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Hotel Highlights

  • Gloriously gardened 11th-century hilltop castle
  • Picture-perfect countryside vistas
  • Mouthwatering Tuscan farmhouse cooking

Overview

Castello di Vicarello has had 900 years to cultivate its air of mystery, so it’s no wonder that it can seem like a building stolen from a dream or a fairy tale on your first approach. Despite the ethereal air, however, aspects of this rustic-luxe boutique hotel couldn’t be more down-to-earth: authentic home-cooked, Tuscan cuisine straight from a traditional farmhouse kitchen, a working vineyard and olive grove, and one of the warmest welcomes in central Italy.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Castello di Vicarello with us:

A personalised ceramic gift designed by Aurora, the owner, and one free entrance to the thermal spa

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Castello di Vicarello

Advance purchase

Facilities

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Castello di Vicarello Hotel - Tuscany - Italy

Need To Know

Rooms

Six suites.

Check–out

Midday, but flexible, subject to availability.

Rates

Double rooms from $611.97 (€473), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Rates include a home-made Continental breakfast of jams, cakes and breads.

Also

Castello di Vicarello’s spa uses ingredients sourced from the hotel’s gardens, including sage, rosemary and lavender; there’s a sauna and steam room too. Yoga sessions are held throughout the day (for a suggested contribution of €30 a person).

At the hotel

Spa with sauna and steam room, gardens, pools, library, free WiFi. In rooms: minibar. Some suites have open fireplaces and all but La Grotta have kitchenettes.

Our favourite rooms

Farthest from the main castello building, secluded Suite Chiesina is a beautifully decorated outbuilding with two floors and two bedrooms. Louis XIV-style beds and colourful antique Persian rugs complement the original artworks lining the walls, but the most impressive visual aspect is the views from every window – on a clear day you can see the sea over the hills and a seemingly unending swath of forest. There’s also a full barbecue and pergola-shaded dining area outside by the pool – ideal for supping cocktails and swooning at the sunset. Smaller, but more romantic, Suite Sassi has a private terrace with a full frontal countryside outlook – one of the best views in Tuscany – and an air of lightness, thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Poolside

With unforgettable panoramic views of the valleys of Tuscany rolling out before you, swimming in either of Vicarello’s two infinity pools is a delight. The pool beside Suite Chiesina is lined with travertine and overlooks the hills, forests and coast.

Packing tips

Ditch the stilettos – bumpy stone paths and root-riven forest floors are no friend to wayward heels. Trainers or Timberlands will stand you in sturdier stead.

Also

There’s no shortage of activities should you tire of relaxing: cooking classes and wine-tasting can be arranged in the hotel’s kitchen, and horse riding, hunting and fishing can all be enjoyed in the nearby area.

Children

Over-12s are welcome.

Pet‐friendly

Pets are welcome by arrangement.

Eco‐friendly

All fruit and vegetables used in the kitchen are grown organically in the hotel gardens. Vicarello produces its own wine and olive oil, and a large amount of meat is hunted on the hotel’s grounds.

Food & Drink

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Castello di Vicarello Hotel - Tuscany - Italy

Hotel Restaurant

Aurora, the owner, cooks up a daily-changing menu of authentic home-grown, home-made Tuscan cuisine, served in the candlelit flower-filled courtyard in summer and by the fireside in winter. Aurora’s pigeon pâté is a firm favourite, as is the steak.

Hotel Bar

Although there’s no bar as such, Castello di Vicarello’s courtyard and gardens are replete with nooks in which to secrete yourself with an aperitif or a glass of the hotel’s own vintage red.

Last orders

Aurora’s Aga starts to cool at around 10pm.

Room service

Fruit and snacks are always available in the kitchen, and you can have food brought to your room from 08h to 21h.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Rustic and relaxed: skirts for sprawling in and shirts all a-billow. 'Smart casual' is requested for dinner and aperitifs.

Top table

The round table in the corner by reception overlooks the whole dining area and the gardens – perfect for a romantic tête-à-tête. The owners will also arrange a secret spot in the gardens to dine in if you request.

Local Guide

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Castello di Vicarello Hotel - Tuscany - Italy
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Don’t leave Tuscany without vineyard-hopping: Poggio Antico in Montalcino runs tasting sessions in English and also boasts a great formal restaurant – book a sampling session in the morning and follow it with a lingering lunch (+39 057 784 8044).

Local restaurants

Authentic Tuscan trattoria abound. Be sure to book a terrace table at Latte di Luna on the main street in Pienza; it serves pici al ragu (spaghetti in wild boar sauce) worth making pilgrimages for (+39 057 874 8606). Il Rossellino in the Piazza di Spagna is a tiny but elegant couple-run eaterie with a great wine selection (+39 057 874 9064). Humbler, but no less flavoursome, is the fare at child-friendly Buca delle Fate, on the Corso Il Rossellino where locals come in droves to savour the steak (+39 057 874 8272).

+ Enlarge
Hidden hilltop olive groves

Castello di Vicarello

1 Via Vicarello, Poggi del Sasso, Cinigiano, Tuscany, 58044

Planes

If you’re lucky enough to arrive on a private flight, Grosseto airport is 45 minutes away; if not, both Florence and Pisa are a convenient hour and a half away, and Rome Fiumicino is two.

Trains

The nearest Trenitalia (www.trenitalia.it) train station is at Paganico, a 15-minute drive from the hotel. There's also a station in Grosseto station, 40km away. Florence and Pisa can be reached in two to three hours; Siena is a direct train away, taking less than two hours.

Automobiles

Castello di Vicarello is 15 minutes from the E78 (Grosseto–Siena–Arezzo–Sansepolcro–Fano). To find it, first get to Paganico, and then proceed toward Monte Amiata; after three kilometres, follow signs to Sasso d’Ombrone, then Poggi del Sasso, where you should take Via Vicarello on your right. Montepulciano and Siena are both between an hour and an hour and a half away; the sights of Pisa, Florence and Perugia are roughly two hours. There's free parking at the hotel.

Reviews

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Castello di Vicarello Hotel - Tuscany - Italy

Anonymous review

by Amanda Lamb , Emigration expert

One thing Castello di Vicarello isn’t is easy to find. It has been two hours since we left the airport, and Mr Smith and I are still winding through vineyards, rolling hills and ancient villages. We’re peering desperately at the map for signs of a 12th-century castle, and it’s only by chance we stumble across a small hand-painted sign. ‘Aha,’ exclaims Mr Smith. &lsquo…
Read more

Castello di Vicarello

Anonymous review by Amanda Lamb, Emigration expert

One thing Castello di Vicarello isn’t is easy to find. It has been two hours since we left the airport, and Mr Smith and I are still winding through vineyards, rolling hills and ancient villages. We’re peering desperately at the map for signs of a 12th-century castle, and it’s only by chance we stumble across a small hand-painted sign. ‘Aha,’ exclaims Mr Smith. ‘We’re here.’

The track, however, merely leads to several smaller tracks, and another hour of driving to parts of Tuscany into which I doubt any other hire car has ever ventured. Suddenly, though, just as our two-month-old relationship starts to show its first strains, Mr Smith spots another signpost. I hear him sigh with relief when we pass through the entrance to the estate, and start cruising towards the castle through vineyards and olive groves.

Ringed by fir trees, the imposing stone building is set against a backdrop of lush pastures and hazy hilltops that’s pure Renaissance fresco. We walk through an archway and into an ancient courtyard where we stand silently, looking at spikes of grass that poke like green hair from between the cobbles. The warm air carries the scent of rosemary and thyme, and the only sound is the buzz of insects. It’s hard to remember which century we’re in. It wouldn’t have surprised me had Russell Crowe appeared from behind one of the urns in full Gladiator garb – alas, I have to make do with Mr Smith in his shorts.

Lucia, the manager, spots us, and comes out to say buongiorno. Our suite, Vicario, is one of six on the estate, some in the castle and others just a short walk away. We don’t even have to worry about the short walk. Vicario is reached via a stone staircase so thick with mediaeval atmosphere that I can almost visualise Mr Smith tripping ahead of me in a doublet and hose. How many others have ascended these steps before us, I wonder?

The first thing I see when I enter our room is a fire that licks and crackles in an enormous stone hearth. The furnishings – wooden tables, huge day bed, wing chair in front of the blaze – are obviously inspired by owner Aurora Baccheschi Berti’s years in Bali, and our giant-scale oak bed continues the Brobdingnagian theme. I am six foot and Mr Smith is six foot two, and we can both comfortably make starfish shapes in it. At the same time.

Both windows in the suite’s living area frame views like perfectly composed landscape paintings, and the light they’re letting in is getting pinker by the second. When I re-enter the main room after taking a bath, the only illumination comes from the fire and flickering candles that Mr Smith has thoughtfully lit. He knows how to set a scene, that man.

Two glasses of wine later, and with heads feeling fuzzier than the peaches in our bedside fruit bowl, we descend the staircase for dinner. We start by asking the attentive Sri Lankan concierge, Damit, for gin and tonics, and he plonks a whole bottle of Gordons in front of us. Oh dear. Soon we’re sniggering like schoolchildren as we think up more inventive ways to misuse our friendly attendant’s name: ‘Damit, that’s a lovely G&T’; ‘What time’s dinner, Damit?’

Castello di Vicarello is not a place you’d come if you wanted to lose weight. We sit at a table big enough to take a castleful of knights – as well as the peasants from the next village – to enjoy the seasonal Tuscan cuisine, most of which come from the estate. Long before dishes are set down, we smell wild mushroom bruschetta and fresh ricotta-and-spinach ravioli being prepared. It’s sturdy stuff. By the time two giant slabs of beef are placed in front of us, we’re relying on the castle’s two grateful dogs to help clear our plates.

The next morning, I discover Mr Smith has pyromaniac tendencies. Propped up on pillows, I can hear plenty of poking and scratching, but see only a pair of feet poking out from the hearth. ‘Come back to bed,’ I call, and a sooty Mr Smith, clad only in boxer shorts, shuffles backwards to stand up. ‘Me man. Me make fire,’ he says, doing his best caveman impression. ‘You woman. You make coffee.’

I do. And, as the pot boils, I look out of the window onto thick mist that fills the valley below, leaving us an island in a white, gently swelling sea. It’s beautiful. I sip my coffee by the ledge, while Mr Smith’s cup cools on the mantelpiece. It takes until 11am to get him downstairs for a breakfast of home-made bread and cakes.

I don’t want to spend the next few hours watching Mr Smith burn things, so I lure him to Montalcino, a nearby hilltop town renowned for its wine. Its streets make delightful strolling territory, and we work up an appetite for lunch. In the cave-like Enoteca la Fortezza di Montalcino, we order a pig-sized plate of charcuterie and begin merrily washing it down with a carafe of Brunello.

‘Hang on,’ says Mr Smith suddenly, ‘someone’s got to drive back.’ We decide to settle things with a game of paper-scissor-stone. As I move to smother Mr Smith’s fist of stone with my palm of paper, the Italian family on the next table – enjoying one of those leisurely meals that six generations pitch up for – looks utterly bemused.

I’m glad Castello di Vicarello is hard to find. If I had my way, no one would know about it. And, though it may be too early for us to talk about marriage – Mr Smith nearly chokes on his breakfast when, on our final morning, I jokingly suggest we come back here to tie the knot – we have definitely decided on one thing. We’re going to buy a dog and name it after our concierge. We’ll always remember this weekend in Tuscany when we call him: ‘Damit, come here. Get back here, Damit…’

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Castello di Vicarello's Guestbook below.

 

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the wonderful atmosphere, beautiful location, great food and fantastic service.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved everything – the location, the decoration as a whole, the staff, the amazing home-made food, and the walks around the estate's vineyards and olive trees. It was an amazing experience overall. I would definitely go back and reccomend it to others.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Everything! This is truly the most gorgeous, romantic place we've ever been to. It’s so disappointing that we didn't book it for longer. Watching the sunset over the valley was breathtaking, and the service of the waiting staff was of a very high standard. They always had time to have a chat and explain things – nothing was too much trouble. Their timing was perfect: when you needed something they were there. When you just wanted to be left alone they did just that, without you having to say anything. Being greeted with an amazing antipasto platter of small local goods and a glass of wine each, and being able to sit outside overlooking the valley (even before checking in) made the start of our stay so welcoming. The accommodation was outstanding and the food was of local produce and high quality. Thank you so much for a great experience and I hope we'll get a chance to return. If you’re looking for a peaceful, romantic getaway where you’re able to relax by your choice of two pools, or have a spa treatment or enjoy a good bottle of wine – then this is for you.

Don’t expect

Absolutely nothing

Rating: 10/10 stars