On-Site Report: Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco

Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco is not easy to define. On a 5,000-acre estate in the heart of Tuscany’s UNESCO-protected Val d’Orcia bucolic countryside, this charming Medieval village has 42 suites and 11 villas, 13 swimming pools, Italy’s only private 18-hole golf course, produces one of the country’s greatest wines, and last year was named the world’s best hotel.

Formerly owned, and lovingly developed by the Ferragamo family, it has been a Rosewood since 2015. A dusty, winding country road brought us to the reception, from where we strolled along a shady pathway to the village’s old main street, which was once public, but is now incorporated into the estate.

At one end looms the ruined tower of the 800-year-old castle (which gives it the name castiglion, with bosco meaning woodland), and along the old street, the Borgo, we found a little consecrated church, a Michelin restaurant, a second restaurant in the former parish priest’s house, and 42 suites in the old village stables and farmhouses and on a higher level. There are also two heated, lavender-bordered infinity swimming pools with views over the sweeping countryside, the golf course and the walled town of Montalcino (for which the local red wine Brunello di Montalcino is named) which is perched on a nearby hilltop.

Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco
The Hotel is located in Montalcino, Tuscany, in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Val d’Orcia. (Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco)

Managing Director Mirko Marchi ([email protected]; +39-05-771-913-001) told us that the best hotel accolade can be put down to “not just the astonishing beauty of the setting, but also the attention Chiara Ferragamo has put, and continues to put, into every detail. And then to our focus on guests, and on making this a truly unique experience for them. Castiglion del Bosco is a lifestyle.”

He said the property closes every year on January 8 and reopens on March 21, and that bookings can be made over the GDS and are best at least three months in advance for May to October. For VIP needs contact the reservations team ([email protected]; +39-05-771-413-001) who will flag the hotel manager, Nicola Migheli ([email protected]), and the managing director.

The entry level are the Junior Suites, most of which have a terrace or a patio garden and Borgo or valley views. The Borgo Suites are larger, measuring 828 square feet, and have a separate living room and a guest powder room. Top choices are the Terrace Suites with living rooms, walk-in closets, guest powder rooms, shaded pergola terraces or private gardens, and the CdB Suites, which are the largest at 1,108 square feet. They, too, have living rooms with fireplaces, terraces, walk-in closets, guest powder rooms, and, like the Borgo and Terrace Suites, they can sleep three. Throughout, there are 15 connecting options. The room décor is charmingly rustic with local textiles and antique furnishings, and the marble bathrooms have bathtubs, showers, dual sinks and toiletries from Florence’s Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella.

Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco
Villa Sant’Anna is a two-story five-bedroom stone villa with Tuscan interiors. The 7,050-square-foot villa has a living room with a decorative fireplace. (Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco)

The eight villas are five to 15 minutes from the Borgo by buggy, car or minivan. They range from three to six bedrooms and are furnished in vintage Tuscan farmhouse style, with fully equipped kitchens. They come with half-board credit that can be used for a private chef, the two restaurants or the golf course club house restaurant. Upon request there is the all-day Mamma in Villa housekeeping service. We found Villa Gauggiole a great choice for families; a short drive from the Borgo, it has three bedrooms (two kings) and a fourth king-size en-suite with a fireplace in the garden annex under the patio. There is also a living room that can take a single bed in the pool pavilion at the end of the large garden which, like all the villas, has a heated private pool.

Breakfasts in the Campo del Drago Restaurant are abundant. They include international as well as local specialties, and are helmed by executive chef Matteo Temperini ([email protected]). His Michelin-starred dinner menus are top-heavy with local products, many from his organic orto kitchen garden. Delicacies like sweetbreads and lobster are among the appetizers, local specialties including pici hand-rolled pasta make a tempting first course, and Tuscan pigeon and lamb, as well as sea bass and turbot stand out on the mains. For vegetarians—and not only—there is a luscious Vegetable Garden menu that includes locally foraged roots and herbs.

Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco
The Campo del Drago Restaurant serves international as well as local specialties, which use fresh produce from the resort’s organic kitchen garden. (Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco)

Lunches and dinners in the next-door Canonica Restaurant, also under Temperini and his engaging team, go from salads—our Black Cabbage with Blue Cheese and Raspberries was a showstopper—and pasta, to local favorites like Tuscany’s famed T-bone steaks and cold cuts, and there is also a pizza oven. Chef Temperini also oversees picnics in the vineyards, and the summer Sunday night culinary feast in the heart of the Borgo.

The spa has four treatment rooms, one for couples, a sauna and a steam bath. Spa manager Ketty Mozzi ([email protected]; +39-05-771-413-001) said the most popular treatment is the Heart of Tuscany, a 360-degree body and face experience, and that massages can also be arranged in the villas.

Activities abound, and range from the Cooking School, riding and biking (there are complimentary bicycles at reception) to playing bowls, tennis and, of course, golf. Guests can also drive through the Val d’Orcia at the wheel of a Ferrari, and in the truffle season head out with local hunters and their dogs to search for Tuscany’s “black gold.”

Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco
Villa Agresto has a panoramic terrace and infinity pool offering views over the Val d’Orcia. (Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco )

Be they oenophiles or not, make sure to reserve a wine tasting for your clients. Sales manager Caterina Majolo ([email protected]) showed us the cellars with their thousands of wooden barrels of maturing wines, and the Millecento Wine Club where members, on invitation only, keep their private collections in lockers around the beautiful circular room. The Winery’s tasting stations looked daunting with their lineup of sparkling long-stemmed glasses, but Caterina said the sommeliers put guests at ease, talking them through the story of the estate’s wine production, which is Italy’s third largest for these prized vintages. The Brunello Vertical Tasting is a thrilling experience that involves savoring the same wine from six different years and, like all tastings, is accompanied by local cheeses and breads.

Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco
The spa has four treatment rooms, one for couples, a sauna and a steam bath and lush private gardens. (Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco)

Top tip: For those who want to push their wine knowledge to higher levels, book a helicopter tour over the vineyards and the Val d’Orcia (this small region is iconic Tuscany at its best with stunning landscapes, rows of cypress trees, medieval hill towns, and rolling hills), with a visit to two wine producers, and lunch at the Il Silene Michelin-starred restaurant on Mount Amiata.

At the front-desk, Giacomo Bianco, one of the large and charming team on hand 24/7 who also double as concierges, told us private jets can land at Grosseto Airport. He said a helicopter to the estate takes around 15 minutes, and that Florence, which is the nearest international airport, is over an hour and a half by car.

Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco
The hotel has Italy’s only private 18-hole golf course. (Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco)

For inquiries on travel and logistic options, contact front-desk manager Manuela Carta ([email protected]; +39-05-771-413-001). For help with shopping and other local escapades, reach out to guest experience managers Valerio de Rosa ([email protected]) and Alessia Tripaldella ([email protected]). Make sure to propose outings to Siena, with its exciting Palio horse races in July and August and truly magnificent cathedral, and to fascinating towns like Pienza “the ideal Renaissance city,” and San Gimignano, “the Manhattan of the Middle Ages,” all of which are near enough for day trips.

When the time came to leave, we once again pondered on how we could best define Castiglion del Bosco. And four words instantly sprang to mind, flashing like a Las Vegas jackpot: Out of this world.

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