"I don't think there are more picture-perfect landscapes than those of Tuscany, where iconic views of rolling hills and tall cypresses are found around almost every corner...

But despite an hour driving through this oh-so- stunning scenery from Florence, Belmond Castello di Casole still took my breath away.

​This 10th-century hillside castle stands majestically, lord of all it surveys – in this case, its own 4200-acre private estate. Fittingly, inside is equally regal. Antiques galore, sumptuous furnishings, faultless service (as you'd expect from Belmond)… grand yes, but very quiet and private, a charming rural hideaway. 

I loved every room and suite in the main building having its own unique style and feel – terracotta tones and original tiled floors giving a real sense of place. My spacious Junior Suite Deluxe couldn't have felt more authentically Italian if it tried. 

But whether you choose something in the historic main building, or the contemporary Oliveto or Limonia Suites set within the grounds, the bathrooms here are sure to make your jaw fall to the floor!

​So, what to do in this remote part of the Tuscan hills?

Well, you’re perfectly placed to explore the region, but there’s plenty to do here when you're not lounging by the heated pool admiring the view. 

The Spa and gym are impressive, with treatment and relaxation areas in the castle’s original wine cellar, and yoga classes on the lawns. And I had a brilliant time learning to make bath salts and body scrubs at one of the Spa Workshops. But that's just a taster... there are many other activities to choose from, like truffle hunting, ceramic classes and a Cooking Academy in the ancient kitchen (go on, ask me how to make proper pasta!). 

Of course, any Italian holiday revolves around food and here there are two top-notch restaurants – or you can take the free shuttle to Belmond Villa San Michele in Florence for dinner… coincidentally, my next port of call!

Belmond Villa San Michele

​Now I’m no stranger to this Belmond classic – for me it’s the only place to watch a Florentine sunset – but I’ve not been for some time. It’s as beautiful as ever though, its Michelangelo -designed façade (you literally stay in a work of art!) now complemented by modern art throughout the hotel. Still elegant, but with a younger vibe. 

My room though, was all-new: a lovely, spacious Garden Suite with its own gated entrance, garden and – get this! – rooftop terrace with amazing view. I didn’t want to leave! 

​The other rooms around the hotel remain individual and quirky, oozing history and simply gorgeous.

One noticeable difference was the wagg-licious welcome from Africa, the adorable black Lab who loves a siesta under the Concierge desk! Come breakfast or dinner, I never tire of the view from the hotel’s Loggia restaurant. 

And, like the Castello, the list of things to do here and around the city is endless – enjoy the fantastic cookery school, wine-tasting, tours and more, or take the free shuttle into Florence. My personal favourites? Creating your own perfume with one of Florence’s Master Perfumers; and the Art Experience, meeting one of the artists whose work now adorns the Villa – both encapsulating the true spirit of Tuscany!"

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  • Belmond Castello di Casole Casole d'Elsa, Tuscany

    If it’s impossible to find an unbeautiful spot in Tuscany, it’s probably just as impossible to find somewhere more beautiful than this classic Tuscan palazzo set within its own estate, with views that take the breath away.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

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  • Belmond Villa San Michele Florence

    Originally a Franciscan monastery, with a later façade attributed to Michelangelo, this boutique hotel teems with antique pieces, while foodies are completely spoilt with gastronomic pursuits.

    Call us on 01244 567 000 to start planning your next holiday.

    View this property

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