Brand new hotel, 10 centuries old: Castello di Casole

August 5, 2012 in ITALY | Comments (5)

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castello-side-dsc_0354

Image 18 of 18

Side of the castle

The petrol attendant in Casole d’Elsa pointed across the valleys: “There it is”. Finally we could see it after two hours of searching with our GPS. The brand new hotel Castello di Casole stood like a fortress village on the highest hill of its vast estate, amidst a panorama of rolling Tuscan countryside.

We were met with five-star grace, our car parked for us, and our luggage delivered to our corner suite in the exquisitely renovated 10th century castle. Friendly staff sympathised over our GPS troubles (see note below) apparently rooted in the newness of the hotel, open only on July 1 after 5 years of restoration.

It was now early evening and the air held a gentle buzz of expectation in the lobbies and courtyard, with trendy long dresses, high heeled sandals and bare shoulders in a play of see and be seen. Both the trattoria and the fine dining restaurants had tables out among the potted lemon trees. Candles were lit along the rim of the water feature and a balmy breeze cooled after an awesomely hot day. In fact outside the piazza/courtyard it was quite windy which is why they had moved tables into shelter away from the usual panoramic terrace.

Castella di Casole is indeed a romantic spot perched up on the hill with views all round. The fine dining terraces overlook the sunset and infinity pool and across the valley to the quaint medieval town of Casole d’Elsa, easily reached to provide many more Tuscan dining options. We had two top class breakfasts with the buffet choices supplemented by a la carte items and foamy cappuccinos. In addition we dined at the trattoria which held a very high standard offering authentic Tuscan fare, pizzas and pasta – with the sophisticated edge of vegetarian options. My vege lasagna was memorable.

Everywhere Tuscan ambience has been taken to the ultimate with perfect imaginative details, antique or customized; decorative wrought iron bedsteads and light fittings with twirls and flourishes, heavy dark beams, pictures from antique markets. Our suite was delightful, and the attractive wrought iron created a medieval flavor as befits its position on the 2nd floor of a 10 th century castle, and yet had the artistic flourishes of its artists and designers. I particularly loved the bathroom with views of the cypress lined drive from one side and Tuscan hills on the other (though over the parking lot).

We were given a welcome bottle of Castello Wine in the room, which we drank in the bath tub (with its reflections in fancy mirrors over the double vanities, separate shower cabinet and toilet/bidet nook).

It was a very delicious wine we sipped with flavours of perhaps chocolate and berries (I am no wine expert).The estate – 4200 acres of it – has 30 acres of olive trees for own olive oil production and 80 acres of vines producing its own wine, created in a winery off the property. They use the same winemaker as Sting.

See next blog post for more about the hotel.

PS flashback. Our Maps programme in the iPhone steered us to Casole d’Elsa apparently through lack of information on the new hotel address. We drove up hill and down dale in the area looking for signs, but saw none. We had approached from an unusual direction, as it is signposted for driving from Florence or Siena and we drove over fabulous Val d’Orcia from Castiglion del Bosco. Phonecalls to the hotel proved fruitless as the staff new to the area could not imagine where we were phoning from in Casole d’Elsa so kept sending us in wrong directions. The proper address given by someone at the hotel fed into our iPhone programme advised us we were 50 km from our destination…so who knows what went wrong there. Certainly not Telia.

It was the petrol station attendant who put us right in the good old style.

View across to Castello di Casole from medieval Casole d'Elsa

Far in the distance is Castello di Casole, seen from a pleasant trattoria in Casole d’Elsa

 

Narrow roads and passage ways in Casole d’Elsa – and some washing

Castello di Caole:

Built DCCCCLXXXXVII – AD 998

Transformed to Villa Borghese MDCCCXI – 1811

Restored MMXII – 2012


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