We just got home from visiting Castello di S. Maria Novella with a group of 18. We had never visited before but the couple who organized the trip has been there 3 previous times calling it their favorite place to be in the world, and trust me, these people travel the world! Tuscany is a breathtaking place to be but staying at this castle that was built in the 900's and then had a $30M renovation in the early 90's makes the stay that much more special. The castle is beautifully renovated with contemporary bathroom fixtures and plumbing, which we had no issues with whatsoever. Each room, or should I say suite, is beautifully decorated keeping the decor all time specific and the castle in it's original form. There is a beautiful pool overlooking the Tuscany region that was very much appreciated and used due to the hot weather.
In addition to the castle itself being spectacular the staff was incredible and the food delicious. The staff went out of their way to ensure they fulfilled our every need but not being intrusive in any way. Every one was friendly and there to help and serve us. We had breakfast every morning, lunch at least 3 times and dinner 3 times during our stay. The food was delicious and not one of us had anything but great things to say.
The premise of our trip was for 1/2 of the group to go cycling in the mornings and then go see sights/have experiences in the afternoons. This location was excellent for the cycling as well as for visiting the Tuscany region, being in between Siena and Florence. We also visited a ceramics factory which Fernando the manager of the castle recommended, which was incredible! Not only were the prices VERY reasonable but they were incredibly accommodating. I am having my own dishes hand made with the pattern's I desire.
One of the many wonderful things about staying here was that we were the only guests. The entire castle, courtyard, pool was ours. It was our home for the week and we treated it as such. No worries about leaving out bikes in the courtyard and no keys for our rooms.
The only drawback I would note, since the weather was very warm (80's and low 90's) was there is no air conditioning in the castle. Although I have to say that I had no issue sleeping whatsoever and Fernando accommodated all of us with additional fans to our comfort.
This was truly our home away from home for the week and we would go back with no reservations whatsoever.
What an unforgettable experience. From our arrival at the castle to our departure our experience was unbelievable. The people at the castle (Fernando, Martha and the chef Giovanna) made our stay an experience fit for kings. We celebrated my 60th birthday or as I prefer to say 59 +1 while at the castle with my brother and his wife and friend. We could not have asked for a more delicious meal and venue. The views from the grounds and the tower of the rolling hills of Tuscany are unparalleled. From the castle we could easily make day trips to Sienna, San Gimignano, Volterra, Chianti for wine tasting etc...
The rooms were extremely well appointed and comfortable. We were made to feel as Masters in our very own Castle.
One could not ask for a better or more enjoyable experience. A very full buffet breakfast in the morning and the special dinner on my birthday. My wife will always remember enjoying great wine in the courtyard before we would go out for dinner to one of the local establishments.
Grazie Mille Fernando, Martha and Giovanna for making our holiday so memorable.
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