“Remote, magical and characterful castle with 7 romantic suites, 2 pools and outstanding views across Maremma valleys”
There are 7 suites to choose from: 4 in the castle (Sprone, Giardino, the Chinese Room and Vicario) and 3 in the garden (Chiesina, I Sassi and Grotta).
The castle rooms, all accessed from the courtyard, have bare stone and colour-washed walls, and are furnished with a mix of antiques and souvenirs from around the world (many from Indonesia, as Aurora and Carlo spent some years living in Bali).
Giardino is arranged on 2 levels, and has a terracotta stove, leather armchairs and a bath with a view of the hills. Also split across 2 storeys is the Chinese Room, the most affordable suite, which has a wonderfully ornate antique Chinese bed plus a shower room accessed via a spiral staircase. Vicario is furnished with antiques and retro Italian design, and has fab views and a 16th-century fireplace.
I Sassi (a garden suite) is Mediterranean in style, with picture windows, a large bathroom, a bedroom, a huge living room and a wicker-furnished terrace. Grotta is a cave-like room cut into the hillside overlooking the valley, with great views and access to the pool. It's reached by a set of steep and rather precarious steps.
Most rooms have some sort of outside space (Sprone has a rose-draped pergola overlooking a lawned garden; Grotta has a shaded wooden deck). All but Grotta and the Chinese Room have mini kitchenettes, and all but the Chinese Room come with bathtubs (I Sassi has a shower as well). You'll also find hairdryers, bathrobes, minibars and coffee- and tea-making facilities.
Villa Chiesina is a separate 2-storey cottage sleeping one couple in a double bedroom (or 2 if you rent it in conjunction with Grotta, which is underneath). There's a fully equipped kitchen with a fridge, a dishwasher and a gas hob, a small bathroom, a terrace with a BBQ, and a shaded pergola overlooking the infinity pool.
Aurora designs the menus and does most of the cooking; Carlo often helps. Some of the ingredients (oil, vegetables, herbs, honey, eggs) are produced on the castle’s own organic farm. Meals are served alfresco in the courtyard (or, when it’s wet, at long oak tables by a crackling log fire). And though you generally get your own space, the atmosphere is rather like a family dinner party - a medieval dinner party, lit by candles and oil lamps, with each group of diners sitting under the stars in a pool of flickering yellow light.
A typical lunch menu (billed as ‘light’ but not cheap) might include panzanella (with tomatoes, olives and parmesan), vitello tonnato (cold veal in a tuna sauce), fresh salad (from the garden) and ice cream. Dinner might offer stuffed calamari, pasta (say, spaghetti with caper pesto), tuna fillet cooked in spices, caramelised tomatoes, and tatin di pesche. The wine list includes the estate’s own - Castello di Vicarello or Terra di Vico.
Breakfast consists of fresh fruit, home-made yoghurt, pastries, toast and preserves. Fresh orange juice, eggs, prosciutto and cheese are available for an additional charge.
Between meals, take the opportunity to peek into the kitchen: an extraordinary mix of antique utensils, art, state-of-the-art cooking ranges and artful displays of fresh veg under high vaulted ceilings.
If you want to eat out, there are several trattorias and Montecucco wineries within a 10km radius, and more restaurants in Paganico (20km away). Plus all suites except Grotta and the Chinese Room have kitchenettes, so you can whip up a snack or light meal with ease.
Children are welcome, particularly from age 2 upwards. Young children may be considered a disruption by any peace-seekers among the guests, but Vicarello is child-friendly and provides babysitting services and kids' meals.
Children (4-12 years)
Extra beds and baby cots are available. Giardino and Sprone can connect to make a family apartment, and Villa Chiesina and Grotta can be combined.
Babysitting is available by arrangement.
Children's meals are available on request, and all suites except Grotta and the Chinese Room have kitchenettes (ideal for preparing kids' snacks and baby food).