A charming country road leads to Castello di Vicarello, a luxury retreat set within an historic castle just outside the medieval village of Poggi del Sasso, between the beautiful city of Siena and the seaside village of Castiglione della Pescaia. Offering panoramic views over olive groves and vineyards, this traditional luxury hotel is utterly exclusive, and invites guests to indulge in soulful living.
The 12th-century castle has been lovingly restored and brought back to its ancient glory by owners Carlo and Aurora Baccheschi Berti, who have been living here since the 1970s. In early 2003, they decided to share this splendid venue with guests by transforming the property into a boutique hotel. The elegantly decorated interior features grand fireplaces, original stone floors and brick walls. An exquisite combination of antique and eclectic furnishings from Europe and the Far East illustrate the numerous years Carlo and Aurora have spent abroad, specifically in Indonesia. Aurora’s background in fashion and her impeccable eye for design are reflected everywhere: sumptuous leather sofas, velvet armchairs, Persian rugs, vases with handpicked flowers, contemporary art pieces, organic linens, and antique silverware give the interior a fresh and vibrant aesthetic. The aim was to create a place that encompasses beauty, tranquillity and authenticity, while also reflecting the importance of culture, quality and commitment. “At Castello di Vicarello, history lives on each path, in each stone, and every wall sings a song of the ancient past,” explains Carlo.
Owner Aurora Baccheschi Berti walks through her organic kitchen gardens
Four of the eight rooms and suites are spread around the castle’s ancient flagstone-paved courtyard while the remaining independent suites are situated in the midst of verdant gardens with white roses, lavender and ancient olive trees, with breathtaking sweeping views of the Tuscan countryside. Castello di Vicarello is a charming residence, where the eye is constantly lost in the green of the countryside, all the way down to the blue Tuscan sea.
Vicarello offers a truly unique experience; it includes all the amenities of a luxury boutique hotel and at the same time is characterised by a very personal touch; the experience feels as if you are a house guest in an exquisitely-restored castle set in its own vineyards. “We created a hotel in this place because we fell in love with it. We put all our energy into it, our past life, and our experiences,” Aurora elaborates. “The approach towards the guests is easy-going, not formal – we want them to feel at home, relaxed and happy.” For peaceful escape-seekers, two infinity pools and a spa (featuring therapists who have trained in Ayurveda centres in Kerala) in the midst of Tuscan hills definitely meet the standards; for adventurers, the castle is surrounded by panoramic roads ideal for cycling or horse-riding; while the beautifully landscaped gardens, originally designed by Giuppi Pietromarchi, and the nearby ancient woodlands offer ample space for nature walks.
Suite Vicario’s living area features an Indonesian four-poster bed and an inviting stone fireplace
Tuscany is renowned for its authentic, fresh cuisine and the kitchen of Castello di Vicarello goes above and beyond such expectations; offering guests organically-grown fruit and vegetables, home-made olive oil and a menu that changes daily, served in a romantic courtyard during summer or by the fireside in winter. The olive oil produced here is one of the most sought-after in the region. The olive trees are almost a century old and the guests can actually participate in the harvest during the winter season.
Vicarello’s classic Tuscan kitchen lies at the heart of its country-estate experience. It is a welcoming and interactive environment that allows guests to discover the joys of seasonal and authentic Tuscan cuisine. Organic ingredients are nurtured in the kitchen garden and brought in when at their most flavoursome. Aurora shares her passion for natural homegrown ingredients along with her chefs, who prepare delicious, seasonal dishes for Vicarello’s guests. She has written her own inspiring cookbook, 'My Tuscan Kitchen' published by Rizzoli, and offers personal cooking lessons in the castle kitchens, using the ingredients grown in the garden.
The stone-clad dining room is where guests can indulge in great food and panoramic views
Breakfasts include home-baked Tuscan breads, cakes and pastries alongside Vicarello’s free-range organic eggs collected daily from the farm. Dinners celebrate local produce and include the very best seasonal ingredients, such as freshly-picked wild asparagus in springtime and aromatic truffles in autumn. Cheeses, meats and fish are also locally sourced, something at the forefront of Vicarello’s food philosophy. Throughout the seasons, Vicarello provides a lavish haven, a timeless, tranquil environment exuding charm and character, rich in both designer style and simple authenticity. Castellodivicarello.com
Rooms start from Dhs 2,600, Suites from Dhs4,300 per night