A heavy autumn fog shrouded Castello di Gargonza on the early Sunday morning of my visit, much like a theater curtain waiting to open before a big performance. Upon my arrival, church bells in the tiny Romanesque town peeled out, almost as if to signal my arrival through the castle’s main gate.
Once inside the walls of the hamlet, it was truly as though I’d stepped back in time into a perfectly staged scene of a fortified village from the middle ages. (It's said that Dante was once a guest here.) At some point in its long history, the little village of Gargonza became simply a large farm and eventually was abandoned after the war. However the little town and most of the buildings survived virtually in tact, the result of an ingenious plan to carefully and artfully restore the entire village by transforming it into a rustic, elegant and characterful hotel.
|Casa Fattore - apartment|
Castello di Gargonza is a special place and offers a unique experience. Families packing a sense of adventure and a desire to experience a tiny Tuscan village almost intact from the middle ages, certainly won’t be disappointed.
What we loved:
|Bedroom in Casa Fattore|
- Kids will really enjoy living in their own little village.
- The hotel is enclosed by fortified walls so children can explore and roam the village freely and explore the large property, its extensive gardens and open spaces.
- The hotel can organize almost any special activity, including horseback riding, and hands-on cooking classes. We particularly loved their special class for children on the techniques of fresco painting.
- The staff at Castello di Gargonza are extremely friendly and accommodating. The owner lives on site with his young family ensuring high standards of quality.
- On site there is a good restaurant. For an extra fee, guests of the self-service apartments can choose to dine in or take advantage of the breakfast service offered to B&B guests.
- Many multi-room apartments can be rented nightly instead of weekly, allowing families to take advantage of more spacious accommodation.
|The pool overlooking the Chiana valley|
Best suited to:
- Families with young children, older children and teenagers
- Large families, family reunions, or groups of families/friends traveling together
Things to consider:
- A 3-night stay is usually required, particularly during high season for rooms,and 1-week rental for apartments.
- You’ll need a car to reach Gargonza and to explore the surrounding Tuscan countryside.
- The road up to the castle is a bit winding, so kids who get car sick easily may have difficulty.
- There are lots of old stone staircases—something to consider when traveling with young toddlers (ground rooms available).
- There is no television in the rooms.
- Air conditioning is available in 8 of the 20 apartments, although portable coolers and fans are available.
Castello di Gargonza is a great value in Tuscany for families. This hotel falls into the Mid range price category (€€).
High season rates: for Double room, B&B basis, begin at around €160/night; Rates for self-catered apartments with kitchen begin at around €910 for the week.
For guests who book their stay through Family Friendly Italy, Castello di Gargonza is offering several special packages: choose from a Spa and Tree Climbing Adventure package which includes free entrance to the spa, plus 3 tickets to a nearby tree climbing adventure park or a hands-on pasta making class, 2-course lunch and a walking tour in the forest in search of Tuscany’s wild boar.
To book this hotel or learn more about this offer, click here. To find other family-friendly properties, contact us at (617) 410-6159 or visit www.familyfriendlyitaly.com.