15 May 2015
A Tuscan jewel just an hour from Sienna, Hotel Monteverdi is a must-visit for everyone: elegance, simplicity, a respect for tradition and a contemporary style, it embodies the best of Italy.
Nestled on the top of a Tuscan hill, the medieval village of Castiglioncello del Trinoro looms in the distance like rocky headland. Overlooking the valley of Val d’Orcia, a classified World Heritage site, Hotel Monteverdi comprises – for the moment anyway – of 10 bedrooms and 3 villas long before the other houses were renovated, slowly transforming this sleepy hamlet into a Tuscan gem.
Renovated according to artistic principles, the interior marries raw silk linen and burnished beams, old bricks and white wood furniture. Advocating rustic aesthetic and sophisticated minimalism, interior designer Ilaria Mani from Rome orchestrates a contemporary journey in search of lost time. Outside of time, the elegance of the buildings reflects that of this 12th century chapel which sober façade has lasted centuries.
No matter how long your stay, the Monteverdi Slow Food philosophy will stay with you: regional products and seasonal vegetables gathered from neighbouring farms, handmade olive oil or pecorino romano from a local cooperative: eating well is paramount! Learn to cook with herbs from the garden or to make pici (a type of thick spaghetti), learn the basics under the guidance of American chef Giancarla Bodoni, who develops her menus to honour every desire and diet (even vegetarians and gluten-free guests!)
After a panzanella salad – with tomatoes, carrots and “a poor man’s” celery, so called because it incorporates pieces of grissini – served in the middle of the terrace above the valley, opt for a charcuterie plate or the house chicken ragout. At the end of the day, head for Enoteca where the tasting of wines from small local producers speak for themselves – despite the other mainstream Italian vintages on the menu – before an authentic dinner of slow cooked vegetables, fresh pasta and risotto. At night, the lanterns of the village give a near pastoral dimension to Castiglioncello del Trinoro; in the twilight, they could be the lights of the largest homes in the valley.
Castiglioncello del Trinoro, Provincia di Siena, Toscane. Tél. +39 057 826 8146. www.monteverdituscany.com