Luxuriate under the Tuscan Sun at Castello Del Nero
Discover the 12th century noble home turned boutique hotel in the heart of Chianti
The Italian region of Tuscany has long been famed for its fantastic food, even better wine and landscapes so breathtaking they’d make even Da Vinci stop in his tracks. Rich in tangible history, its capital Florence is often heralded as the cradle of the Renaissance – and if Florence is the cradle, the surrounding Tuscan countryside is most certainly its lullaby.
To experience everything Tuscany has to offer, there is no accommodation better located than Castello del Nero. The hotel and spa, in the heart of Chianti, is perfectly placed to relax away from the manic city streets, yet is just 30 minutes drive from both neighbouring Florence and in the other direction, Siena.
One of the many reasons Tuscany maintains a timeless, rustic charm is the notoriously strict regulations on building work and renovations in the area, which ensure the conservation of traditional characteristics. Castello del Nero is a fine example of modern restoration that in no way compromises the estate’s noble heritage.
Dating back to the 12th Century, the stunning Castello del Nero (Castle of the Black) was the residence of the Florentine noble family, Del Nero. Visibly grandiose, echoes of the past are felt through the family coat of arms, as well as the vaulted ceilings and original frescos that are present throughout many of the 50 exquisite guest rooms, while modern facilities that blend seamlessly with historical decor make for some of the most Instagrammable bathrooms I’ve ever encountered. >>
If you manage to drag yourself away from your own luxurious bathroom, you can head to the ESPA spa to experience a whole host of indulgent treatments, take a dip in the outdoor Vitality Pool, with hydrotherapy points and a range of hot and cool experiences, or relax in the sun by del Nero’s outdoor swimming pool.
Surrounded by 740 acres of glorious rolling hills, the verdant land that makes Chianti one of the most sought after wine regions in the world, is home to vineyards and olive groves that produce the estate’s own delectable Chianti Classico Riserva and olive oil - the latter of which is used both in the restaurant, and as a key ingredient in many of the hotel’s spa treatments. As an added treat, one excursion on offer allows guests to forage for their own ingredients in the local forests, as they join a professional truffle hunter (and his dog) to explore the grounds for this coveted delicacy.
Which brings us to the food. Whoever first said the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach had quite possibly just visited Tuscany. Among its many great features, Castello del Nero is home to a Michelin star restaurant, La Torre, with head chef Giovanni Luca Di Pirro at the helm, as well as La Taverna, offering al fresco dining with unparalleled views.
All of the wonderful dishes are created using locally grown organic produce, such as the estate’s aforementioned olive oil. Staying true to to traditional tuscan cuisine, wild boar, truffle, and porcini are present throughout the menu (wild boar ragout is a truly delicious staple of the area), but Di Pirro’s international influences can be seen in summer dishes such as Blue Lobster with lime and tarragon. >>
When choosing a wine for dinner, one thing is guaranteed; you won’t struggle to find the perfect pairing. Boasting an original, 12th century underground wine cellar, Castello del Nero houses a collection of over 1000 different labels that would make any oenophile go weak at the knees. With a wine list honoured for consecutive years by the Wine Spectator for holding ‘one of the most outstanding restaurant wine lists in the world’, the sommelier is on hand to guide you through the list and show you some of the finest wines the region has to offer.
After dinner, you can either head to the hotel’s bar for a digestif or make your way back to the room to unwind. While the Presidential suite holds the honour of best bathroom at Castello del Nero, the grandest of all the rooms has to be the Royal Galway suite, starting at £1,400 a night. Named after Sir James Galway, famed flautist and great friend of the family, the suite comes complete with its own private terrace, allowing for panoramic views of the environs in complete solitude.
Guests of the Royal suite can complete the stay in style with a spot of star-gazing - for a romantic touch, the hotel can arrange an astronomical observation, held on the Royal Suite’s terrace with a member of the Astronomical Observatory of Chianti. Giuseppe Verdi once said “You may have the universe if I may have Italy”, and while gazing into the night sky at Castello del Nero, you might think you have both.