, thermal beds etc) and some really great treatments.
They also have a small gym but the real draw is that they provide yoga instructors and personal trainers to any guest who wants them either in the gym, in their rooms or for an outdoor training session (If you can drag yourself away from the pasta for 5 minutes).
Oh and FYI, they have a combined spa but also a separate womens and mens side incase you would like to go… sans attire. Now I’m not saying that I would, but frankly it’s refreshing (and SO Italian/Skandi) to have the option should you want to without feeling uncomfortable. I salute this decision.
We stayed in a suite that used to be a barn. Give me a bit of history and I am anyones, but this in particular is special as all parts of the hotels have been functioning parts of an actual family home at one point over the last 700 years. Add to the fact that my spirit animal (slight resemblance animal) is a horse and you can imagine how at home I felt.
… and yet more food.
As you know, a Roll-top bath is an obsession and this one is particularly nice… because if you let them know when you are planning to take one, they will arrange for your bath to be run to a perfect temperature, filled with salts/bubbles and oils and covered in petals, champagne and candles…. There is very little more someone could do to totally win me over.
Once again, they produce their own range of Bath Salts too. Because, Of Course they do.
Other rooms include
In selected suites they offer a “unique bed, designed to replicate an original piece created to the specifications of the Marquise Teresa Torrigiani in the 16th Century”. Sure. no big deal.
I want to take a moment to mention the team there. They were so charmingly Italian that it would make the least impressionable person swoon. The barman Lorenzo was not just knowledgable… he could speak at length on the regional differences of world wines, techniques of distilling London gin to the birth-story of the Negroni and its inventor.
Elisa who is their Head of Marketing and utterly charming knew every square inch of the castle and exactly what they had been through the last 700 years. She knew the intricate details of the families who had owned it to exactly the materials that had been adapted and was true passionate about the property and history.
You may think you’ve been to Tuscany before, but if you’ve never been to Castello Del Nero… you haven’t.
Castello Del Nero: Strada Spicciano n. 7 50028 Tavarnelle Val di Pesa (FI) – ITALIA