Tales of Tuscany – A Summer To Remember
Two hotels, four days and a summer to remember; Castello Di Casole & Villa San Michele. Amidst the surrounding greenery, lies a hidden haven in the beautiful Italian region of Tuscany; the Belmond Castello Di Casole hotel. With 5,000 years of rich history, this unique hotel stands out from the crowd from its restoration, to the vineyards and groves around the estate. Amongst the elegant history behind this hotel, get a taste of modernism with the pool terrace and boutique filled with designer brands and paintings.
Hailing from the 10th century, Belmond Castello Di Casole’s renovations showcase the history of the hotel while also highlighting the modern aspects. This five-star luxurious hotel continues to exceed expectations with the brilliant service provided by the staff, resulting in the privilege of hosting royalty and film stars.
During the first two nights of our stay, we received a warm and friendly welcome from the hotel manager, Roberto Protezione, who ensured our comfort was his number one priority throughout our stay. Once we were settled in and given a tour of the hotel, we were invited to the #TalesofTuscany dinner for some food and drinks which was set in the enchanting gardens of this property. This was the perfect opportunity to meet and get to know some of the others who were on the retreat with us.
Our first full day in Tuscany began with the First Light in the Tuscan Wonderland nature tour. This breathtaking tour took place in the the centuries-old great oak forest that borders the estate, home to a variety of wild animals, native flora and fauna. A jeep picked up all the guests, taking them deep into the forest to observation towers to do some bird and wildlife spotting. Before returning to the hotel, we were offered a light breakfast at dawn which overlooked the panoramic hills of Tuscany with the option to journey back on foot to fully appreciate the scale and beauty of the surrounding countryside. Upon returning to the hotel, breakfast was served and we were given time to relax before regrouping at 12pm to be taken to the scenic village of Radicondoli. After a gourmet pizza tasting and the option to cycle back to the hotel, we were invited to have a complimentary 30 minute treatment at the hotel spa. To end the eventful day, all guests gathered to attend Belmond Castello di Casole’s summer official summer party where aperitifs were served followed by a celebratory dinner served on the Cip’s terrace and champagne offered at sunset.
As we awoke for our second full day and checked out of Castello di Casole, we looked forward to a picturesque drive into the elegant city of Florence where we visited the famous artists’ studio Iguarnieri to join a fresco art class. Art Gallery Studio Iguarnieri is the most well-known studio of local artists in Florence, where International Collectors buy Original Fine Art. For the last 20 years, the studio has specialised in Contemporary Fresco Paintings and Sculptures, attracting art lovers from around the world.
After our day out in the heart of Florence, we arrived at the second hotel of the trip where we were greeted with a warm welcome by general manager Emanuele Manfroi and his team. Surrounded by lush, terraced gardens, the majestic Belmond Villa San Michele in the Fiesole hills offered sweeping views over Florence at every turn. A former monastery with a facade attributed to Michelangelo, its authentic 15th century features radiate heritage and charm. Belmond Villa San Michele is now regarded as one of the country’s finest small boutique hotels and is home to one of the most romantic places to dine, La Loggia, for the taste of real Tuscan cuisine.
On arrival at the hotel, we were served a refreshing drink in the gardens before checking in, then given some time for leisure. As we reconvened for dinner, we were taken to the wine tasting room for a pre-dinner wine and cocktail experience, followed by dinner at La Loggia and after-dinner drinks.
The last full day of our trip had creeped up on us and to make the most out of it, we met at reception early to make our way to a private visit of Giardini Torrigiani. The Torrigiani garden is hidden in the heart of Florence and is the largest privately owned garden in Europe situated within city boundaries. It was revived in the early nineteenth century when the Marquis Pietro Torrigiani inherited the property and started acquiring the surrounding land. The architect Luigi de Cambray Digny, who has recently renovated the Oricellari gardens to much acclaim was commissioned to redesign the garden. We arrived back to the hotel in time for lunch which was prepared by Chef Alessandro Cozzolino and some down time to look around the hotel and its surroundings before meeting again for sunset drinks at the pergola.
After our final night at Belmond Villa San Michele, we all left the beautiful city in the morning with heavy hearts after experiencing the trip of a lifetime. With perfectly balanced out activities and a phenomenal hotel stay in terms of both location and service, it was the dream holiday we all expected. The most impressive approach to the hotel’s hospitality is the level of attentiveness to the guest; both managers of each hotel gave us a personalised tour of the premises.
Castello Di Casole
Phone: +39 0577 961501
Address: Località Querceto, 53031 Casole d’Elsa, Siena, Italy
Villa San Michele
Phone: +39 055 5678 200
Address: Via Doccia 4, 50014 Fiesole, Florence, Italy