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In one of the most unspoilt areas of Tuscan Maremma, well away from the main tourist routes, lies the exclusive luxury hotel Castello di Vicarello.
A country residence dating from 1100, the Castello di Vicarello has been beautifully restored. The elegantly decorated suites feature original stone and brick walls and a tasteful blend of antique and modern furniture. Four suites overlook the castle courtyard, paved with ancient flagstones, while three more are in outbuildings in lush gardens of white roses, lavender and ancient olive trees. A further two suites can be found in and nearby the property's medieval castle. Elsewhere in the garden there are two swimming pools - one an infinity pool and the other heated by solar panels and hidden among olive trees.
Further afield the castle is surrounded by olive groves, woodlands and vineyards but also within easy striking distance of Siena, several famous hot springs and the wine-making region of Montalcino. The sea is just a 20 miles away.
The kitchen, overseen personally by the owners (who can, on request, organise themed courses), serves traditional regional food. To complement the cuisine, Castello di Vicarello produces its own wine in collaboration with wine maker Roberto Cipresso. The vineyard is worked by hand using the ancient 'alberello' style of planting, with much thought given to returning to the old traditional ways to achieve the highest quality results.
The occasional oriental touches testify to the many years the owners spent in Indonesia.
Nick, Original Traveller