The story of Monteverdi is one of “renaissance”, the rebirth of the tiny village Castiglioncello del Trinoro. This hamlet, strategically situated on a hill with a sweeping view of the constantly changing fields of the Val D’Orcia, has witnessed the passing of times and, more importantly, has survived it. But, ultimately, the villagers left, looking for a new life in the city, leaving Castiglioncello del Trinoro to fall into disrepair and almost be forgotten. That is, until modern ‘mecenas’ and successful lawyer Michael Cioffi came upon this dilapidated place and his heart leapt with joy….for he felt he had found the perfect place to realise his dreams. For this American had a special bond with Italy, not only because of his Italian ancestors, but also because he had studied the classics at the University of Notre Dame – USA. He came into contact with Florentine designer Ilaria Miani, and they decided to join forces and turn Castiglioncello del Trinoro into a Medieval hamlet 2.0…. A place where old and new come together in perfect harmony. The rest, as they say, is history, for Monteverdi has become one of the most prestigious luxury accommodations in Tuscany.
The road turns into a gravel road that winds up the hill and ahead of me loom the century old city walls of Castiglioncello del Trinoro; I have reached my destination: Monteverdi. I direct my car into one of the paved little alleyways where I come to a stop….this must be it. Entering the building next to me, I realise I have ended up in the Monteverdi Spa- which is confirmed by the lovely smells wafting towards me. Coincidentally Massimo, the General Manager, is also around, and he welcomes me warmly and shows me around the beautiful spa, that carries the lovely products from the centuries old Florentine apothecary Santa Maria Novella. As the afternoon is clear and lovely, and the forecasts for tomorrow are not quite as good, Massimo offers to take me up to the highest part of Castiglioncello del Trinoro straight away….here you can visit several old Etruscan excavations while enjoying a jaw-dropping view of the surroundings: Val D’Orcia in all its splendour, like an enormous painting that constantly changes colour….Magical! We continue on our tour, for there are many other beautiful things to see. Along the way, we pass the swimming pool, not yet in service this time of year, but it is easy to imagine how lovely it will be to sit here in the summer. The gardens were landscaped carefully and are full of colourful and fragrant flowers. Next, we visit the Enoteca, where no less than 32 wines are served by the glass and which also serves a lovely lunch. In passing, Massimo shows me an adorable little church, splendidly restored to its former glory, where the local youth plays footie on the square. Another lovely building houses the library bar, a relaxed and pleasant place for drinks or, as the name suggests, for enjoying a good book!
Time to get settled in my room, one of four luxury rooms, beautifully decorated by Ilaria Miani. The copper bath is a prominent feature in my room, as is the canopy bed ‘new style’: with minimalist copper frames. Such a lovely room, very spacious and thoughtfully decorated with a great eye for detail…..everything in it, from the bed linen to the bath amenities, is pure luxury and indulgence. The modern design integrates nicely with the old shell of the building, for instance, the wooden ceiling beams are still a prominent feature as are the thick stone walls. In addition to the four luxury rooms, there are also several signature suites and collection suites. For those travelling in larger groups or looking for complete privacy, there are several fully equipped villas, with two, three or six bedrooms.
That evening, I enjoy an elaborate ‘degustation’ menu in the Oreade restaurant, where executive chef Giancarla Bodoni leads the kitchen. She creates wonderful dishes with a creative and contemporary touch, using mainly organic ingredients. Dinner is as exquisite as the wine that accompanies it…..a unique treat. Breakfast the following morning is equally lovely, a perfect start to my day of exploring the wonderful surroundings. This is Tuscany as seen in the brochures: green hills covered with cypresses and old mansions. For me, the time has come to take my leave, for I have several other Local Hideaways to visit in the next couple of days.
Time to take stock of things: Monteverdi is a stunning and ambitious project, and a perfect mix of old and new, where nostalgia blends perfectly with the modern demands of the spoiled traveller. At Monteverdi, you’ll be pampered no end, but that has its price. But if you can afford it, do go, you won’t be disappointed! After all, isn’t the old Renaissance adage: ‘Carpe Diem’?!
Read more about Tuscany in my blog: Tuscany ‘under the radar’: LH Style!