Thank you for referencing our frequently asked questions page! We, the owners of Castello delle Serre, have composed this document to help you in preparing for your trip here to stay with us. Over our 20 plus years in the business, we’ve learned what is most important to you and the information you want to have in advance of arriving at our property. This sheet is meant to give you easy, quick access to that information at your own time. It is not meant to discourage you to still write or call us if something still is not clear. We are available to you when you need! Just email us at email@example.com and we will usually be back with you within 24-36 hours of your request.
We look forward to helping you plan the most epic Tuscan vacation you can imagine.
The Castello Family
During high season, we try to offer fixed menu dinners 2-3 times per week depending on guest occupancy. We usually determine the dates 7-10 days out. On the nights we do not offer dinner, there are always options within our village to try. Depending on the night of the week there are two to three local spots within walking distance and one more (exceptional) which is in our village but is best reached by car. If you desire further options, we have a very extensive list of restaurants surrounding us in a 15 minute radius by car. See next FAQ regarding reservations at said restaurants.
Being situated in Tuscany, most (over 90%) of travellers rent their own vehicle during their stay with us. As we are located in the countryside, taxis and car sharing services essentially are non-existent. Having your own vehicle makes the trip well worth it as you are not at the mercy of anyone else or the often unreliable and infrequent public transportation options. If budget isn’t really an issue and you have decided you really don’t want to drive, you will certainly need to plan ahead of time and hire a private driver. We can help you with names and contact information if you were to choose to go that route.
Typically speaking, dinner reservations in our area can almost always be made on the day of the reservation. Saturday nights and holidays are the exception to that rule. We strongly advise you to refrain from booking dinner reservations before your arrival here. Restaurateurs in the area can be infamous for “losing” old reservations or deciding to close on random nights for personal reasons. Leave the stress at home and let us take care of these details for you, when you arrive. ***If you foresee a late arrival on a Saturday night, please call or email us a day or two before your arrival so we can make sure you are taken care of for your arrival night.
I want to visit wineries in the area but there are so many to choose from. Do you have a list of wineries you recommend?
Regarding specific winery suggestions, we have an endless list all depending on the type of wine drinker you are. Are they enthusiastic about wine but not obsessed? Are you just looking more for a great tasting experience? Are you wine collectors that really want to make important purchased for shipping home and are specifically looking for high end wines?
Regarding wine tastings you can choose between Montalcino and Montepulciano (both in the Val d’Orcia region that are 45-50 minutes driving from the Castello) or the Chianti area (as close as 20 minutes, extending all the way to Florence). There are two approaches to the tasting experience: an open tasting with no appointments necessary or an intimate experience by appointment.
Here’s a quick list of wineries where you can show up without appointment and do tastings:
Poggio Antico in Montalcino -big, commercial producer with a restaurant inside if you want to stay for lunch https://www.poggioantico.com/en/
Fattoria dei Barbi in Montalcino– similar to Poggio Antico, also has restaurant inside https://www.fattoriadeibarbi.it/en/
Tenuta Fanti in Montalcino – easy drop in location but suggested to make an appointment. Additionally has option for eating but must be done with more than one day advance notice (website for information https://www.tenutafanti.it/en/visit)
Felsina in Chianti– the closest of Chianti wineries. This can easily be visited on the way to or from Siena as it is conveniently located nearby the highway. https://www.felsina.it/en/
Villa Sesta in Chianti– easy stop on the way into the heart of Chianti https://www.villasesta.com/en/
Castello Brolio in Chianti- visit the incredible structure and gardens on location for €5 and receive a free wine tasting at the cantina below https://www.ricasoli.com/en/cellars/
Otherwise, if you prefer to arrange a schedule, here are our top picks for wineries that offer tastings by appointment:
NostraVita in Montalcino – This is by far the most unique experience. It equates to going to your best friend’s house that happens also to make Brunello. Don’t expect stellar wine critic ratings as this is too small and not focused on glitzy image for that. This is their home and there is nothing like it anywhere. www.nostravita.it
Podere Le Ripi in Montalcino – Owned by the Illy coffee family and is home to the Banzai Brunello vines. Cult following, very sophisticated but young and energetic. Some of the best views in all of Tuscany. https://www.podereleripi.com
Tolaini in the heart of Chianti Classico region, this winery makes Chianti, but the real focus has been Super Tuscan blend wines that are born to compete with all the big names in France and California. Very personal and informative tour and tasting. Starting as of 2019, it is also possible to do a full day at the winery, including lunch and painting lesson. www.tolaini.it/en/
De Ricci in Montepulciano – most beautiful ancient wine cellars, perhaps in all of Tuscany, very convenient and superb hospitality. https://www.cantinadericci.it/en/
Poliziano in Montepulciano – in my opinion the best producer of Vino Nobile with a very impressive facility https://carlettipoliziano.com/en/
I’m trying to book my flight to Italy and can’t decide which airport to fly into. Which one do you recommend?
Regarding air travel, we are situated between many options including Rome (FCO-2.5 hours drive), Pisa (PSA- 2 hours) or Florence (FLR- 1.5 hours). Rome usually has the highest amount of flight options so the majority of guests usually come from Rome. Additionally guests appreciate that in Rome they can rent cars directly at the airport, without having to enter the city centre which can be a little chaotic. In our opinion flying into Florence is definitely the easiest option. The airport is very small and the drive is very easy from there to here.
I’m trying to see as many things as possible during my time in Italy. How many nights do you recommend to stay at your property?
The number one regret we have had of past clients comes from those who only spent one night at our property. We are strategically and centrally located from virtually every popular Tuscan tourist location there is. Additionally, as our property is quite large, staying one night and not even having 24 hours to explore our grounds can be quite a misfortune. Because of this, we strongly urge our guests to stay a minimum of 2 nights, while we average 3 nights with most. Considering one day for the Chianti region, one day for the Val D’Orcia area, and one day to arrive (usually visiting a city or area suggested by us) you will get to that number.
We are a family and I know in Europe sometimes it is difficult to fit many people in one room. What sort of options to you have for parties of more than 2 guests, especially with small children?
Our property is great for families due to various reasons. First, we have a minimum of 2 family suites available, along with other rooms which can be arranged to fit more than 2 people. Our most popular family suite is the Loft Suite for Four. This room is extremely spacious. On the first level you’ll find a king size bed and a full bathroom. Just up the stairs on the loft level there are two more full size beds with another full bathroom. For families who need a lot of space but don’t want to be separated, this room is perfect.
We have another suite (Junior Suite 125) which has two bedrooms, a king bed, and a full bed, easily sleeping 3 people. There is one bathroom in this room.
Finally we have a number of both Deluxe Double rooms and Junior Suite rooms which have the ability for a twin cot and/or a baby crib to be added for an additional fee.
Finally for larger families, our Private Villa is always an option with 3 bedrooms, 4 full bathrooms, a living room, dining room, and equipped kitchen. We suggest the villa for families of 6-7 that include adults and older children, not small children or babies. The reason for this is the layout of the villa. There is a separate entrance to the two bedrooms upstairs and the one bedroom/kitchen area downstairs. The access to the 2 rooms upstairs is accessed by going around the pool which can make it dangerous, especially for children who cannot swim. Each bedroom has a matrimonial size bed and there is an option for adding an additional person on the sofa bed located in the main floor living room area.
We rent the villa as a self-catering unit which means that we do not include daily breakfast and the house is clean when you arrive and it is cleaned when you depart. If you wish to add on the services similar to the ones we offer inside the Castle, that of course is available for an additional fee. The villa rental also includes a washing machine, for those who are traveling for an extended time and need to wash clothes.