From the shady terrace of the poolside bar, guests of Castelfalfi Resort can gaze across the verdant landscape of the hotel’s 2700-acre estate over to the restored medieval castle in the adjacent village.
Having undergone an aesthetic and sustainable revamp, the five-star resort has opened its doors to summer visitors with a stylish new interior design and an impressive roster of activities in the stunning natural surroundings.
Castelfalfi lies equidistant between the art cities of Florence and Siena, deep in the Tuscan countryside. The complex comprises a recently constructed hotel with 120 rooms, a spa and two pools, situated just down the road from the historic village of Castelfalfi.
The hamlet, which was a ruin just a couple of decades ago, has been fully restored and its houses sold to new occupants. Together, the hotel and village, along with villas for rent dotted around the estate, give guests a taste of luxury Tuscan living with an emphasis on helping the environment.
A plastic-free resort
With the travel sector looking to reduce its carbon footprint, hotels like Castelfalfi are catering to the climate-conscious traveler.
In line with its green ethos, this year the resort has eliminated single-use plastics from the hotel, restaurants and other activities. In the rooms, for example, toiletries come in aluminum tubes and all drinks containers are glass. Any disposable cutlery is made from recycled wood.
The resort’s water system is also completely internal to the estate. This supplies the accommodation, restaurants, pools and systems for watering the golf course. The golf course itself is GEO certified meaning it conforms to the highest sustainability standards.
The estate is fully organic, with no chemical pesticides or herbicides used on the vast acres of vineyards and olive trees.
There is currently a power plant that generates some of the estate’s electricity from wood chips and olive stones and a new solar plant is being constructed that should soon allow for a carbon-free power supply.
A hotel immersed in nature
Even when vacationers are inside the hotel building, they are never very far from nature. From the sleek, midcentury-styled foyer, guests can walk out onto the spacious terrace overlooking a breathtaking view of the undulating Tuscan countryside. There are cushioned sun loungers laid out on the grass while the stone-flagged terrace is set out with sofas for the Ecrù wine bar.
But the resort also likes to tempt guests into the heart of the landscape itself. The agricultural side of the estate is at the forefront of the experience at Castelfalfi. Estate manager Diego Mugnaini takes visitors to see the vineyards, currently under expansion, where the hotel’s range of wines is produced. Guests can join a tasting to sample the six wines on offer, which include a Chianti Riserva DOCG and their flagship wine, Poggio alla Fame, made with 100% Sangiovese grapes.
Products from the estate supply the resort’s eight restaurants, including the informal Trattoria il Rosmarino in the village, the elegant La Via del Sale restaurant inside the hotel and the Michelin-starred La Rocca restaurant located in the medieval castle.
A bee-friendly experience
Castelfalfi presents guests with an inexhaustible list of available activities to get close to nature. Aside from having the largest golf course in Tuscany with 27 holes, the resort has just opened an adventure park with archery and a tree top course. Survival experts Adam and Rocky also teach visitors how to build shelters and light fires in the nearby woods.
The estate is also home to a colony of bees. The two beekeepers, who work as architects, look after the hives in their free time and take guests to learn about the bees and taste their honey. The resort ensures no insecticides are used that might harm the colony.
Guests also have the option to go fishing on the lake, go horseriding, go trekking along four signposted routes, or do yoga on the hotel’s terrace.
The resort and village are completely open to the public so all activities are available even to those not staying at the hotel. As the hotel manager Isidoro Di Franco emphasizes, the idea is to give guests the feel of an authentic Tuscany village rather than a gated resort.