Castello Del Nero, Tuscany

Castello Del Nero

 

 

There’s something about a castle that speaks to the spirit of romance in almost every heart. Of all the castle hotels we’ve seen, the Castello Del Nero in the Chianti region of Tuscany speaks most eloquently of them all. 

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Things To Do in Chianti

Naturally, travelers to Chianti want to taste wines. Castello Del Nero makes its own, which is excellent, but will also arrange for guests to visit cantinas at wineries in the region.

Radda in Chianti is a charming town minutes from the castello, where visitors may wander, shop, buy wines and enjoy local cuisine. For those who want an authentic experience, we suggest having lunch or dinner at Bar Ristorante Semplici at Via Roma 41. The entrance is unassuming, leading to a staircase up to the dining room; the food is simple and the crowd is mostly local.

Aside from wine shopping, stop in at Busatti’s factory store near Arezzo to find bargains on some of the beautiful central Italian linens. The exact address is Via Giuseppe Mazzini 14, Anghiari.

For designer clothing, we always recommend The Mall, which is a very doable day trip from Castello Del Nero. All the best Italian designers have factory shops in this ever-growing shopping area. The spacious sandwich and salad shop is terrific for a good fast meal—time saved for shopping, of course. Prada now has a store at The Mall, as well as Armani, Gucci, Tod’s, Ferragamo and many others, though serious Prada shoppers may want to go to the store in Montevarchi (Localita Levanella, S.S. 69, Montevarchi, 011-39-55-978-9481).

 

Why do we love this place? Because everything is just about perfect. There is a man outside who spends his days with a pair of secateurs, ensuring that nary a leaf spoils the symmetry. The staff breathlessly awaits a guest’s every wish, anticipating desires we didn’t even know we had. The housekeepers are surely a team of fairies whose magic includes being completely invisible. 

We arrived in the hotel late afternoon after a hectic day in Arezzo and were whisked up to Deluxe Double 110 in the main building, where two windows overlooked a glorious view of Tuscany’s most beautiful area, Chianti. The colors in the room were serene neutrals, and the bathroom had a big tub and shower. We were just one flight up from the lobby and, because of historic preservation requirements, did not have access to the elevator. (Elevators are available to the other floors.)

Half a flight up is the piano nobile (noble floor) where two beautiful suites and a spacious salone are located. The Galway Suite is the royal suite, named for flautist James Galway, who was the first guest here. The four-poster bed is a replica of the one made for the Marchesa Teresa Del Nero in the 16th century. The suite has a large living room and a 500-suqare-foot terrace, where dinners or cocktail parties can be held.

Deluxe Suite 118 is on the other side of the salone from the Galway Suite—groups of guests who take both suites may have the salone as their personal space. This would be perfect for a wedding party or a large family traveling together. The suite itself is the most beautiful guest room in the hotel: it’s designed in pale greens, with painted ceilings, a fabulous bath with frescoes, plus a footed tub and separate shower. The suite also has a fireplace and boasts a panoramic view. Remember this one for your next honeymoon.

Deluxe Suite 115 is an incredible medieval chamber in what was the castle’s former dining room. Beamed ceilings and iron-trimmed windows make this suite different from anything else in the hotel. There is a grand fireplace and a bathroom with beamed ceiling and footed bathtub.

Even the old servants’ quarters on the top floor have been redone, including Deluxe Double 121, where the beamed ceiling is brightened by a sunny yellow décor. Since it’s a corner room, light floods in from windows on two walls. The bath has a double sink, a combo tub/shower and even a window.

The main building contains 16 of the total of 50 rooms (38 doubles, 18 suites). There are also rooms in several other dependences, including the completely private Classic Suite 202 with its own private garden. Both the living room and bedroom have access to the garden through French doors. Honeymooners love the privacy, and guests traveling with their beloved dogs often stay here because of the grass. The bath is large with a separate tub and shower.

We also liked Duplex Suite 215 in the annex building with its skylights and large windows, though some guests may find having the bathroom downstairs a consideration if they wake up in the night. The Belvedere Building includes several suites and deluxe doubles.

 

The Galway Suite
The Galway Suite’s living room leads to a 500-square-foot terrace.

We took the elevator from the lobby down to the spa, which was created under the huge terrace overlooking the pool. This is an ESPA spa, which means it’s top-notch. Guests who book a treatment also have access to the steam room, sauna and vitality pool, while there is a charge for those who wish to use only those facilities.

Chef Giovanni Luca Di Pirro beguiled us at dinner with his tortelli with duck, truffle and Brunello wine. Wine expert and waiter Francesco chose and poured some of the excellent wines made from grapes grown on the 300-acre estate. The olive oil served was pressed from fruit grown on the 7,000 olive trees we can see in the distance.

 

Deluxe Suites
Deluxe Suites come with king- or queen-size bed, terracotta floors and understated furniture.

Of course, there is a shuttle from Castello Del Nero to Florence, and visits to Siena or San Gimignano are available. But if you ask us, the compelling beauty of this site demands that you spend at least one full day, if not two, doing nothing but having spa treatments, lounging by the pool, or walking the three-mile trail that begins with a cypress-lined allée designed for the Marchesa herself. 

Note: Why did we say Castello Del Nero is almost perfect? Because there was only one copy of an English newspaper and one copy of an Italian newspaper to be shared by all the guests, and, because the requirement to access the Internet in our room through Facebook was not our cup of tea. Let us remember, though, that for the unplugged travelers among us, the situation may be heaven sent.

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