A fairytale castle with historic rooms and apartments, delicious home cooking and an enchanting location in the wooded hills of Chianti”
This castle-hamlet is the country home of the Selvolini family, who for years have offered simple apartments in the outhouses, and who more recently converted the main castle and tower to provide sumptuous guest rooms, including some fit-for-a-princess suites in the main tower. The surrounding countryside should inspire you to try some of the activities on offer: walks, tennis and cycling. If you’re feeling less energetic there is a swimming pool (unheated) built into the castle moat, plus a terrace where you can watch the sun set - ideally with one hand around your beloved and the other around a glass of Chianti.
- A great sense of arrival, bumping through wooded hills to a rock-top castle - especially when it's lit up at night
- Very comfortable, historic accommodation, for both couples and families
- Lots to do in and around the estate - tennis, trekking, cycling, wine-tasting - while Siena is only 30 minutes away
- Really delightful staff, and a refreshingly down-to-earth atmosphere (not always the case in restored Tuscan castelli)
- Lovely meals using fresh ingredients produced on the estate, and the cooking lessons get rave reviews
- You’ll need a car - the nearest village is 6km away
- Some bedrooms are dark and rather old-fashioned, while the sitting rooms feel rather formal (we can't imagine lounging there with a glossy magazine)
- The drive is a steep gravel track (can be tricky in winter) and the castle can be hard to find
- The dinner menu can be limited out of season, and (as often in Italy) the breakfast buffet is short on savouries
Best time to go
Radda’s wine festival is the last weekend in May - where you can taste over 50 wines. Greve’s wine festival is the second weekend in September, with food and dancing to boot.”
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- 11 rooms + 8 apartments
- Breakfast + dinner (on request); self-catering available
- All ages welcome.
- Closed: 6 Nov 2022 - 12 Mar 2023
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Tennis Court
- Bicycles Available
- Laundry Service
The tower and castle double rooms range from cosy Classic Rooms to spacious Suites. All have a decidedly romantic flavour and opulent décor including heavy brocaded fabrics, oriental rugs, wrought iron beds (some four-posters or canopies), and a mix of genuine and repro antique furniture.
Reached by a winding staircase, the top-floor Tower Suite has stunning views from no fewer than 8 windows. If you suffer from vertigo, however, then opt for one of the lower rooms - the staircase gets windier and narrower as you climb the tower.
Bathrooms have been designed with particular flair and imagination to suit the luxurious feel of the place. Most have showers or tiled wet rooms, others have twin basins, and a handful of Superior Rooms have bathtubs instead.
The rustic apartments are around 50m away, in what feels like a private Tuscan hamlet. Ideal for families and more independent travellers, each has a kitchenette and private terrace with dining space. Expect quarry-tiled floors, exposed stone or brick, and old-fashioned comfy furniture. Most secluded is the Cottage, 100m from the castle, with its own garden (and alfresco Jacuzzi tub) surrounded by woodland.
Guests staying in an apartment or cottage have access to all the main facilities (pool, tennis courts, bicycles etc), except the tower’s rooftop terrace, which is reserved for B&B guests.
- Central heating
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Satellite TV
As an agriturismo, most of the food and drink served is produced on the estate itself. Dinner is served on the bright veranda and might include an antipasto, a primi, a secondo and a dolce. We were served a primo of homemade fettuccine with a sausage and mushroom ragu; if that sounds good, you can learn how to make it with the chef. Secondo was a perfectly cooked beef dish served with mixed vegetables on a bed of rocket and wild leaves. Dolce was the Tuscan classic of vin santo and cantucci biscuits - though the dessert wine was not the usual sweet sticky brew but a crisp, amber nectar. We found service swift and friendly, but we've heard that in midsummer it can get erratic.
A buffet breakfast is also available, including homemade cakes, pastries and biscuits, some local meats and cheeses, and fresh cappuccino - though we would have preferred fresh rather than packaged ham. You can take your loaded tray onto the terrace overlooking the valley below.
In the apartments and cottage, a kitchenettes have a fridge, stove and cooking utensils (though you'll need to bring all your own food and supplies), plus a terrace with tables and chairs for dining outside.
- Children's meals
- Vegetarian menu
- The castle can arrange mountain bikes for self-guided cycle rides through the surrounding wooded hills
- Or just head off on foot: the castle's estate is huge, or you can borrow a map (or, by arrangement, an English-speaking guide) if you want to venture further afield
- Relax by the narrow swimming pool, built into the castle’s moat
- Play tennis on the castle’s courts (free for guests) - you can borrow rackets and buy balls from reception
- Let your kids loose in the gardens
- Try wine tasting: this is the home of Chianti Classico and the castello is surrounded by world-renowned wine estates, including its own
- Guests rave about the Tuscan cooking lessons with the castle's chef
- Visit the nearby villages of Gaiole Castellina and Radda, with their medieval walls, winding streets and impressive civic buildings; they have a thriving (but not tacky) tourism industry, and a dwindling farming tradition
- For a really romantic escape, book a ride in a hot-air balloon - staff can arrange it
- If you (or your kids) like exploring castles, the medieval forts of Meleto, Vertine and Barbischio are all within 20km
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Hot air ballooning
- Mountain biking
- Museums / galleries
- Table tennis
- Wine tasting
Castello di Tornano welcomes children and the grounds offer plenty of opportunity for imaginative games of medieval knights.
The apartments and the separate Guarnellotto cottage are all great for families, sleeping up to 3 children as well as 2 adults. The prices given are per apartment regardless of occupancy.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
Though the castle and tower rooms can hold extra beds and baby cots, we feel the apartments and Cottage are the best fit for families. The Two-Bedroom Apartments sleep 4 to 5 in a double and twin or triple room, but the Cottage is our favourite option, with a double and a twin, plus a private garden and Jacuzzi tub surrounded by woodland.
English-speaking babysitting is available by arrangement - book at least a week in advance
- 2 cots
- High chair
- Baby bedding
- Bottle warming
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
There's a children's menu and half portions are available. Note that dinner is served late. Apartments have kitchenettes and there are takeaways and restaurants nearby
Kids Activities on site:
- Swimming pool (in the moat, unfenced)
- Mountain bikes for hire
- Table tennis
- Tennis courts
Kids Activities nearby:
- Castles, towns and villages to visit
- Guided pony trekking
Families Should Know:
The swimming pool isn't fenced and there are steps and unprotected drops around the castle. Some apartments have mezzanine floors with unprotected stairways
- Airport: 1 hour
- Hospital: 20 minutes
Castello di Tornado lies in the wooded hills of Chianti surrounded by wine estates, south of Gaiole.
There are some flights to Florence Peretola Airport (70km). However, there's more choice if you fly to Pisa Galileo (120km). Rome and Milan airports are about 3 hours from Florence. We strongly recommend you hire a car.
If you'd prefer to travel overland from the UK, you can reach Florence and Tuscany quite easily from London. The nearest rail station is at Montevarchi (20km). See the excellent Seat 61 for more details.
Detailed directions will be provided after your booking is confirmed.
More on getting to Italy and getting around
- Florence-Peretola 75.0 km FLR
- Pisa Galileo 180.0 km PSA
- Beach 120.0 km
- Shops 5.0 km
- Restaurant 5.0 km