A small jewel in the Tuscan hills in the province of Siena surrounded, as far as the eye can see, by the orderly alternation of woods, olive groves, vineyards and fields.
Climb with placid slowness along the road bordered by cypresses, which reaches the top of the hill where the Belmond Castle of Casole. We are in Val d’Elsa, near Siena, San Gimignano and Volterra, less than an hour's drive from Florence.
The oldest part of the structure dates back to 10th century (the tower is dated 998) when there was a small village here with an oven, church, mill, warehouse for wine and oil, but the archaeological excavations in the early decades of the 1800s, commissioned by Bargagli family, owner of the estate, unearthed Etruscan finds of great importance, one of which is the Testa Bargagli, now housed in the Civic Archaeological Museum and the Collegiate Church of Casole d’Elsa.
As soon as you arrive, you can breathe that sense of quiet that gives the impression of having reached home.
The charm, unchanged over the centuries, is found in every corner and glimpse of this resort and the wind that comes from the sea gracefully caresses the hill.
Relaxation (the spa and gym are housed in some of the oldest buildings in the "village"), walks on the estate (1700 hectares of property partly cultivated under organic conditions, partly left in the woods) and good food are an unmissable trinomial.
From breakfast to after dinner, you can rely on the inspiration of chef Daniele Sera «Mine is a cuisine based on simplicity, made of a few recognizable ingredients, from the territory and beyond, processed with the utmost respect. I say my cooking, but it is not correct, because it is certainly not just me who cooks, the brigade of Tosca (the restaurant) is the real strength behind our dishes .
The Belmond Castello di Casole is a magical place and gradually reveals its wonders, but the sunset, which can be enjoyed from the terrace of the Tosca restaurant, from the tables of the Visconti cocktail bar (named in homage to the family of the director Luchino who bought it after the war) and from the wonderful infinity pool, it certainly does not go unnoticed.
Following a path made of small pebbles, you just enter the wood and under the branches of a centenary tree there is a suspended table, an enchanted table. This is the ideal place to start dinner with an aperitif based on some of the proposals «fingerCuisine: mini tacos with courgette cream, the" fake tomato ", quail egg with potato and truffle cream, beef fillet tartare with mushrooms and parmesan flakes.
The chef, of a Florentine mother and a Ligurian father, with great experiences in Italy and abroad, had no doubts when he had the opportunity to come here "Castello di Casole is a place where life follows the simple rhythms of rising and setting of the sun and the flavors are the genuine ones of the earth. In estate we produce oil and wine (Castello di Casole supplies the Italian Belmond with these two products) and soon we will also have a large one vegetable garden where to grow the ingredients for the kitchen. This year for the first time, we will have our wildflower honey for breakfasts and desserts ".
The vegetable garden is not the only project that will soon be realized, there is another, perhaps even more ambitious: to dedicate 6 tables (and a brigade on purpose) to new gourmet restaurant Di Sera which will open next year. Only in the evening, in fact, you will be able to enjoy a cuisine capable of wandering and experimenting with grace, without forgetting the roots of the territory.
To try today, without a doubt, the Ravioli with potatoes, Taggiasca olives, redfish and cacciucco sauce and the Maialino di Cinta smoked cauliflower and citrus fruits. What about next year? All that remains is to wait while anticipating future surprises.
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