Retreats Travel

Live Like A Queen At Castello di Vicarello, Tuscany

By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

What is Italy all about, really? Is it sleek design and architecture? A passion for living? A love of tradition? These are the questions I ask myself as I head towards my destination: a castle nestled away in a lesser known part of Tuscany called Maremma.

Centuries ago, the region was isolated from the rest of the world, cut off by extensive marshlands and bandits known as “briganti”. Today, it’s become an ideal holiday destination with a diversified landscape that includes marshes and flat lands, long beaches, hills thick with forests, black rocks and natural thermal baths.

I’m on my way to visit Castello di Vicarello, which was constructed in 1112 A.D. and fell into ruin for decades, until Carlo and Aurora Baccheschi Berti transformed it into an exclusive luxury retreat, equipped with all state-of-the-art comforts and modern services. This cosmopolitan family conceived a luxury travel experience with an Italian soul – but what does that mean, exactly?

La Famiglia

Forget money, power or beauty – nothing ranks so high in Italy as family, and Castello Vicarello is by all means is a family run business. The delightful resident manager here, Luciano Ricciutelli, filled me in a bit on who’s who: Aurora and Carlo decorated this labour of love with items collected from their travels around the globe; their three children help to run Castello di Vicarello. The two younger sons – Neri and Corso – work to expand the unique hospitality experience that the family has established, whilst the eldest, Brando, takes care of the vineyard, which produces ten thousand bottles of red wine per year that are distributed in selected restaurants in the US, Switzerland, Germany. and of course, at the castle.

The 100% organic wine was awarded 5 grapes by Bibenda, the Italian Sommelier Foundation, and won the Great Gold Medal at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles for the production of Castello di Vicarello 2012 wine. During the Wine Tasting experience at the castle, guests can experience the results of a careful, varied grape selection that results in exquisite bottles of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese and Petiti Verdot.  

It’s not only the wine here that’s the result of organic farming; the food is, too, as I noted on my exploration of the farmland and woods that surround the property. I passed by the hen-house, which, produces 16 eggs per day and continued my hike towards the vineyard under the Tuscan sky. Luciano described the many varieties of greens grown on the land, and recounted how the castle’s dog Uva, protected visitors by chasing off a wild boar that was prone to appearing on the grounds out of the wilderness. We strolled to an ancient olive grove, which produces the rich oil used in abundance at the castle – not only in the kitchen, but in the bathroom as well – the soap is made from the stuff.

But let’s get back to the food, shall we? This is an Italian castle, after all. Everything eaten here is natural and locally produced, from the freshly squeezed juices to the chunky homemade jams and smooth, creamy yogurts. Meals are simple and sumptuous: crisp salads, sauteed vegetables, fresh pastas and hot bread, fresh from the oven. Guests are often so impressed with these offerings, they demanded recipes, so now Tuscan cooking lessons are offered, and Aurora has even written a cookbook called My Tuscan Kitchen, which guests can take home. Meals are served at sprawling tables under the stars or nestled inside the stone walled interiors, lit up with warm candle light. For those hoping for an even more romantic, intimate evening, room service is available, too.  

History and a mystery

Every room in this ancient edifice has a story to tell – a fable of modern travellers, hungry for beauty and history; a history of a noble family fallen on poor times; and even a prankish phantom who wanders the halls. Mark the words of a true skeptic! I’m a pure rationalist and orderly person. I recall holding my room keys in my hand, while I was enjoying an aperitif before dinner, and I had witnesses who saw me do so. But suddenly the room keys were gone, I looked into my bag but they were no place to be found. I decided to return to my room to see if I’d left them there – and I found them waiting for me, in the lock. No one could not find a logical explanation, to what had happened.

You can’t blame that ghost for wanting to stick around this place – it’s truly lovely, with artfully staged furniture and a particular peace thanks to the lack of televisions here. Each room has its own charm: the Suite Giardino Segreto boasts a secret garden overlooking alluring views, the Suite Vicario pays homage the Castle’s vicar, whilst Suite Sassi emanates serenity with its coral coloured walls and lavish central lounge that makes it the ideal honeymoon cocoon. Deluxe Grotta is furnished in an elegant Venetian style with a lovely private balcony off to the side of the entrance; whereas the tribute to China is blatant in the enticing Chinese Room. I resided in the ravishing Suite Sprone, a two floor suite with a living area, Indonesian four-poster bed and modern fireplace on the lower floor, and bedroom and bathroom with separate shower and tub on the upper level.

The limited number of rooms makes this travel experience wonderfully private, relaxing and friendly – perhaps this is why Castello di Vicarello has attracted various prominent guests such as Gerard Depardieu, Richard Gere and Colin and Livia Firth. It’s not uncommon to share a meal or a cooking class with a celebrity or two here. During my stay, I had incredibly amiable neighbours, such as a cultured travel agent from Singapore, an elegant couple from Spain and a Canadian singer-songwriter with his television presenter wife.

The magic of this twelfth century fairy-tale castle is truly epitomised at night: when bedtime approaches and you have completed your meal, under the stars or next to the fireplace, and will walk back to your room by the light of torches dotted along the courtyard. Before retiring to bed, you’ll find yourself surprised by a little literary treat – poems are left on your pillow to send you off to sweet dreams. And now I realise: what else is Italy, if not poetic?

Get the vibe

Here are two of the oems I brought back home with me:

Crossing the Tuscan Maremma by Giosuè Carducci

Sweet country, from which I have absorbed

the same proud character and contemptuous poetry

and the soul where hate and love never cease to flow,

I see you once again and my heart bounces for joy.

I recognise your distinguishing traits,

uncertain whether I should laugh or cry,

and in those features I follow the trace of my dreams.

The author of this poem, Giosuè Carducci, was a very influential poet from Tuscany who became the first Italian to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature and is considered the national poet of modern Italy. Whereas in this second poem there is a fond appreciation of the horse-riding shepherds typical of Maremma, known as “Butteri,” considered the Italian equivalent of the English cowboys.

The Butteri

They moved in a parallel world

a world that seemed still and distant

yet close to ours.

Someone smiled amused as they passed,

but to most people they remained invisible.

What to see

It’s easy and worthwhile to explore the towns in this area around Castello di Vicarello. Here are a few recommendations for some day trip excursions:

Monte Argentario is a peninsula with a promontory stretching towards the Tyrrhenian Sea, located about 35 kilometres south of Grosseto. The peninsula is connected with the mainland by three strips of land which form two lagoons, called Laguna di Ponente and the Laguna di Levante. The two main villages of Monte Argentario are the largest town in the area, Porto Santo Stefano, where there is a 16th century Spanish Fortress, and Porto Ercole, where you can visit the imposing Forte Filippo complex and the church of St. Erasmus.

Pitigliano is the town situated on a steep rock, 313 meters above sea level. Pitigliano has an ancient past, with centuries of changes in civilisations and cultures and the town is still home to treasures from all these former rulers: Etruscan tombs, the Roman origins of the antique Gens Petilia, the Orsini, Medici and Lorraine family, who initiated urban development and modernisation.

Montalcino was defined by Italian poet Gabriele D’Annunzio as the “windowsill of the Apocalypse.” On a clear day you feel that the entire world is at your feet, since you can see simultaneously Corsica, the island of Elba, the island of Giglio, the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Apuane Alps, the Abetone and Terminillo. You may also recognise in the far distance the cities of Siena, Pienza and Montepulciano, as well as the long sleeping volcano Monte Amiata casting its shadow over the valley.

Bagni di San Filippo is a small village of the Val D’Orcia, historically known for its thermal water. The Hot Springs  are located within captivating limestone formations, waterfalls and lush forests. These waters are extremely beneficial for they are rich in sulphur, calcium, magnesium, and other healing and soothing elements.

For more info or bookings, please click here.

This site uses affiliate links with brands we trust, and if you make a purchase using a link, we may receive a commission.

Did you enjoy this post? Want to show your gratitude? Please support us on Patreon!

Patreon logo Become a Patron

Loading...

No Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses affiliate links with brands we trust, and if you make a purchase using a link, we may receive a commission.

Privacy Policy

The Eluxe privacy policy applies to all your personal information, given and received. Personal information is information that might identify you, like your name, address, phone number, email, or website. When you visit our site, we may gather information about you such as your name, email, cookie information, and IP location. We may contact you regarding your preferences for information and updates. This information allows us to honour your requests for products and services and to improve our service to you. We never share or sell your personal information, unless we need to do so in order to provide a product, information or service that you have requested. Please note that no data transmission over the Internet can be guaranteed to be 100% safe, thus, we cannot warrant that your information will be absolutely secure. Eluxe Magazine has a variety of safeguards – technical, administrative, and physical – in place to help protect against unauthorised access to, use, or disclosure of user information. We guarantee adherence to industry best practices that ensure complete security, and we fully comply with all federal regulations. If we change our privacy policy, we will tell you.

Copyright

All material on our site is original unless stated. Original content is fully copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission. We make every effort to ensure all published images respect appropriate copyright. Should there be any issue, please contact us immediately.

Third party links

Occasionally, at our discretion, we may include or offer third party products or services on our website. These third party sites have separate and independent privacy policies. We therefore have no responsibility or liability for the content and activities of these linked sites. Nonetheless, we seek to protect the integrity of our site and welcome any feedback about these sites.

Eluxe Magazine uses affiliate links throughout the site. We may be compensated if readers click on those links. We only provide links to products and services we genuinely like and trust.

Our Site will also occasionally contain links to, and quotations of, material from other sites. Eluxe Magazine is not responsible for the content or the privacy practices of other sites and expressly disclaims any liability arising out of such content or practices. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave Eluxe Magazine’s Site, and to read the privacy statements of any website that may collect personally identifiable information. Some of the links found on our site may be links that have been paid for by the sponsor. Under no circumstances does Eluxe Magazine accept responsibility for, nor shall Eluxe Magazine be liable for any violation of personal or proprietary rights of you and/or any third party (including, but not limited to, copyright, trademark, patent, service mark, misappropriation, unfair competition, trade secrets, privacy publicity rights, etc.), false advertising that is harmful, or violates any law or governmental regulation and/or any media that may constitute libel or slander of any person or entity or infringe upon or violate the right of privacy or any other right of any person or entity arising out of content, practices, or other media of any third party links.

Eluxe Magazine is not responsible for the content or the privacy practices of other sites we link into and expressly disclaims any liability arising out of such content or practices. Under no circumstances does Eluxe Magazine accept responsibility for, nor shall Eluxe Magazine be liable for any damages or detriment arising out of content, practices, or other media of third party links.

Editorial Statement and Disclaimer

The views expressed at here are the views of the Eluxe staff and do not necessarily represent the views of Eluxe sponsors and/or partners. Eluxe content is for informational and entertainment purposes, and any views expressed should not be accepted as a substitute for qualified expertise. Though we make every effort to provide accurate information, it is up to you, the reader, to use Eluxe’s content responsibly; in return, we promise to publish responsibly. We stand by our content, our writers, and our editors. In the rare case we make a mistake, we will take whatever reasonable course of action we can to acknowledge and correct it.

Disclaimer and Limitation of Liability

EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY SET FORTH IN THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, YOU EXPRESSLY UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT THE SITE, CONTENT, PRODUCTS AND/OR SERVICES ON THE SITE ARE PROVIDED “AS IS” AND ON AN “AS AVAILABLE” BASIS. TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW AND EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY SET FORTH IN THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, TGT DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NON-INFRINGEMENT. ELUXE MAGAZINE DOES NOT REPRESENT OR WARRANT THAT THE SITE WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR-FREE, THAT ANY DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT THE SITE OR THE SERVER THAT MAKES THE SITE AVAILABLE ARE FREE FROM VIRUSES OR ANYTHING ELSE HARMFUL. FURTHER, EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY SET FORTH IN THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, ELUXE MAKES NO WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS ABOUT THE ACCURACY, ADEQUACY, USEFULNESS, RELIABILITY, OR COMPLETENESS OF THE SITE, PRODUCTS, SERVICES, CONTENT, THE CONTENT OF ANY THIRD-PARTY SITE LINKED TO OR FROM THIS SITE, COMMENTS, INFORMATION, INFORMATION PROVIDED BY OUR VENDORS, OR ANY OTHER ITEMS OR MATERIALS ON THE SITE OR LINKED TO FROM THE SITE.

ELUXE ASSUMES NO LIABILITY OR RESPONSIBILITY FOR (A) ANY, ERRORS, MISTAKES OR INACCURACIES OF THE CONTENT, PRODUCTS, SERVICES, INFORMATION, SITE AND MATERIALS SET FORTH ON OR MADE AVAILABLE THROUGH THE SITE, (B) PERSONAL INJURY OR PROPERTY DAMAGE, OF ANY NATURE WHATSOEVER, RESULTING FROM YOUR ACCESS TO OR USE OF THE SITE, PRODUCTS, SERVICES OR ANY THIRD PARTY SITE(S), PRODUCTS OR SERVICES, (C) ANY UNAUTHORISED ACCESS TO OR USE OF THE SERVERS THAT HOST THE SITE OR ANY THIRD PARTY SITE(S) AND/OR ANY AND ALL PERSONAL INFORMATION STORED THEREIN, (D) ANY INTERRUPTION OR CESSATION OF TRANSMISSION TO OR FROM THE SITE OR THIRD PARTY SITE(S), (E) ANY BUGS, VIRUSES, TROJAN HORSES OR THE LIKE, WHICH MAY BE TRANSMITTED TO OR THROUGH THE SITE OR ANY THIRD PARTY SITE(S) BY TGT OR ANY THIRD PARTY, AND/OR (F) ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS IN THE NETWORK OR ANY CONTENT, INFORMATION AND MATERIALS (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THIRD PARTY SITE(S)) OR FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE OF ANY KIND INCURRED AS A RESULT OF THE USE OF ANY OF THE FOREGOING.

NO PERSON (INCLUDING ANY AGENT, DEALER OR REPRESENTATIVE OF ELUXE MAGAZINE) IS AUTHORISED TO MAKE ANY REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY CONCERNING PRODUCTS AND BY USING THIS SITE, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT YOU HAVE NOT RELIED ON ANY OTHER WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS.

IN NO EVENT SHALL ELUXE OR ITS SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, AGENTS, SUPPLIERS, VENDORS, MANUFACTURERS OR DISTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, INCIDENTAL, EXEMPLARY OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF USE, DATA, REVENUE OR PROFITS, BUSINESS INTERRUPTION, OR LOSS OF BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY OR GOODWILL, ARISING FROM OR IN CONNECTION WITH (A) THE USE OF, OR INABILITY TO USE, THE SITE; (B) THE PROVISION OF OR FAILURE TO PROVIDE SERVICES, PRODUCTS, MATERIALS, CONTENT, OR SOFTWARE AVAILABLE FROM, ON OR THROUGH THE SITE OR ANY THIRD-PARTY WEBSITE(S); OR (C) THE CONDUCT OF OTHER USERS OF THE SITE, WHETHER BASED ON CONTRACT, TORT, NEGLIGENCE, STRICT LIABILITY OR OTHERWISE, EVEN IF ELUXE MAGAZINE HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. YOU ASSUME COMPLETE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR USE OF THE SITE. YOUR SOLE REMEDY AGAINST TGT FOR DISSATISFACTION WITH THE SITE OR ANY CONTENT IS TO STOP USING THE WEBSITE. THAT SAID, IF ELUXE MAGAZINE IS FOUND TO BE LIABLE TO YOU FOR ANY DAMAGE OR LOSS ARISING OUT OF OR WHICH IS IN ANY WAY CONNECTED WITH YOUR USE OF THE SITE, ANY CONTENT, OR PURCHASE OF ANY PRODUCTS OR SERVICES ON OR THROUGH THE SITE, ELUXE MAGAZINE’S LIABILITY SHALL NOT EXCEED $100.00 IN THE AGGREGATE.

These Terms of Service (together with our Privacy Policy, which is expressly incorporated herein by reference and which can be accessed on this Site, and any other terms that may appear on the Site from time-to-time) contain the entire understanding between you and us with respect to your use and access of this Site, and supersede all prior agreements, terms, conditions and understandings, both written and oral, with respect to such use and access of the Site. No representation, statement or inducement, whether oral or written, not contained in these Terms of Service (and any other terms that may appear on the Site from time-to-time) or the Privacy Policy shall bind any party to this agreement. No additional or different terms or conditions will be binding upon us unless expressly agreed to in writing by an officer of ELUXE MAGAZINE. No other representative has any authority to waive, alter, vary or add to these Terms of Service. Before using this Site please read through all referenced documents carefully.

Aggregate information (non-personally identifiable information)

Eluxe Magazine may, from time to time, automatically collect aggregate information about our visitors to our advertisers, sponsors, promotional partners and affiliates. This aggregate information includes, but is not limited to, IP addresses connecting to our site, how many persons visited a particular page or activity, dates and times of image uploads, device characteristics, operating system, browser type, type of connection, page and image viewing statistics, and incoming and outgoing links.

Like most websites, we use log files to store this information. None of this automatically collected technical information is associated with any identified person at the time it is collected, but it could be associated with you under two circumstances: First, if you choose to give us personal data about you as described above, the technical information we collect that would otherwise be anonymous could instead be logged as coming from you. Second, if we are required to disclose our server logs as a result of a subpoena or other legal process, some third party such as your internet provider could match our anonymous technical information with you, using information beyond what is found on our servers.

Eluxe Magazine may use cookies, web beacons, pixel tags, or other anonymous tracking information to improve our server’s interaction with your computer, and we may partner with third party advertisers who may (themselves or through their partners) place or recognise a unique cookie on your browser. These cookies enable more customised ads, content, or services to be provided to you. To trigger these cookies, we may pass an encrypted or “hashed” (non-human readable) identifier corresponding to your email address to a Web advertising partner, who may place a cookie on your computer. No personally identifiable information is on, or is connected to, these cookies. Although our servers currently don’t respond to “do-not-track” requests (see below), you can block these cookies in other ways, for example by searching “[your browser] + disable cookies.”

Eluxe Magazine will never share, sell, lease, or rent PII to unaffiliated third parties, except in the following circumstances:

a) If we have a good faith belief that we must disclose such information for legal reasons, such as to enforce our Terms of Service, protect or assert the rights, property interests, or personal safety of Eluxe (including its employees, directors, suppliers, distributors, service providers, users of the Website or others), or if we are otherwise required to disclose such information by law. We will disclose information only to the extent necessary to comply with the purpose of the request.

b) We may share aggregate, anonymous or summary information regarding our customers and their behaviors with partners, advertisers or other third parties. This data is not personal information and so will not identify you personally. We may share information with companies that provide support services to us, such as a printer, mailing house, fulfillment-company, credit card processor, email service provider or web host, amongst others. These parties may need personal information about you in order to perform their functions. However, these parties may not use any personal information we share with them about you for any other purpose other than in connection with performing supporting functions for us.

You have the right at any time to prevent us from contacting you for marketing purposes. If and when we send a promotional communication to a user, the user can opt out of further promotional communications by following the unsubscribe instructions provided in each promotional e-mail. Please note that notwithstanding the promotional preferences you indicate by unsubscribing or opting out in some other fashion, we may continue to send you administrative emails including, for example, periodic updates to our Privacy Policy.

In order to access a profile on Eluxe Magazine’s shop, you must first create an account with a username and password. The registration system requires that a valid email address be used to confirm the account. You should choose a username that does not include your last name and does not specify your city or your address. Eluxe Magazine asks that you use your first name only, or an alias, for your display name. This is to safeguard your privacy and protection. We do not use and cannot access this information.

Eluxe Magazine is 100% opposed to unsolicited commercial email (“spam”). We do not have any desire to send unsolicited marketing emails to anyone without permission and we do not sell or provide user email addresses to any unauthorised third party in violation of this Policy. All of our newsletters and other general email marketing communications also include an “unsubscribe” opt-out link that you may use to tell us to stop sending you marketing emails.

In the event of a change in control resulting from, for example, a sale to, or merger with, another entity, or in the event of a sale of assets or a bankruptcy, Eluxe Magazine reserves the right to transfer your personal information to the new party in control, or the party acquiring assets. We will only do so if the party we transfer the information to agrees that they will abide by our Privacy Policy for as long as they hold the information, and that they will not transfer the information to any other party who will not abide by our Privacy Policy.

We use third-party advertising companies to deliver online advertising. These companies facilitate the delivery of ads, conduct market research, and use cookies for record-keeping purposes. These cookies sometimes enable the companies to serve you ads tailored to things you have shown an interest in based on your prior web activity. This is generally known as behavioral advertising. For example, this means that if you frequently read movie reviews online, it is possible that you might see ads on other websites relating to upcoming movies. Online advertising companies generally conduct this activity in an anonymous format, with online information not combined with information that would allow for your identification.

The third-party companies that will be serving advertisements on Eluxe Magazine may include DoubleClick, Google and Taboola.

We may periodically modify, alter, or update these policies. We will alert users to any material changes to this policy by posting the revised information here. We encourage you to review our Privacy Policy on a regular basis to stay informed about how we are protecting the personal information we collect. Your continued use of TGT’s website constitutes your agreement to this Privacy Policy and any future updates.

This site uses affiliate links with brands we trust, and if you make a purchase using a link, we may receive a commission.

Did you enjoy this post? Want to show your gratitude? Please support us on Patreon!

Patreon logo Become a Patron