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Last updated: 19 January, 2023
Expert travel writer: Nicky Swallow

A recent revamp has given this hotel a fresh, modern feel – albeit in the context of a storied, aristocratic 12th-century Tuscan castle.

Terraced gardens – scented with lavender, roses and jasmine – overlook the timeless Tuscan landscape of olive groves, vineyards and tall slim cypress trees.

The fabulous Shambhala Retreat is the main reason why many guests book into (and return to) the castle; it offers Asian-style spa treatments, meditation and yoga classes plus thermal pools, saunas and hammam.

The Michelin-starred La Torre restaurant offers a sophisticated take on local dishes, while La Taverna, housed in the old castle kitchens, serves up vast bistecca alla Fiorentina and the like.

It’s in an ideal location for a Tuscan countryside retreat, but close enough to Tuscany’s top attractions. Downtown Florence is a 30-minute drive; Siena is a little further (a shuttle bus service runs regularly to both). Many Chianti wine estates are nearby offering tours and tastings.

Surrounding area

The huge 750-acre estate is immersed in classic Chianti countryside, with olive groves and vineyards covering gently-rolling hills and the odd mellow villa and farmhouse on the horizon.

The approach is along quiet country lanes; the peace is total.

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Key facilities

Airport transfers*
Beach: None
Fitness centre
Fitness classes
Golf course
Hot tub
Kids club
Parking: On-site (free)
Pool (adults only)
Pool (indoor)
Pool (outdoor)
Pool (kids)
Tennis courts
WiFi: Free

Food & drink

All inclusive
Kids menu
Restaurant on-site
Self catering
Additional charge

Room types


Room facilities

Air conditioning
Flat screen TV
Jacuzzi (private)
Pool (private)
Tea & coffee making facilities

Bedding options

2+ bedrooms
3+ beds
Connecting rooms
Rollaway/sofa bed

Bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Chianti Wine Region

Chianti, Tuscany, Italy[11.6 miles]

Home to some of Italy’s best wines, the DOCG Chianti Classico stretches across 177,500 acres of undulating, vine-striped land between Florence and Siena.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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A day in San Gimignano

San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy[15 miles]

Sometimes dubbed ‘Tuscany’s Manhattan’ for its clutch of slim medieval towers (visible for miles around), iconic San Gimignano is the region’s most famous (and most visited) hill town.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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Boboli Gardens

Florence, Tuscany, Italy[24 miles]

This shady green oasis in the centre of Florence is one of the most beautiful gardens in Italy and makes a wonderful escape on a hot, summer’s day.

Best for ages: 13+ | £5

Pitti Palace

Florence, Tuscany, Italy[24.2 miles]

Housed in the city’s most imposing palazzo, Florence’s second-largest art gallery is home to masterpieces by Raphael, Rubens, Botticelli and Van Dyck.

Best for ages: 18+ | £9

Other worthwhile experiences in this destination if you have the time or the interest, closest first

Cucina Giuseppina Cooking School

Cucina Giuseppina Cooking School

Certaldo, Tuscany, Italy[11.6 miles]

An excellent cooking school based in Certaldo (southwest of Florence) offering truffle-hunting experiences in the Chianti woods, followed by a truffle-based lunch or cooking lessons with truffles.

Best for ages: 13+ | £120 | 3-4 hours

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Dish of home-made creamy Tuscan chicken

Cooking classes at Jul’s Kitchen

Colle di Val D'Elsa, Tuscany, Italy[21.2 miles]

Colle Val d’Elsa Food writer/blogger and photographer Giulia Scarpaleggia and her husband run the excellent ‘Jul’s Kitchen’ offering a range of hands-on cooking classes alongside courses in food writing and photography. Classes are held in their house in the countryside between Siena and Florence.

Best for ages: 13+ | £70 | 3 hours

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Brancacci Chapel

Brancacci Chapel

Florence, Tuscany, Italy[24.5 miles]

This side chapel of Santa Maria del Carmine church (separate entrance) is decorated with world-class frescoes by 15th-century artists Masaccio, Masolino and Filippino Lippi. Highlights of these seminal works which profoundly influenced the Florentine Renaissance include Masolino’s Temptation of Adam and Eve and Masaccio’s The Tribute Money. Book ahead to climb up and see them up close.

Best for ages: 18+ | £7

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Destination guides including or relevant to this place to stay


Tuscany, Italy

The astonishingly beautiful region of Tuscany has it all: art cities and ancient hill towns, high mountains and long sandy beaches, alongside luxurious hotels and some of Italy’s best food and wine.

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