The second life of Castello di Velona in Montalcino
After two years of reconstruction, the unique Castello di Velona – Tuscan Resort and Spa hotel opens. It’s probably hard to find the best way to “experience” Tuscany: a luxurious spa hotel located in an 11th-century castle in the Orcha Valley, near Siena and very close to Montalcino, a village known around the world for the legendary Brunello di Montalcino wine produced here. Castello di Velona is a real medieval fortress of the 11th century.
To this day, a watch tower of the 12th century was preserved, a witness to the clashes between the Florentine and Siena republics. The main building was built during the Late Renaissance, when the castle was rebuilt into a residence villa. At the same time, the castle was imprinted on the fresco maps of Ignazio Danti in the Vatican – documents evidencing this are stored in the local library. Buildings deep in the castle appeared later, forming a patio-scene.
The road passing by the castle is indicated on old maps as Via Clodia (Claudia’s Road). It was built in the 1st century A.D. and led from southern Etruria to Rome. By the way, many Etruscan artifacts were found around the castle, now on display at the Montalcino Museum. In 1997, the castle, which was almost in ruins, was bought by private investors, restored and rebuilt into a hotel, and the original design was completely preserved.
In May this year, the hotel reopens after reconstruction. The renovated Castello di Velona – Tuscan Resort and Spa, part of the Exclusive Hotel Collection and recognized by the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, now has 46 unique rooms with antique furniture and windows overlooking the picturesque Orca Valley. The 19 rooms have direct access to the thermal springs, and the Spa Suites have special rooms with a private entrance for carrying out procedures in your own room. Massages, body wraps and scrubs at Terme di Montalcino’s newly erected spa center are made using only local ingredients such as grapes and olive oil.
The hotel has two outdoor and one indoor pool with thermal water, a jacuzzi, a fitness center, saunas and showers with color therapy. Local thermal springs (50 ° C) are rich in mineral salts, magnesium, sulfates, calcium and other beneficial substances. Cafe Il Chiostro, located in the courtyard of the tower, now has a glass dome, and another L’Abazzia has been added to the traditional Tuscan restaurant Il Vignone with a stunning outdoor terrace and views of the valley. The views from its terrace are no less impressive, the cuisine is also Tuscan, but in a modern way.
These evening restaurants are ideal for a leisurely Italian dinner, and during the day it is best to go to the Pool Bar by the pool for light salads and snacks. The hotel owns vineyards in the valley, which produce world famous Rosso and Brunello di Montalcino wines: they are served in the hotel restaurants, and the best and rarest samples can be tasted at special tastings, which are organized at the request of guests. The castle is surrounded by several villages, a walk through which will bring a lot of pleasure. In addition to the Montalcino Museum, which stores artifacts found during the reconstruction of the castle, another remarkable museum deserves attention – in Montepulciano, where the works of many artists from Siena from the Renaissance era are collected. Do not forget about the beautiful Sant’Antimo Abbey, and the magnificent nature of the Orcha Valley Nature Reserve, where deer roam among fir trees and beech trees, and the horizon rests on the majestic Amiata Mountain.