Whether you’re looking for a couple’s getaway, or taking a mid-winter break, February is the month to plan travels worth sharing. If you’ve never experienced the romance of train travel, climb onboard the Belmond Royal Scotsman. We also invite you to explore the latest in cruising, which has hit new heights of luxury and excitement.
Erika Reategui and Fernando Gonzalez
Tuscany is Italy’s most famous region. A haven for food and wine lovers, it is home to one of the oldest and best preserved wine estates – the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco. Mayla Melo spent the weekend there to see why the historic luxury resort is an ideal home base for exploring the rolling vineyards and picture-perfect towns.
Tell us about the Castiglion del Bosco.
About 1.5 hours from Florence, this 800-year-old estate is in Montalcino, in the UNESCO heritage site of Val d’Orcia. Its winery is the fifth largest producer of Brunello di Montalcino, so you can imagine how amazing the wine tastes. On the estate, you’ll find the remains of a castle, a medieval church and the Borgo, an ancient village that is now the heart of the resort. With just 23 suites and 10 villas, the staff is extremely attentive. After my 4-hour train ride from Naples, my driver had fresh lavender towels, snacks and even an iPad with Wi-Fi for me. When we arrived in our villa, a basket of fresh vegetables from their organic garden was waiting in our gourmet kitchen.
Why did you pick the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco?
For a long weekend, it has everything you need to discover Tuscany or just enjoy the property itself. There are so many typically Italian things to do on its 5,000 acres. From touring the famous vineyard and learning about Brunello, to taking lessons at La Canonica Cooking School, exploring the organic farm, and swimming in the infinity pool overlooking the Tuscan hillside and town of Montalcino. On property there is also a golf course, spa, archery, biking tours, fishing, guide hikes, and yoga. Founders Massimo and Chiara Ferragamo thought of everything.
What were your favorite activities?
Biking from the hotel to the town of Buonconvento, which took about 25 minutes. The guided Nature Walk on property was also beautiful. But my favorite memory was cooking in the villa using the basket of freshly picked ingredients from the resort’s organic garden. We enjoyed our pasta meal on our veranda overlooking the sunset.
Did you get to tour the Tuscan towns?
We spent a full day driving from one charming town to the next. We started in Buonconvento, a tiny village with amazing history. From there we went to Bagno Vignoni, a hot springs in Val D’Orcia, known as a pilgrimage site on the way to Rome. Then to Pienza, a Renaissance town famous for its pecorino cheese. We could smell the cheese when we arrived. We finish our drive with a stop at the fabled medieval city of Montalcino, where the castle from 1361 is practically intact to this day.
Cheese! I just discovered pecorino cheese and am in love now. And, of course the Brunello wines! We had a memorable lunch at Locanda Franci, a small organic restaurant in Montalcino. The salad with raw milk cheese was a dream. Also, the fruit in Tuscany – I was hooked on the fresh orange juice.
Was there anything you missed?
Yes, truffle hunting. The resort offers year-round guided truffle hunting. I’ll definitely be back!