After 2 years of Tuscany we decided to continue our love affair with Italy by expanding our horizons. 2 nights in Rome, followed by a week close to the East coast, we drove to Castello Santa Maria for 6 nights- An easy 1 1/2 hr drive from Fiumicino Rome airport, the Castello must be the most signposted pace in Italy - remarkable for such a small place!. On arriving, we were welcomed by Ulla, Serena & Diego, and given a tour of the Castle. As described in the other reviews, the family are very welcoming, the castle is fantastic, and full of antiquities. I guess the best comparison would be a small Scottish or Stately home inside, but with none of the "don't touch".
We stayed in the 3 bedroomed house attached to the main building. Inside it was cool, spacious, and well laid out. the only issue is that the showers have almost no pressure, but that's the only comment we could think of. Now to the best part - the pool. It's simply impossible to explain or visualize from photo's, but I spent a couple of hours each day just staring at the fantastic views. Even the teenage kids were impressed!
Location is great - a 3 minute drive from the village with Gelateri, coffee, small shops (Pharmacy, bank, small supermarket), Friday market.
20 -45 minutes from a host of great towns to visit (Bolsena on Lake Bolsena, Orvieto - an absolute gem , Viterbo, Montefiascone etc). Slightly longer at an hour is Todi which is another gem of a hilltop town, almost a mini San Gimignano.
We loved the place, loved the hospitality, loved the half day cookery school with Serena who is Bocos D'or trained (me, wife, teenage daughter & son), and would thoroughly recommend.
If you want action, nightlife, room service and pampering then this isn't the place for you.
If you want history, peace, great food, a location within an easy drive of sights and all at a fair price, then this should do the trick. We've tried (and liked) Agrotourism - and this is similar but a notch or 2 up the scale.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The castello was an old convent with original frescos of 1500 century. Beautifully restored with breathtaking interiors, today the Castello is a charming and peaceful countryhouse between Umbria, Lazio and Tuscany with amazing panorama from the pool. Breakfast and dinner are served in the ancient refectory; rooms are situated on the second floor or in charming cottages around the castello. Pastry and cooking lessons on request. ... more less
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