| Tuscan Authenticity at Montecastelli Farm!
North Berkeley Newsletter - Monthly Newsletter Online - January 2005
We would like to invite you to plan your next Italian vacation around a stay at Villa Montecastelli, the stunning Tuscan chateau, farm, and home base of our partners in Italy, Jens and Ruth Schmidt.
Originally a castle and later a monastery, Villa Montecastelli is located on an ancient road known as La Francigena. Its hilltop location has been a stopover destination for many pilgrims, soldiers and merchants long before today's owners, the Schmidt Family, decided to revive the art of hospitality in this 1000 year old hamlet between Siena and San Gimignano.
The incredible views from the hilltop Villa and the silent surroundings of Montecastelli welcome the traveler arriving from Florence or Siena, each less than an hour's drive away. Cultural and culinary places of interest are reachable within less than 15 minutes. Located in the heart of an olive oil-producing organic farm, the Villa is surrounded by the beauty of silver-green olive trees and bushes of herbs.
The expansive Villa, secluded at the end of a long one-lane country road, is the perfect place to decompress from a hectic working life. Lounge by the pool and look out into the countryside - walk around the grounds and hike the verdant hills. The villa features the following:
- Generously spaced kitchens and dining rooms for the wine and food lover.
- High speed internet connections and outdoor terraces with San Gimignano in the distance.
- Four apartments of different sizes can be rented individually or combined into one package, to accommodate a maximum of 18 guests.
- Laundry facilities provided on site.
While staying at the property, you can take advantage of both guided and self-guided Winetasting Tours, organized by wine importer and 20-year veteran of the Italian wine scene, Jens Schmidt. With Jens' guidance, you can get to know some of the gracious people behind the wines featured by North Berkeley Imports and Montecastelli Selections. The Schmidts also propose Italian Cooking Classes for both beginners and advanced home chefs, led by Lazzaro Cimadoro in Montecastelli's professional kitchen.
Please contact us here at 800-266-6585 for more information about this one-of-a-kind destination, or go to http://www.montecastelli.it.
A Retreat in the Tuscan Countryside
Italian Wine Merchant I-News - January 2005 Here at IWM we are often asked for recommendations on "where to stay" and "what to see" while in Italy. There are hundreds of options, but an excellent starting point is Villa Montecastello in Tuscany, especially if you are looking to do a wine tour of the region.
Villa Montecastello is the vision of Jens and Ruth Schmidt (who also specialize in importing the wines of many small artisanal producers). They have restored a thousand year old castle in an attempt to revive the art of hospitality in this little hamlet between Siena and San Gimignano. The Villa offers a lovely, serene retreat in the idyllic countryside of Tuscany. This beautifully restored castle still manifests its history as a medieval fortress and, later, as a monastery that welcomed pilgrims along with traveling soldiers and merchants. Both Firenze and Siena are less than an hour's drive away, and the charming medieval town of San Gimignano is within sight of the estate. The Villa sits among the groves of the Montecastelli farm, where hosts Jens and Ruth Schmidt produce organic oil from their olive trees as well as growing fragrant herbs which are further surrounded by vineyards.
The space is truly geared for the enthusiast of fine wine and food, as the castle offers accomomdations for lodging, private wine lessons in the estate's professional tasting room and customized cooking classes. The hosts will also arrange trips to wineries throughout Italy, with Jens acting as guide in the vineyard, cellar, and tasting room. Equally as important, Villa Montecastelli serves as a central resting point for visits to Siena, Florence, San Gimignano, Montalcino, and the Chianti zones. Read on below to learn more about IWM's endorsement for Villa Montacastello or visit them online.
Accomodations at Villa Montecastello:
The Villa is set-up as a compound and offers four rustic Italian apartments. Generously spaced kitchen and dining rooms for the wine and food lover, high speed internet connections, individual outdoor terraces (with barbeque) overlooking the sunset with vineyards and San Gimignano in the distance - are some of the delights that await guests of Villa Montecastello.
Four apartments of different sizes can be rented individually or combined in one package to accommodate a maximum of 18 guests. The four apartments are named after the major varieties of olives grown on the property and are called: Frantoio (sleeps 6), Moraiolo (sleeps 4), Leccino (sleeps 2+2) and Pendolino (sleeps 2). Please click the name for details on each apartment and check their availability.
Activities at Villa Montecastello:
Guests have access to the entire grounds and use of the outdoor swimming pool, relax in the courtyard or under the arbors in the garden. Available activities include private wine lessons in the estate's professional tasting room and customized cooking classes. The hosts will also arrange trips to wineries throughout Italy, with Jens acting as guide in the vineyard, cellar, and tasting room.