*FFG stayed as a guest for two nights at Castelfalfi.
When I was 17, I read Frances Mayes’ Under The Tuscan Sun for the first time. As I closed the book on the last page I knew I would revisit this beautiful story time and again over the course of my life. Flash forward two decades and I can probably tell you what’s written on line 17 of page 173. I was obsessed with this story of reinvention, through discovery of a foreign land. Only this wasn’t just any foreign country, this was Italy. This was a country where the local language sounds like poetry come to life, the food is a love letter to the soul and the scenery is second to none. At the age of 20, I would find myself moving to Florence, Italy, to pursue a degree in fine arts, greatly influenced not only by this book but by all of the beautiful pictures I had discovered from painters I was studying at the time. After that, I wasn’t sure what would come next, but I knew I would have to find a way to one day make Italy a part of my life permanently. The closest I’ve come thus far is in moving to a country where Italy is a short plane ride away, making it easy enough for a weekend visit, which leads to me to where I’m writing from today. I’m on a plane, on my way back from two nights at Castelfalfi. This was an experience like nothing I’ve ever had before on holiday in Italy, mainly because it featured an element to it that allowed me, as a guest, to imagine this as a more permanent way to life.
Castelfalfi, you must understand, isn’t just a luxury resort. This medieval village, nestled in the heart of Tuscany, has been given a new lease on life as the heart of a community of property owners and hotel guests alike. Whether you want to stay for a weekend, a month or a lifetime, this resort allows you a true taste of Italian lifestyle with the ease and comfort of a five star hotel experience. It’s quite simply magical, and it starts from the second you step into Castelfalfi. As we drove away earlier today, you could almost feel the glow disappear the further you distanced yourself from the resort. Yes, that’s how good this little corner of the world really is. You feel as if you’re entering a bubble when you come to stay and it’s incredibly hard to leave.
So let’s talk a little bit about what happens at Castelfalfi, starting with your experience as a hotel guest, since that’s the experience I had (home owner experience coming one day soon, fingers crossed and if the lottery works in my favour this year). I’m sure some of you will worry at the idea of staying in a medieval village. I wouldn’t blame you. I’m pretty sure even the toilet situation was dire back in the day. In 2019, there’s nothing to worry about. This is a resort winning hearts for a reason. The look and feel of the village itself may be medieval, but you are treated to modern day conveniences and luxuries in every way, shape and form while a visitor. For the workaholics and instagram-crazed, there’s fast wifi throughout. For those wishing to keep in shape, there’s a gym, electric biking over 1,100 hectares of land, 27 golf holes and much more. If you’re looking to relax, there are nine restaurants and bars, a pool with a view and 800 years of history to brush up on. But, if you’re looking for adventure or education in culinary arts, that’s also available. Fancy learning to truffle hunt with a trained pup? Maybe you’d like to spend a morning in the garden with the head chef, following by an afternoon of learning to cook up some of your favourite dishes from the restaurant? All of these choices are available to guests. Some, however, may just wish to ditch every reminder of the outside world, grab a glass of bubbles and sit every night watching the most magical light show in all of Tuscany…. the sunset.
For me, the Castelfalfi experience was all about the magic of Tuscany. Every morning I rose with the sunrise, up early enough to watch the fog melt over the candy coloured hills rolled out below me. And every evening I had a prime seat for watching the same hills swallow the day’s sun. I debated regularly which I preferred, but found myself completely incapable of making a decision. I want them both and I want them always. Of course, I’m not so sure the button on my jeans wants them always. Over just two days at Castelfalfi, I voluntarily went up a whole pant size. The button on my jeans couldn’t even see where it was supposed to be a part of holding my trousers together. The pasta, the steak, the pizza, the wine, the bread, the olive oil…. I could go on and on and on. To come to Italy for a weekend and not eat as if every single meal was your last would be the greatest injustice a holiday could ever know.
I’m hoping this won’t be my last visit to Castelfalfi, as I must admit I feel like I only scratched the surface on what there is to see and do there. The village itself, filled with shops, cafes and cute couples walking hand in hand in romantic bliss (trues story), demands for me to return for further exploration. The pool, which I didn’t even have a chance to see, let alone sit beside with an Aperol Spritz in hand, needs a look in. And of course, the resort’s own olive oil and wine still linger in my tastebuds’ memory, taunting me as I am sure to taste far inferior products in various locations in the future.
Castelfalfi, you have my heart. I will be back!
For more information on staying at Castelfalfi visit: https://www.castelfalfi.com/