If it isn't already obvious to you, the Castello is AMAZING, AWESOME, phenomenal, unbelievable... It has been beautifully restored by Salvatore Gangale and family, and the accommodations are more than comfortable for American tastes (i.e. expectations of excellent customer service, cleanliness, large rooms, large bathrooms, large shower, Wi-Fi, TV, swimming pool, tasty buffet breakfast, etc.) With so many years of experience in the hospitality industry, the Gangales are masters of hospitality and superior customer service. You will leave the Castello feeling like you've made new best friends for life. One aspect of the Castello I feel that maybe is a little under-played is its being a PERFECT jumping-off point for those who really want to experience and explore Tuscany -- the countryside, the wholesome and natural food and wine, the vineyards and agritourism, the hill towns, the history, and so much more. It's only about a 2-hour drive from Rome, then you can stay for several nights and not have to unpack, pack, unpack, re-pack...
We stayed at the Castello for 7 nights in mid-June this year, because 2 nights last year was not enough! And I cannot wait to go back...
After our long flight from the U.S. to Rome, we spent the first full day of our stay at the Castello relaxing at the nearby Terme di San Giovanni thermal pools -- only a 10-minute drive from the Castello with breathtaking view of the Tuscan landscape and the hillside town of Rapolano Terme. It was a great way to relax and unwind after tiring travels, and a neat new experience for us lazing around in thermal pools (manmade swimming pools streaming with water from natural underground hot springs).
The next day we did a tour and wine-tasting at Banfi winery (interesting story behind it) near Montalcino, 40-minute-or-so drive from the Castello which includes more breathtaking views of the countryside and several medieval towns. Banfi was impressive and enormous and was fun to compare to Napa Valley wineries we've visited.
Another day we hit the Valdichiana Outlet Village, a very nice modern outlet shopping mall, about a 10-minute drive from the Castello, and we loaded up on deals at the Benetton store and others. That night we stopped at gorgeous and beautifully lit-up Cortona ("Under The Tuscan Sun" town) for a cocktail and were impressed with the lively nightlife.
Another day we drove about 75 minutes to Assisi and got our fix of St. Francis and other religious inspiration. If you're Catholic, this is a super important town, but also it's beautiful to non-Catholics alike.
The next day we drove through the scenic Chianti area and enjoyed a lovely lunch at Le Vigne overlooking vineyards and a picturesque valley. Chianti is just gorgeous; breathtaking and peaceful with such pure, fresh air.
The following day we spent in Siena, which is visible in the distance from the Castello and only about a 20-minute drive. We had been there before but still got to see new things we missed last time.
Other guests of the Castello we talked to went to Florence (Firenze) for the day, but we weren't that ambitious and skipped it on this trip. (I'm just throwing this in to point out that it's doable from the Castello.) Anyway, my suitcase was already getting pretty full at this point, and the last thing my suitcase needed was fine Italian clothes, leather shoes and purses from Florence!
No matter where you visit from the Castello, Salvatore, Antonio, and/or Shelley will assist you in planning a memorable day with an accurate and personalized map as well as their hot tips, such as the statue of St. Francis at Santa Maria Degli Angeli at Assisi which features a live white dove living full-time in the basket that St. Francis holds (if Sal hadn't told us, we would've either missed this incredible phenomenon OR wouldn't have realized the bird was real!), and we were in awe of the Basilico of San Domenico in Siena which houses the real finger and head of St. Catherine! We didn't see any mention of THAT in the guide book!
Now it's back to real life, and we have this magnificent dream to hold on to and keep us going ... until next time! We will DEFINITELY go back to Castello Delle Serre and recommend it to all those who are worthy of its splendor ;)
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.