Ah, Castelfalfi. There’s nothing like it. A favorite amongst Italians for decades, this hilltop Tuscan resort has it all. Stunning scenery. Delicious organic wine. Award-winning organic olive oil. Authentic restaurants. And a relaxing pool with a valley view. Perched on a hilltop in a remote corner of Tuscany, between Florence and Volterra, I was surrounded by dreamy panoramic views over more than 2,700 acres of gorgeous organic vineyards and olive groves.
This was the authentic Tuscan countryside experience that my heart craved. Imagine arriving at a restored 800-year-old borgo (village) that boasts a charming castle, woods, lakes, 57 acres of vineyards, 10,000 olive trees, and a 12th-Century church. That’s Toscana Resort Castelfalfi.
On the massive grounds that make up Toscana Resort Castelfalfi, I stayed at the four-star La Tabaccaia that once upon a time was a tobacco factory. This hotel was easy to love. With only 31 rooms, I was truly taken care of. The concierge thoughtfully arranged every detail of my stay with precision including a private car to nearby San Gimignano.
Recently renovated, La Tabaccaia has all the amenities American travelers love without losing any Tuscan charm and is exemplary of modern hospitality. The lounge bar poured the best wines of the region (I only wish I could drink more!) and its buffet breakfast was a morning feast starting with homemade lemon cake, fresh ricotta, and the perfect cappuccino.
Besides my one day trip to San Gimignano, I stayed at Toscana Resort Castelfalfi my entire stay. Days melted into blissful laziness relaxing by the pool and aperitifs in the garden as the sun slipped below the verdant Tuscan hills. Hours were counted by glasses of Chianti and the desire to ever leave utterly vanished.
At night, I put on a pretty dress and dined at La Rocca di Castelfalfi, the restored castle at the very top of the hill. Fine dining was perfectly paired with sweeping views of olive groves and vineyards from its panoramic patio.
Once, twice, three times for dinner. Each dish was made with simple ingredients but complex in flavor. Two of my favorites were the Chianina beef tartare with Tuscan black cabbage and truffles and the homemade ravioli stuffed with hare ragout.
For a more relaxed “family-style” vibe, I booked a table at Trattoria Il Rosarmino where head chef Francesco Ferretti proudly serves garden fresh country Tuscan cuisine. The gnudi di ricotta e spinaci al pomodoro fresco and pici alla norcina are so good I wiped the plate clean with crusty Tuscan bread. Also a bar and pizzeria, Il Rosmarino is as authentic as you get in Tuscany. Using olive oil made from their trees and pouring wine produced from the vines on the hills that I had walked through just that afternoon.
If you think Castelfalfi is passionate about its organic wine, especially the famous Poggio alla Fame, talk to them about their olive oil! Made from a blend of Frantoio, Leccino, Leccio del Corno, and Pendolino olives, I took home a few bottles to enjoy the quality and flavor of Tuscany down to the last drop.
All the amazing Tuscan cooking inspired me to learn a thing or two in the kitchen. If I had another day, I would have taken a class at Castelfalfi’s Rosso Toscano cooking school, where students forage for wild asparagus and truffles in the woods. Then create a delicious meal from their basket of freshly foraged ingredients.
My wine glass was never half empty at Toscana Resort Castelfalfi. Committed to being organic, sustainable, and KM Zero, the Azienda Agricola of Toscana Resort Castelfalfi produces four organic labels that represent high Tuscan viticulture.
The red wines of the region include: Cerchiaia, a Chianti DOCG, known for its bright ruby color and notes of red berries; IGT Poggionero, with intense flavor and hints of spiciness; and the Azienda’s famed, Poggio alla Fame, blends intense aromas with a violet scent.
Wine tasting takes place at 820 feet with stunning panoramic views of its restored castle and surrounding woods. I highly recommend the tour of the vineyards followed by a wine tasting course in the beautiful cellar room, where you can learn from a master and refine your palate.
If you find that La Tabaccaia is fully booked – which it often is – don’t worry. On property is the newly opened five-star hotel Il Castelfalfi. A beautiful and sustainable addition to Toscana Resort Castelfalfi, its additional 120 rooms perfectly blend with the surrounding landscape and views so that every angle is picturesque as you overlook the stunning valley.
That and the resort’s commitment to saving energy and employing local talent elevates the vision of beautifully bringing an authentic 800-year old Tuscan borgo to life.
TOSCANA RESORT CASTELFALFI
+39 0571 891000
*Images courtesy of La Tabaccaia at Castelfalifi and Donna Sozio
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