Castello di Vicarello – Tuscany, Italy

Castello di Vicarello is the kind of place you dream about. Movies and novels describe such places but you don’t really believe they exist. Too good to be true. But Castello di Vicarello is definitely real and it has been so since 1100. The castle sits on a hill overlooking the Maremma countryside in southern Tuscany, and it offers absolutely everything that any of your senses would want of a Tuscan vacation.

About 50 years ago, it was practically a ruin, completely abandoned, when the Baccheschi Berti family saw the potential. With much love and care, and quite a few lira, the family transformed the ruin into an exquisitely luxurious yet completely unpretentious Tuscan paradise that opened for guests in 2003.

We had the pleasure (thank you Maserati) of driving from Rome to Tuscany (about 2 hours) and then being the guests of Aurora and Carlo Baccheschi Berti and their two sons who pampered us with their company and their incomparable food, and gave us the opportunity to let the stress melt away in their amazing castle.

Each room and villa (only 7 in total) is different, with hand-picked furnishings, fabrics and accents. The exposed stone, brick and wood of the structure provide a perfect framework for the harmonious mix of antiques, modern design and Indonesian touches (the Baccheschi Bertis spent a decade in Indonesia in the textile business). The beds are adorned with the highest-quality Italian linen sheets and yes, they do help you sleep better.

The views of the countryside, the two outdoor fresh-water pools, the magnificent garden that changes with the seasons, the beautiful spa, the vineyards, the olive groves, not to even mention the amazing food Aurora and her staff prepare daily — there is absolutely no reason to leave this place. Ever. We spent hours just wandering around lazily and barefooted, gazing at the vistas, listening to the birds — no social networking, no technology, just peace and quiet.

Arguably the best holiday we’ve ever had anywhere, even in Italy, our favourite country, that manages to deliver every time — from food to the fashion, from people-watching to design, from architecture to hotels, from wines to coffee. How many countries get this many things right?

Mention TCH for the special rates.

If you feel like cooking, you can help Aurora in the kitchen (she runs an informal cooking school)

See also Rome Luxury Suites – Rome

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