Castello Del Nero – A Castle on the hill
After two nights in Florence, it was time head out to the country side for some peace and quiet. Castello Del Nero Spa Resort, a 5 star luxury hotel, was the perfect get away; it is located just over half an hour’s drive from Florence.
From the moment our taxi entered Castle’s gates, there was a feeling of sheer beauty and luxury. The first things I noticed were the huge gates and the beautiful kept gardens. We stood outside for a minute to take it all in before heading to the reception.
History & Story
Castello Del Nero was the country home of the Florentine noble family, Del Nero. It is a 12th century year old castle located in the outskirts of Florence at the top of the hill. The castle was later on taken over by the Torrigiani family and a lot of effort was placed on refining the estate. Today, crests of both families.
Torrigiani Family Crest
Del Nero Family Crest (below)
The castle, as it stands today, has been expanded front the original build. However, one of the country’s policies requires that the estate preserves the history of the castle. As such, sections of the hotel have been kept, right down to the original brick. During the renovation, the castle’s original bricks were carefully removed, numbered and placed back in their places. It re-opened in 2006 after a 5 year renovation .The castles history can still be witnessed in parts of the castle with tall ceiling heights, interior frescoes and the fireplaces. The design is absolutely mind blowing. Some of the sections, amongst others, that haven’t been altered include the wine cellar, La Tarverna, some of the hotel suites including ours etc.
The hotel has 50 rooms and suites throughout the castle. No two rooms are same and each of them provides a unique experience of the 900 year old castle.
We spent two nights in Castello Del Nero and we were offered one of the superior suites. I remember being taken back at how big the room was – it had a large sitting room, a bedroom and the biggest bathroom that I have ever seen. I was completely blown away by the size of our suite and very impressed by the bedroom décor and set up of the room. It was just perfect.
The sitting room in our superior suite
We also had the opportunity to see other rooms in the hotel.
The hotel is home to the ESPA spa. The Spa offers a number of treatments as well as sauna, steam room and shower with number of settings. It also has the most amazing warm Jacuzzi pool – from vibrating metal benches to a feature that I like to call the ‘vertical splash waterfall’. It is quite difficult to describe all the different settings that the Jacuzzi had but it was so much fun. The Jacuzzi pool was open for all (ie shared between male and female) whereas the treatment rooms and other spa amenities were separate.
The ESPA spa is also open to the general public.
ESPA products on display
Female changing rooms
Female changing rooms – beauty area
The steam room
The Jacuzzi Pool
The vibrating bench
The relaxing lounge
The Hotel grounds are just breath taking, such calm and beauty. It is perfect for taking a walk and exploring the grounds or just enjoying the beautiful weather whilst reading a book.
Look at that view 🙂
This tree has been around for several centuries, the oldest tree on the grounds
The outdoor pool
The great thing about being at a higher attitude is that the view is just incredible. The Hotel owns a lot of the land around it which has been used to build an olive garden (yes they make and sell their very own olive oil – how cool is that!) and a vine yard. The hotel produces and sells its very own olive oil and wine – how cool is that! We had the opportunity to try out some of the olive oil during our dinner and it tasted amazing. I fell in love with fresh bread dipped in authentic Italian olive oil.
Olive Gardens leading to a lake
View of the hotel from the gardens
The Hotel also has a map of the grounds and using the map, the guests can then go for a mini hike following the different routes. All this information can be found at the reception. It is worth asking how long the different routes take before deciding which route you’d like to take.
View of the paths around the Vineyard and Olive gardens
Castello Del Nero has two restaurants on site – La Torre and La Tervana
La Torre is a 1 star Michelin restaurant with amazing gourmet cuisine. The dining experience was incredible, notice I said dining experience, it wasn’t just about the amazing food. The service was arguably the best I have ever had; the waiters knew so much about food and recommended a very good selection. I am not much of a wine drinker and with that in mind the waiters were still able to make suggestions that would suit my palette and compliment the food.
La Tervana + The Bar
The setting of this restaurant is quite laid back, from the colour palette to the .The Tarvena is part of the original castle building and leads to the wine cellar in the basement.
The Bar is open from the afternoon all through to the evening and is perfect for the summer time. Think about it, lying by the pool and sipping some delicious cocktails, what is not to love.
Our second evening at the hotel, we had dinner at the La Tervana. The food was delicious although not nearly as mouth-watering as that in La Torre.
The buffet breakfast was served in the same sitting room as La Torre with the choice of eating outside. It had a basic selection of what you would expect in a typical breakfast buffet. The selection included fresh fruits, a range of Italian bread, a variety of cured ham and cheeses etc.
In addition to the buffet there selection, the hotel had an a la carte breakfast selection. Day one was all about the picking and choosing from the buffet and day two was about pleasing a palette one last time. If you only get to have breakfast here once, then I would recommend having a look at the breakfast menu.