If you are going to make one trip this spring, make sure it’s to the under-the-radar region of Maremma in Tuscany, Italy. Blessed with stunning gardens and surrounded by vineyards, with a fairytale atmosphere and breathtaking views, Castello di Vicarello is an unspoiled, ultra-boutique authentic Italian destination. From gentle-paced days of relaxing by the pool and unwinding during a yoga class to more active adventures such as cycling, hiking and horse riding through the beautiful countryside – this is the perfect destination to switch off from day-to-day life, reconnect with nature and experience genuine Italian hospitality with authenticity at its heart.
Nestled between Rome and Florence and under the ownership of the Italian Baccheschi Berti family, the property was hand-picked for its exquisite location and has been lovingly restored and reimagined through the family’s artful vision. Castello di Vicarello has since introduced a new level of contemporary luxury to the Tuscan countryside, drawing in the discerning traveller. With its heartfelt service, home grown cuisine and its two outdoor swimming pools, the property has established itself as one of the most enchanting hotels in the region.
A TASTE OF VICARELLO AND A TOAST TO TUSCANY
Authentic Italian dining is at the very heart of the estate and epicureans are invited to discover the distinct seasonal flavours of Tuscany through the cooking classes. Helmed by Head Chef Kevin Luigi Fomoni, the holistic experience starts at the property’s organic vegetable garden, where guests can learn about Castello di Vicarello’s philosophy, which vegetables are available to pick during the specific season and gain insight into exclusive age-old secrets for cooking or cultivating herbs and vegetables. Following family recipes from Aurora Baccheschi Berti’s cookbook ‘My Tuscan Kitchen’, guests can master the essential art of the Tuscan specialty ‘Pappa al Pomodoro’, homemade egg pasta and the delicious Tiramisu dessert.
With six hectares of high-density, organically grown vineyards on the estate, oenophiles can immerse themselves in the essential wine experience. During the tasting, guests can sample award-winning wines from organic grapes, grown and harvested on the Castello di Vicarello estate. Sharing the story of this family’s passion for creating the best possible Tuscan wines, Brando Baccheschi Berti, the producer, personally guides guests through the production process from grape to bottle. The tasting takes place in the magical atmosphere of the castle’s courtyard or in the middle of the vineyards, making for a truly memorable experience.
DISCOVER MAREMMA AND ITS BEAUTIFUL SURROUNDINGS
To connect with the castle’s spectacular landscapes and to take advantage of the sunnier climes, guests are invited to book a selection of bespoke tours either by boat, horse, or bike. Dreamy nature surrounds the estate, from the vineyards, forests, meadows, and olive groves to the Tuscan coastline and surrounding medieval villages and major cities, including Montalcino, Siena, Pienza, and Castiglione della Pescaia. Spend the day cruising on the stretches of the blue Mediterranean coastline, complete with a delicious lunch freshly made from the Vicarello estate, or at a restaurant of your choice. Guests can stop off at local villages along the Tuscan coast and visit Maremma’s stunning sandy beaches in the national park, including Giglio island, replete with some of the best restaurants in the region. Back on dry land, one of the best ways to discover Maremma’s untouched beauty is on horseback. With skilled guides on hand to lead individuals or small group treks through the hills, the horse-riding adventure is perfect for both experienced and novice riders. Alternatively, guests can embark on a 2-3 hour biking or e-biking tour with the Vicarello’s knowledgeable Emiliano who will lead guests along gentle paved roads or, for thrill-seekers, a more challenging trip along rocky terrain.
For those who can’t get enough of the Italian way of life, Castello di Vicarello offers guests the opportunity to experience a unique leather-making masterclass. Led by famous leather creator Era Balestrieri, guests can spend the day learning the true art of Italian craftsmanship, visiting a leather tannery to choose a hide, and then transform it into their very own premium handcrafted leather goods. From artisanal belts to handbags – this quaint masterclass is a must.
Truffle lovers and foodies planning to visit the castle later in the year are invited to learn first-hand the indulgent art of truffle hunting, alongside experienced guides and truffle-hunting dogs. Venture out on the truffle hunting expedition to seek out this gourmet Tuscan specialty and return to the property to savor the autumnal flavors of Italian haute cuisine. Alternatively, enter the olive groves in September to learn and experience the magic of a traditional olive-picking and the olive oil-making process. Castello di Vicarello offers epicureans the exclusive opportunity to then sample freshly pressed olive oil during a traditional three-course Tuscan lunch.
Rates at Castello di Vicarello start from €515 based on two sharing on a B&B basis. Exclusive-use rates start from €12,000 per night (currently approx. £10,842) on a B&B basis, inclusive of nine suites (sleeping 18 guests).