TUSCANY can be likened to a fine wine, with time it just gets better.
And this triangular section of Italy has certainly taken its time.
From the first major civilization, the ancient Etruscans to assimilation with the Romans through to becoming the birthplace of the Renaissance, Tuscany secured its place in world history as an epicenter of innovation, culture and art.
It’s a legacy that lures millions of visitors every year and the list of cultural hubs is daunting.
From the regional capital and renaissance center Florence, to Siena, Pisa and the other “cities of art”, known in Italian as città di arte, the list of cultural attractions is long.
Gourmets and wine buffs will find themselves in their element savoring the simple yet awe-inspiring food while accompanying their dish with vintages from what is recognized as one of the finest wine-producing regions in the world.
No less inspiring is the beautiful countryside and for those looking for a destination that combines all the elements of the best of Tuscany there is a place nestled among Chianti vineyards, just 20 kilometers from Siena that encapsulates Tuscany in one package.
As the saying goes a picture speaks a thousand words, so we’ll keep the text short and let the images do the talking as we take you inside Castel Monastero (be sure to click on the images for a larger view).
Imagine a former monastery dating back to the 11th century surrounded by a medieval village that has been painstakingly restored and converted into a luxury spa retreat with all five-star comforts of the new millennium.
Featuring 74 rooms and suites spread throughout the stunning old world buildings all are decorated in rustic Tuscan style, set around a central piazza and offer views of the stunning countryside, vineyards and the village.
The piazza is also home to the hotel’s premier restaurant, Contrada, which serves classic gourmet Tuscan dishes with a contemporary twist. The hotel’s bar also overlooks the piazza.
The secondary restaurant, La Cantina, is set in a wine cellar first constructed in the 13th century. It offers lunches and dinners in a relaxed environment with, fittingly for a wine cellar, an extensive wine list.
You can be assured the food is of the finest quality as both restaurants are overseen by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.
On site cooking classes – “Tuscan Retreat Cookery Program” – were developed by Gordon Ramsay alongside the resident head chef allowing guests to take a little of the masters’ culinary skills home with them.
Appetites satisfied with the finest food and wine, guests also have access to the 1000-square-meter Acqua Benessere hydro therapy centre, which includes a sauna, hammam, indoor pool, Jacuzzi, and aromatherapy showers. The spa is the brainchild of Urban Retreats, one of Europe’s largest and most renowned wellness salons.
Tired of pampering and relaxation? Those who enjoy physical activity can take advantage of the tennis courts, gym, indoor and outdoor pools.
For special occasions such as weddings, there are two banquet rooms and even an on-site chapel.
Castel Monastero is available for bookings here.