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Review 84: Castello di Montegufoni, Monte 7


Review by Liz from Vancouver

apartments in a castle, Tuscany Chianti


August 1999


We stayed at Montegufoni in August of 1999 and thatís when my love affair with Italy began. I had traveled to Italy before as a teenager, but never truly appreciated the beauty surrounding me. This was our familyís first trip to Tuscany and Liguria and it was amazing. After spending our first 3 nights in Lerici, letting the jet lag wear off by enjoying the Mediterranean and exploring the Cinque Terre, we headed for Montegufoni.

Montegufoni is approximately 20 kms from Florence in the Tuscan hills. It has a vast history being a castle from 1100s and restored in the 17th century by the noble Acciaioli family. The Posarelli family, who employs a very helpful staff, now runs it. Say hello to Annamaria and Stefania for me, we have a great email relationship. It is characterized by a magnificent tower built in the same architectural style as that of Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. It is set in the heart of a vast cultivated estate with vineyards and olive-groves in a very panoramic position along a small country road. Surrounding the castle are terraced gardens, formal gardens, and a lovely pool to share (14x7). They have a main office where you can purchase the house wine for just a few dollars a bottle.

From the first moment upon entering this magical place my knees went weak and I felt like it was some kind of dream. It really is the kind of place that you see in all those glossy magazines and brochures but never really believe that it could actually be like that.

They have 25 apartments of varying sizes; from 2-8 capacity as well as a cluster of small homes around the castle that one can rent. The first time we rented we went through the Cuendet booking agency but this year we are going back and are booking directly with the castle and are saving a bundle.

We had a beautiful apartment in the noble part of the castle. It consisted of a large living/dining room with a double divan bed and kitchen corner. This was the room that our 2 young daughters shared and they loved it. There was a nice big bathroom as well. Our room next door had a huge Venetian chandelier from the 1700s that was amazing! Both of our rooms had large windows that opened up directly onto the garden and the vineyards beyond, absolutely picture perfect. If I had a talented bone in my body, that view would have made for some great paintings! Directly outside our apartment was a lovely shared terrace that we enjoyed many a dinner and sunset on. Itís amazing how a simple pasta tossed with a little olive oil and fresh pecorino can turn into a meal of phenomenal delight when one is surrounded with such splendor!

We used this as our base for 2 weeks as we explored one of the most beautiful regions of the world. From here we visited Lucca, Pisa, San Gimignano, Volterra, Siena, the Chianti region, Montalcino, Montepulciano, Pienza and of course Florence. Many days were spent just lounging by the pool and relaxing. If you ask my husband, he would tell you not enough days were spent doing this!

This is a place that is perfect for families in the summer, my kids met other children from all over Europe and Great Britain and they had a blast trying to communicate in French, German, English, and Italian! They spoke the universal language of kids, swimming and cats! Seems like all kids are happy on holidays if you have those components! We were the only North Americans staying there at that time. Apparently it hasnít really been discovered yet and Iím almost afraid to let the cat out of the bag, you know, maybe one day there will be no more room at the inn! As it is now, many families we met there have been returning year after year (some for 14years) and rebook for the next year as soon as they arrive! My only word of advice would be is that if you donít enjoy children around a pool, only come when school is in session.

On Monday, Wednesday and Fridays they offer dinner at the Taverna outside where one can meet others guests. This is offered at a small optional fee, the meals are country Tuscan; no extravagant gourmet cooking just hearty fresh flavors. Those meals were among my favorites.

There are a few shops close by for groceries etc. in the surrounding small town/villages of Montespertoli, Baccaiano and Montagnana, as well as some great restaurants. One in Cerbaia is called La Tenda Rossa and has been written up many times by gourmands around the world as being one of Italyís best. We havenít tried it yet but itís on our list.

We are very excited to be returning but the only problem about returning is knowing that after 2 weeks we will have to leave once again! I must end this now since the tears are already starting to stream down.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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