This Italian resort has its own winery, lake and medieval village, plus Tuscany’s largest golf course
Staying in Castelfalfi means living your Tuscan dreams.
I was standing on the terrace of a medieval castle-turned-restaurant, watching the sun set over hills dotted with farms and vineyards, when an Andrea Bocelli song stuck in my head – clearly my subconscious m ‘calling to be a walker tuscan tourist cliche. I sipped my glass of Chianti despite myself and took another picture. Cliché or not, I loved every minute of it.
Finding unexpected experiences while traveling is exciting, but the truth is that there are places we visit simply hoping that they will meet our preconceived (very high) expectations. Every time I went to Tuscanyhe did it for me, but never as perfectly as the days I spent at Toscana Resort Castelfalfi.
The nearby 2,700-acre estate of San Gimignano, just over an hour from Florence, is home to olive groves, vineyards, a forest full of truffles, hillside hiking trails and a restored medieval village. Staying at Castelfalfi means living your Tuscan dreams – even on a short trip you might find yourself folding fresh dough with an expert chef, digging up truffles with avid hunters and their pups, tasting wine and olive oil with a local winemaker, cruising on a Vespa and sharing piping hot pizzas and bottles of red late into the night.
The unexpected exists here too, in the form of a fishing lake, an adventure park, horse riding trails and the the largest golf course in Tuscany, with 27 holes. When it comes to Activitiesthe sky is literally the limit: a hot air balloon will even take you above the bucolic landscape, landing just in time for a Prosecco picnic.
And then there’s the hotel, spread over two buildings: the modern main building, where 120 newly refurbished rooms and suites open up to sweeping views of the hills, and the historic tobacco warehouse, with 31 more traditional rooms. on the other side of the street. Guests have access to three pools, a spa, and stylish indoor and outdoor bars. Its six restaurants include a welcoming trattoria, The Rosmarinoserving wood-fired pizza and foodie destination La Rocca.
Those looking for a private getaway can book a Villa with its own pool, gardens and chef, a luxury enjoyed by many celebrity guests. But for us, what made Castelfalfi a place to remember and visit were the people we met there. It was to see the enthusiasm behind the Savini Tartufi truffle hunters delicately dusting off their latest finds, describing them as “diamonds of the forest” in respectful whispers. He watched chef Michele Rinaldi skillfully shape ravioli into six different shapes in seconds. It was late for dinner because firecracker general manager Isidoro Di Franco was taking us for an impromptu golf cart ride and making new friends over homemade gin and tonic.
Orange sunsets over the green hills make for great photo ops – and here they shouldn’t be missed – but expect it or not, it’s the people you meet that make your experience truly Italian.
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Read the original article at Travel & Leisure.