Over 400 years ago, a noble Sienese family ruled over a vast estate in the Tuscan countryside, growing olives, grapes, wheat and sunflowers on their sharecropping farms, and churning out products in their oil press and mills. Later, the place passed into the hands of famed Italian film director Luchino Visconti, who, in addition to farming and raising cattle, threw lavish par – ties for the jet-set stars of the 1960’s. But by the end of the last millennium, the grounds were languishing neglected—until Colorado-based Timbers Resorts came to the rescue.
Following years of meticulous restoration and construction, the 4,200-acre Castello di Casole now includes over two dozen for-sale Tuscan farmhouses, 88 acres of vineyards, and 13 acres of olive groves. In the hilltop former main house is a 41-suite hotel, where rooms boast hand-painted furniture, Carrara marble baths, locally made textiles, and panoramic views. The chic bar pays homage to the glam Visconti days, while dining options highlight local produce, fresh game like wild boar and venison, and the hotel’s namesake wines, produced on-site. (Guests can experience tastings, learn about the process and, in the fall, even help with harvest.)
Tuscan products are also featured in the 5,400 square-foot seven-room Essere Spa, set in the estate’s former wine cellar. Mixing original stone walls and vaulted ceilings with Murano glass, Italian mosaics and tiles made from recycled cork, the spa features Comfort Zone products (including their dedicated natural line), as well as olive oil, grape seed and skins, and fresh herbs like rosemary and lavender. The 80-minute Celebration of the Seasons uses seasonal herbs in a body exfoliation and massage; the Mediterranean Mud Ritual restores elasticity and moisture with a creamy mud infused with essential oils and thermal water; and the Scents of Tuscany Ritual is a two-hour combo of olive stone scrub, full body massage (done with orange- and fennel-infused estate olive oil) and mini-facial. Before or after, relax in the Roman-style baths in the private garden, or on the yoga and Pilates terrace, from which the views are not all that different from the way they were 400 years ago. castellodicasole.com
– Sandra Ramani