Castello di Gargonza

near Monte San Savino, Tuscany, Italy Book from Book from £94 per night

Rooms, apartments and a house (each sleeping 2-10) in a fortified medieval village, with endless views, a restaurant and lots of atmosphere
Who can beat staying in a castle for setting the imagination alight? This tiny 13th-century walled village (borgo) has a Sleeping Beauty ambiance, perched high on a hill above thick Tuscan forest where wild boar and antelopes roam. Surrounded by 500 acres of protected land, it was given as a dowry to the owner's acestors. Now a hotel and collection of apartments, its medieval and Renaissance buildings are clustered around the main house, which the family still uses in summer.

It’s a place of such charm that guests tend to find themselves mingling with day-trippers as they wander the narrow lanes. But by night, when the smattering of non-residents has gone, you’ll have the star- and lamp-lit village to yourself. It’s great for families, with an array of rooms and apartments sleeping 2-8, plus Contessa Francesca, a 4-bedroom house that has space for 10. However, it’d also suit couples, with enough space to guarantee peace and quiet, and a splendid restaurant just outside the walls.

Highs

  • A unique tiny hamlet of houses all with beautiful original features - full of character, history and atmosphere
  • Accommodation to suit everyone: intimate rooms, a large house, 1- to 4-bedroom apartments
  • An excellent on-site restaurant (open daily) serving delicious lunches and dinners, plus a choice of self-catering options
  • It's feels like a remote, get-away-from-it-all retreat, yet you're within an easy drive of Arezzo, Florence and the Chianti vineyards
  • Set outside the walls and surrounded by fragrant flowers, the unheated pool has great views across the Tuscan countryside

Lows

  • Interiors are comfortable but old-fashioned; if you’re looking for 5-star style, this isn't the place for you
  • The village streets are uneven, have lots of steps and are sometimes slippery - difficult for small children and guests with limited mobility
  • Limited in-room WiFi and no TVs, although there is reliable WiFi in the communal lounge
  • You’ll need a car for day trips and meals at other restaurants
  • A strict cancellation policy and minimum stay

Best time to go

High summer (July-August) is great for lazing by the pool and eating alfresco, but local sights are at their busiest. Spring brings wild flowers and balmy weather; autumn and winter are lovely for cosying up by an open fire and taking frosty walks through the countryside.

Our top tips

It’s worth staying here for a week or two, so you can relax at Gargonza and have time to explore the surrounding countryside and the amazing, art-filled medieval towns.

Great for...

Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Wedding
  • Boutique Hotel & Apartments
  • 13 rooms + 8 apartments + 1 house
  • Restaurant & bar (open daily); some self-catering
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Superior Room Pacche

Rooms

The rooms and apartments are dotted around various buildings in the borgo and just outside its walls. They all have plenty of rustic charm, with wood-beamed ceilings and terracotta-tiled floors; many also have working fireplaces (great in winter, when there’s often snow). Beds are large and comfortable, and there are simple wooden dressers, tables and wardrobes. Most of the tiled bathrooms have bathtubs with overhead showers; you get hairdryers and toiletries but no robes.

Starting at the most basic level, there are 3 fairly spacious Classic Rooms. The Quadruple Classic Room (Forestia 4) has a lounge and 2 bathrooms (useful if you have an additional guest).

The bigger Comfort Rooms have living areas with sofabeds. Of these, Fattore 23 has wonderful views over woodland and Cave is located in the old village quarry.

Superior Rooms are larger still, with kitchenettes; most have spectacular views, and some have sofabeds. Worthy of special mention are Palle, which has a terrace, and Canapino, whose door is opened by a huge medieval key. Pietrino is accessed via a steep 800-year-old staircase and inside a steep wooden ladder links the bedroom and living room.

The apartments range from the 2-person 'Sotto gli'Archi' choices in the centre of the borgo, to 3- and 4-bedroom Classic Apartments (sleeping 6-8). There are also Superior Apartments (sleeping 2-5).

Largest of all is the self-contained house, Contessa Francesca (sleeps 10). It's near the pool and has 4 bedrooms plus a sofabed.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Iron
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Terrace

Eating

Castello di Gargonza’s restaurant is open to guests and non-residents for lunch and dinner. Located just outside the borgo walls, its regal dining room sits in a converted tractor shed, with high ceilings and large windows overlooking the woods. You can also dine outside in the gravel garden, underneath white sunshades.

Most of the food is locally sourced or grown on site in the kitchen garden. Tuscan meat is famous all over Italy, and Chef Susi Brogi makes the most of it by cooking delicious Chianina beef over embers. Other options include wild boar, excellent homemade pasta dishes (some gluten-free), traditional ribollita (Tuscan vegetable soup) and fruit-laden desserts. Being on the edge of the Chianti region, the wine list is as inviting as you would expect: over 60 labels, including Chianti Classico and Colli Senesi.

There’s a poolside snack bar for light lunches and drinks, plus a pretty garden bar in the village centre.

If you’ve booked B&B, you’ll find a morning breakfast buffet of homemade cakes, pastries, fruit, yoghurt, juices, cereals and more in the former olive press.

Want to self-cater? Stay in a Superior Room, an apartment or Contessa Francesca to have your own kitchenette: oven or microwave, fridge, kettle, toaster, crockery and cutlery. A few basics are provided (oil, vinegar, salt and pepper). There’s also a little village shop selling pasta, meat, cheese, biscuits, preserves, wine and Castello di Gargonza’s own olive oil. For other supplies, it’s a 6km-drive to Monte San Savino.

There are plenty of local restaurants if you fancy a change - you’ll need to drive or take a taxi.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children meals
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating: Quadruple Superior Room Fattore 22
Activity: Chianti vineyards

Activities

  • Relax next to the unheated swimming pool, with its fantastic views over the surrounding woodland
  • Rent a mountain bike or head off on foot to explore the rolling hills and forests of this beautiful corner of Tuscany
  • Discover the treasure-trove city of Arezzo, with its breathtaking medieval piazzas, antiques markets and Romanesque churches (35 minutes away)
  • Meander around Chianti, stopping at vineyards to taste the very best local wines. The region’s heartland is around the town of Greve (60 minutes away)
  • Get to know Siena, with its exquisite medieval townscape, glorious Gothic architecture and distinctive monochrome cathedral (40 minutes away)
  • Visit Florence, cradle of the Renaissance and home to the famous Uffizi gallery, the Ponte Vecchio, the beautiful red-roofed Duomo and excellent eateries (70 minutes away)
  • Stroll around gorgeous hilltop towns and enjoy long, lazy lunches in the sunshine. We like Montepulciano, Montalcino and San Gimignano
  • Back at Castello di Gargonza, take a cookery class and make the local pici pasta, as well as ragout and traditional sauces, before eating it all for lunch

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Wine tasting

Kids

This is a great place for kids who are confident on their feet. The maze of little streets topped by a castle feels like something out of a storybook, and the pool is a good size. There are rooms and apartments to suit all family sizes. Choose from self-catering or B&B options to tailor your stay to your needs.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Most Comfort and Superior Rooms work well for families of 3 (thanks to sofabeds). Superior Apartments sleep 3-5 in 1-2 bedrooms (plus sofabeds or additional single beds). Classic Apartments can sleep 6-8: Nerina has 3 bedrooms and Fonteblanda II has 4 bedrooms. Contessa Francesca is a 4-bedroom self-contained house. It can sleep 10 in 4 double/twin bedrooms and a sofabed. Most options can also take baby cots. Most bathrooms have tubs with overhead showers.

Babysitting:

Available on request

Baby equipment:

  • Cots
  • High chairs

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

For self-catering, Superior Rooms, apartments and Contessa Francesca have kitchenettes. There’s an on-site shop selling limited ingredients. If you’ve booked B&B, you’ll find some child-friendly breakfast options (cereal, yoghurt, cakes). Note that bed-and-breakfast rates are not available in the Classic Apartments and Contessa Francesca, which are available as weekly self-catering rentals only.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Outdoor pool
  • Mountain bikes for hire
  • Tailored bread- and pizza-making lessons
  • Learning to paint frescoes
  • Estate to explore and wildlife to spot such as wild boars and rabbits

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Tree climbing park at Rapolano Terme (18km away)
  • Arezzo has a good play park in the centre (28km away)
  • Day trips to Siena and Florence
  • Towers to climb in San Gimignano (80km away)

Families Should Know:

The village’s uneven lanes can be difficult to negotiate for little legs and parents with a buggy. The pool is unfenced

Distances:

  • Airport: Florence (111km)
  • Shops, including a pharmacy: Monte San Savino (6km)
  • Hospital: Arezzo (28km)
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 7 independent reviews from i-escape guests

8/10
Room
9/10
Food
9/10
Service
9/10
Value
8/10
Overall

This is a stunning old building set high up on the hillside with specular views. Our room was a little dark as we went for an apartment, however we were aware of this in advance so check this out before booking. It's a total escape from normality. Good sized pool set in a nice garden. There is a restaurant on site which is nice, but we found the menu a little restrictive. There is another restaurant just a mile away which for us had more choice and was excellent. You can also go into the town which is about 3 miles away. This hotel is an ideal base from which to explore Tuscany. The owner was welcoming yet not intrusive. Would recommend.

8/10,

Interesting property in a beautiful and historic location. Room did not have air conditioning which made it slightly uncomfortable being mid-summer. The breakfasts were excellent. The hotel seems to employ minimal staff so it can feel a bit deserted.

8/10,

Loved it.

10/10,

Michelle the receptionist made our stay here - very helpful, organised and sorted us tours. Gargonza is beautiful but you need a car to stay here. Not sure it's worth the rating given but the village and location/ views are stunning.

6/10,

Beautiful surroundings and very pleasant accommodation. The breakfast had great variety and we could eat it in the garden which was wonderful. We have a toddler and found the staff and environs very child friendly - a lot of other guests seemed to have one or two young children and the hotel was able to organise great babysitters for us. The only downside is the lack of a local taxi service - literally nothing to do but designate a driver if planning to have a glass of wine elsewhere.

9/10,

Castello di Gargonza was the perfect place to stay in Tuscany. It is absolutely beautiful, and the staff are warm, hospitable and have an amazing eye for detail. The grounds are exquisitely maintained, and while on the rustic side, the rooms and apartments are extremely clean, very spacious and super comfortable... we were beyond impressed. This is a great location to make your headquarters in Tuscany with lots of hilltop towns and cities within about an hour's drive. It's also perfect for larger groups or families, and the best value we found anywhere in Italy. We loved the breakfast every morning, and enjoyed a glass (or several,) of wine in the garden every evening. Highly recommend - we will absolutely be back.

10/10,

A beautiful, authentic alternative to a normal villa or hotel. A wonderful escape and truly helpful and informative staff.

10/10,

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Rates for Castello di Gargonza