I definitely could not expect more! It was exactly what I was looking for! After browsing and browsing through the top-luxury and non-top-luxury castles & medieval villages in the Montalcino area I picked Castello di Velona.
Not only it met my expectations, but it completely exceeded them! I will definitely go back! Hope soon because places like these are a must see in a life time! They don’t come cheap for sure but you will not regret it!
I was trying to stay away from traffic and crowds of tourists and I was also a little lucky to have vacation days in October, a perfect month for food lovers. It’s the end of the harvesting of the grapes and olives but the beginning of the mushrooms, truffles and game delicacies. No more rushing after the crowded August months and September busy months! The weather can be sometimes little tricky but I was lucky too and temperatures in Tuscany are not so cold usually in October.
When I picked Castello di Velona I was also considering Castiglion del Bosco and Castello Banfi, all beautiful properties, all very popular places also for the price tag but I expected them to be a little overpriced for my budget and also a little too touristic and fake may be. I chose Castello di Velona because I expected it to be a little more remote and quiet. I got so lucky as in fact that's how it was. A lot of privacy and all in a very authentic Tuscan style! The perfect place to relax after a full day on the roads, after visiting some of the most famous wine cellars and medieval villages like Montepulciano, Pienza, San Quirico d’Orcia, Bagno Vignoni.
After all day out it’s the place where you really want to go back at night and…you don’t want to leave in the mornings!
During my stay I was also considering to spend a few nights in the San Gimigniano and Siena (Chianti) area but Castello di Velona was too appealing for me not to stay there the extra nights and eventually take short daily rides by car to Siena, San Gimigniano, Cortona etc. That worked perfectly too.
I found Castello di Velona to be a very authentic Tuscan resort and the perfect mix of old or rural and contemporary architecture.
The Hotel consists of a main unite with towers where the more traditional and cheaper rooms are and a lower and newer area with the more expensive and larger rooms, surrounding the lower walls of the fortress, and communicating directly with the SPA and the Pools.
All views from any room are amazing. The newer rooms also offer an open garden deck with table and chairs if you would like to enjoy a nice glass of wine while enjoying the 180 degrees views of the Val d’Orcia valley, it’s vineyards and the Amiata Mountain.
All staff proved to be all very kind and professional and made my stay even more pleasant. From Guido at the reception to Ciro, Simona and all the other personnel that worked during my stay.
Breakfast is excellent and is served in a very cute room with fire place near the reception area in the main tower.
Dinner was excellent too and was served at a lower floor not far away from the pool area. I had dinner there just one night simply because I was looking for a more "old fashioned" traditional Tuscan cuisine but the quality of food and presentation and service was amazing.
Another point in favor of Castello di Velona is that it’s near some of the best Montalcino wine producers like Biondi-Santi and Fanti are right there on the road to Montalcino downtown, and Argiano and Banfi and others are a few miles away.
The beautiful San Antimo Abbey is 2 miles away to, between Castello di Velona and Montalcino. They have a daily mass with Gregorian Chants for an unique experience and good start of you day.
A few tips for a better stay:
Rent a small car, you move better, and make sure you always have gas as sometimes at night there are no gas stations open.
Get a navigation.
Castello di Velona is in a town called Castelnuovo dell’Abate. Castelnuovo dell’Abate is easy to reach from Montalcino. You can’t miss the castle but you can miss the entrance to it!... as there are no big signs indicating it. When you get in Castelnuovo from Montalcino on route SP55 make a left and follow the signs to Monte Amiata. The entrance is may be 1 mile down on the right and on a left bend, you will see a brick or stone wall with an iron gate(at night illuminated by some COOL but low lights)! It almost looks like a privare residence entrance, that’s why you may miss it ! (I missed it!)!
Many cellars offer tours but you need to book in advance.
I will never forget swimming in the pools of Castello di Velona with the sunset over those vineyards! OMG!