Sweeping through the main gates into the aristocratic surrounding of the 12th century Castello del Nero Hotel & Spa is the perfect introduction to a bygone Italian era of lavish wealth and power, perfectly preserved in this restored castle, now a five-star deluxe hotel and a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. Appropriately located 20 minutes from both Florence and Siena, Castello del Nero’s sumptuous buildings and interiors will induce the perfect mood for a visit to two of the most artistic cities in Europe.
Such is the Castello del Nero’s historical importance that the Italian Fine Arts Commission had to be called in to oversee work on the original structure, in all its frescoed glory. The resulting restoration is impeccable; the noble Del Nero family, Florentine priors and politicians whose country seat this was, would have approved.
This 12th-century castle presides over a 700-acre estate of rolling Tuscan hills, a panorama that unfolds before you wherever you are in the castle, whether relaxing in your suite, or enjoying Chianti on the terrace, or floating in the pool or strolling along the Marquesa’s poplar promenade. Nothing mars this timeless vista: it is as it was when the del Nero family lived here in the 1100s: even the electricity and telephone cables have been buried so as not to spoil the view. The three-year renovation was overseen by the Italian Government to ensure that, while repairing and modernising Castello del Nero, the original historic building and interiors were preserved.
The result is an historic home where one can live an aristocrat life, complete with every modern comfort and convenience. Moving through wide halls over ancient stone and terrazzo floors, to swirling classical salons, past tall windows and beneath ornate ceiling frescoes, you will soon be sweeping along like a visiting grandee.
That noble heritage is seen in all 50 guest rooms and suites, many with enchanting views across the countryside (the higher you go, the farther you can see) and filled with antiques and art. The beds are dressed with cashmere blankets and goose-down duvets. The walls are lined with pictures and, in some, vaulted ceilings, fireplaces, family crests and original frescoes. Several bathrooms are ‘parlour baths’—full-sized rooms in their own right, with double sinks, an enormous tiled shower, commode and bidet, a giant claw-foot tub with a television of its own. In fact, the electronics in the guest rooms would not be out of place in a New York penthouse: an electronic key system controls lights and locks. The flat-screen television/computer monitor has a wireless keyboard to access the internet from your room, and an WIFI connection for your laptop.
For the pleasures of the dining table, look to the first-class cuisine in the high-ceilinged La Torre Restaurant located in the former castle’s stables with its vast fireplace and arched French windows opening on to the terrace and valley. This is a renowned restaurant, Executive Chef Giovanni Luca Di Pirro creating delicious menus using fresh Tuscan ingredients with emphasis on variety in both taste and texture.
Take, for example, the Chef’s signature dishes: Homemade Cappelletti pasta filled with veal in a butter and sage sauce with pigeon ragout and mushrooms with hunter’s broth; or Chianti snails served with aromatic herbs and a sweet garlic sauce; or slow-poached hen’s egg with crispy puffed rice, soft potato mousse, foam of salted yolk and black truffle from San Miniato. There is risotto flavoured with tarragon from the kitchen garden, and pasta filled with chicken from Valdarno, scented with black truffle. And as for the simplicities of the fresh green olive oil from the estate, the home-made tagliatelle and the home-baked foccacia . . . the list goes on. Speaking of lists, the Castello Del Nero wine list has won a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence—quite an achievement in so crowded a market. There is also a relaxing Bar, and in summer lunch moves from La Taverna to La Taverna by the pool with its splendid views over the Tuscan hills.
For a little gentle sport, there are two tennis courts, floodlit so you can play after dark, the outdoor heated swimmingpool (open in summer), there is riding among the vineyards and olive groves and a Fitness Suite with Technogym state-of-the-art equipment overlooking the Chianti hills. And then there is the Spa, an holistic retreat built by ESPA and featuring its cosmetics, its pools and relaxation lounges looking out under the arches to the panoramic vista to make for a sublime experience all round.
|Furthermore, the staff and the service are all excellent, making Castello Del Nero Hotel & Spa a dream idyll for those who wish to entertain their own guests: and yes, it has its own chapel, so if you want to be married, and are seeking a different atmosphere for the marriage ceremony, this could well be the castle of any bride’s dreams.
International Hotel: Our Members receive an exclusive Club rate and VIP benefits at Castello del Nero Hotel & Spa, including a Blue Ribbon rate for the first Members to book their stays in an Executive Double room.
For full details and the best current Club rates, please call Member Services on 020 7399 2960 or follow the link below.
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