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Tuscan Escape: COMO Castello Del Nero Review

tuscan-escape:-como-castello-del-nero-review

Breathe in the aroma of Chianti Classico before the first sip on your Tuscan terrace. Breathe out as hands return to heart centre in deep flow yoga overlooking the hills. And hold your breath as you round a particularly sharp mountain corner in your vintage Fiat 500 on a driving tour of this rich and varied landscape. Finding the perfect holiday is all about balance, finds Rebecca Cox, with a visit to COMO Castello Del Nero in Tuscany, Italy.

COMO Castello Del Nero Review

Here at Country & Town House, we talk a lot about living ‘a life in balance’. And if you’re privileged enough to enjoy holidays as a part of that equilibrium, the holiday itself should be balanced, too. A little rest, a little relaxation, some activity, some indulgence, plus a good night’s sleep or two. As finding the perfect balance goes, COMO Costello Del Nero really delivers. There is rest and rejuvenation at the newly opened COMO Shambhala Retreat, sipping ginger tea after morning yoga or a hike through the vineyards or rolling hills. And then there is indulgence, the Italian way. Truffle tagliatelle, freshly baked focaccia dipped in oil, wine tastings that stretch into evening drinks in the last rays of spring sunshine. Michelin-starred tasting menus with pre-desserts, post-desserts and post-post-desserts.

Heritage Suite Bedroom at COMO Castello Del Nero

A heritage suite bedroom at COMO Castello Del Nero

STAY

The 12th century castle is set within a 740-acre estate, with 50 rooms and suites, a heated outdoor pool, tennis courts and walking trails weaving across the estate for exploring the grounds. Most rooms feature stunning views across the estate’s sprawling lands and beyond to rolling Tuscan hills. Rooms are spacious, with maximum emphasis on enormous beds and free-standing marble roll-top baths, stocked with sweet almond Italian toiletries.

Some rooms feature minimalist stone-grey washed walls, while a few premium suites feature masterfully restored original 18th century frescoes. Hillside views aside, these artworks provide a truly breath-taking backdrop to your stay and these rooms are well worth the upgrade, should your budget allow. The bathrooms in these suites are particularly spectacular: luxuriate in the almond bubbles and imagine one is lord or lady of ones very own Tuscan castle. Alas, for most of us, this is as close as we’ll ever get. Land conservation and building regulation laws mean property prices are sky high: we pass a dilapidated mill ruin on a vineyard tour and are informed that it recently sold for more than half a million pounds. Still, COMO Castello Del Nero provides the perfect base to consider future Tuscan property investments from.

COMO Castello Del Nero

The bathroom in a Heritage Suite, COMO Castello Del Nero

DO

Tuscany is your oyster from COMO Castello Del Nero’s position an hour from Pisa and just a short drive from Florence or Sienna. A self-drive vintage Fiat 500 tour is a fun way to explore the iconic landscape, chugging through the cities’ tiny alleys and rounding (very carefully) the bending corners of steep mountain roads. For those who prefer exploring on foot, the hotel offers several helpfully mapped hiking trails around the sprawling and varied estate navigate vineyards, beehives, woodlands and future fruit orchards; the keen (and fit) may wish the navigate the hills for a morning run.

If running isn’t your thing, you can get your fitness fix at COMO Shambhala Retreat, where the morning yoga classes are popular (for good reason) and the gym is well-equipped. Any (or all) of the aforementioned activities should be followed by a visit to the petite but outstanding thermal spa, equipped with tropical showers, steam and sauna rooms and a fantastic hydrotherapy pool. At certain times of year, you can be a part of the hotel’s olive or grape harvest and see the work that goes into the production of hotel’s excellent oil and wine production. A spot of truffle hunting might be your bag, and whether or not you’re successful, enjoying one of the outstanding truffle dishes on the menus at the Pavilion or La Torre restaurants is a worthy reward.

Before checking out, indulging in at least one signature treatment at the spa is not just recommended but essential. The superlative massage is enough to erase any aches and pains gained through your fitness endeavours or coax you back to full strength and serenity if you hit the Chianti Classico instead of the gym.

Heritage Suite Bedroom at COMO Castello Del Nero

The very room this article was written in

EAT

Speaking of Chianti Classico, the region’s most famous wine may make a starring role in your visit. (It’s all about balance, as we said.) Whether you’re exploring the region’s many vineyards (a must for a behind-the-scenes insight and often a hearty family-cooked lunch over a tasting) or sampling the best of COMO Castello Del Nero’s excellent wine cellar, you’ll soon learn the years to look out for and have decided on which riserva you’ll be shipping a crate of home.

The accompany the wine you’ll be needing some food, and since you’re in the heart of Tuscany, the options are numerous and across the board delectable. The hotel’s two dining options include casual cuisine at the Pavilion (the leek flan starter is delicious enough to warrant a repeat order, rare on a flying visit and a menu of appealing options to try) and Michelin-starred fine dining at La Torre. With Executive Chef Giovanni Luca Di Pirro at the helm you’ll find perfectly balanced delicate flavours and playful and innovative plate designs, combining light bites with hearty dishes and wholesome flavours that you visit the region for. The tasting menu hits all the right notes, perfectly showcasing the region’s best ingredients (and Chef Giovanni’s talents) without being overwhelming or too challenging. The wine matches take the meal to near perfection, from the opening glass of sparkling Ferrari Trento to the closing local dessert wine (of which we were, admittedly, too hazy to take a note of). You may want to pass on the second post-dessert sweets if you want a good night’s sleep, since the promised digestif qualities of the region’s beloved grappe were, sadly, elusive.

views from COMO Castello Del Nero

Dawn over the Tuscan hills

THE FINAL WORD

The concept of visiting Tuscany for a wellness stay at COMO Castello Del Nero feels a little conflicting at first glance. Can one really work out, spa, stretch, pilates, hike, juice and jog in these surrounding when so much wine and pasta is within reach at all times? Yes, one can, and embracing both options in harmony might just result in the perfect escape. Holidaying well is all about the balancing act.

BOOK

Inspiring Travel Company offers a three-night stay at COMO Castello Del Nero from £1,015pp, based on two sharing an Estate Room including daily breakfast, return economy flights from London City Airport to Florence and private transfers. This price is based on travel between 1-13 November 2022, and includes a 20% early booking discount, which is offered on bookings at least 120 days in advance. Visit inspiringtravelcompany.co.uk or call 01244 435 044.

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