Last week Nine Muses Travel was invited by the Italian National Tourist Board to attend their very first Italian Luxury trade show for travel advisors, and for two eventful days, I met with hoteliers, villa and vineyard owners, regional tourism offices, local experts and specialty tour operators all visiting New York to showcase Italy's many wonderful regions. Throughout the Italian Luxury event, we had the opportunity to taste delicious wines from all over Italy, and my hands-down favorite was from Castiglion del Bosco in Tuscany (pictured above).
Castiglion del Bosco is in the province of Siena between the historic towns of Buonconvento and Montalcino, an area renowned for Brunello di Montalcino red wine. It's perfectly situated atop a hill looking down onto the surrounding valleys, giving their vines optimal exposure for wines of excellent quality. Want to spend more time in this dreamy spot? You can! Castiglion del Bosco is also a Rosewood hotel with stunning villas, medieval history, breathtaking views, restaurants, kitchen garden, pool, spa and so much more; I can secure a $100 spa credit among many other fantastic amenities - exclusively for my clients.
Learn more about Castiglion del Bosco and two other fantastic Tuscan properties that really cook - by learning how to make Italian pasta from the masters!
Article excerpt below originally appeared in Virtuoso Life magazine, September 2014.
1. Belmond Villa San Michele
Built on a steep terraced hill among citrus and cypress trees, this 45-room villa began as a Franciscan monastery in the early fifteenth century. Today, it features a facade attributed to none other than Michelangelo, views that stretch to Florence, and a cooking school offering thrice-weekly classes focusing on Tuscan staples, including pasta, with special half-day gnocchi classes for children 6-14. For those wanting a deeper experience, it also runs an extraordinary three-day course of luncheons, wine-pairing sessions with the sommelier, and hands-on classes with the resort’s executive chef as well as chefs from sister properties in Venice, Ravello, and Portofino. (Seasonal closure Nov. - April.)
2. Villa La Massa
Twenty-two acres of gardens and plenty of olive and lemon trees surround this sixteenth-century villa, located just a few miles outside Florence on the banks of the Arno. Guests at the 37-room estate learn the fundamentals of pasta-making from the restaurant’s experienced and enthusiastic executive chef, Andrea Quagliarella, during a morning-long lesson, followed by a leisurely lunch.
3. Castiglion del Bosco
This vast estate comprises some 4,000 acres in the rolling hills outside Siena, complete with a crumbling medieval castle and an ancient church containing painter Pietro Lorenzetti’s fourteenth-century frescoes. Its heart is the manor house, winery, stables, a collection of outbuildings that make up the restored village—and, of course, the orto (kitchen garden). Chefs-to-be at the 23-suite, nine-villa resort learn to prepare fresh pasta, iconic regional sauces, and, as every good Italian meal should finish with a sweet indulgence, a traditional dessert.
Contact me to learn the culinary secrets of tantalizing Tuscany!