In October of 2011 we travelled for 2 weeks through Italy with friends and considered our stay at the Castle and the cooking class with Nonna Ciana to be the highlight of our entire trip. This year we had the opportunity to return to Siena, this time with our daughter who lives in Spain, and spend Christmas 2012 with her at the Castle. After building up her expectations with stories of our previous trip, we wondered if we may have set the bar too high. As it turned out this time was just as magical!
The first time at the Castle, we stayed in the Tower room which still stands as the most amazing room we have ever stayed in. For a single person or a couple, this is an experience that you will never ever forget. This time, since there were 3 of us, we stayed in the apartment which worked out perfectly for us. There are four rooms and all rooms (except the bathroom) have a beautiful views of the country side. The four rooms include a good-sized bedroom, a small bathroom with a washing machine (which came in very handy), a large living/dining room, and a full kitchen which is small but quite adequate. There is a very comfortable big pull-out sofa bed in the living room. This is where our daughter slept. The living room also has a fireplace that we took full advantage of. One note is that if you do stay there be sure that the damper is in the middle “straight up and down” position. We learned the hard way that turning it either direction closes the damper – we hope the smoky smell is gone by now!
Nicola, as before, was the perfect host. We were treated more as part of the family than as guests. He arranged ahead of time for a great Christmas Eve dinner at the Osteria Antica da Divo in Siena which is very deserving of TripAdvisor’s #2 rating in all of Siena. We very much enjoyed our visits to Siena as well as a number of fascinating hill towns, but the highlight was the Castle itself. We very much enjoyed exploring the grounds as well as just relaxing in the garden with a bottle of the home grown wine and gorgeous views of the Tuscan country side. Breakfast was always a treat as well.
We did the cooking class again which if anything was even more fun than the first time – see our review at http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187902-d3400043-Reviews-Cooking_Classes_with_Nonna_Ciana-Siena_Tuscany.html. Even if you are not lucky enough to be able to stay at the Castle we strongly recommend doing the cooking class!
Thank you Nicola for everything! We treasure each of our stays at the Castle and hope that it is not too long before we see you again!