Elisa Pepi, Sales & Marketing Manager for Castello del Nero, a small 12th century castle hotel in Tuscany’s Chianti area (near Florence, Italy), was recently in San Francisco, and we met up at my office. She spoke to me about what’s happening at her bucolic Tuscan resort, a favorite haunt of the sophisticated traveler to Italy.
Josh: Elisa, As I told you I lived in Florence when I was in college. I couldn’t imagine staying in a hotel just a half hour’s drive from there. Do your guests often stay both at Castello del Nero AND in Florence, or do they choose one or the other?
Elisa: Americans typically spend 3 nights in Florence and 3 in Chianti. But the ones who would like to live the true spirit of Tuscany spend a full week at Castello del Nero and go for day trips to Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa and Lucca and come back in the evening to chill out among the rolling hills.
Josh: What’s a typical 3 night stay like at Castello. If it were me, I’d just eat, listen to the church bells, stare off into the countryside and drink cafe. What are some of the activities at the hotel for more active people? I know you have a luxurious spa, for instance.
Elisa: If I were you I’d rather drink a glass of our own produced Chianti wine! On our 400 hectares property we do produce Chianti wine and Extra Virgin Olive oil (the same ones we offer at the restaurant). We organize daily cooking classes and wine tastings. On site, guests may use complimentary facilities such as the outdoor heated swimming pool, tennis courts and gym, or go trekking or biking on the private paths around the hotel among vineyards, olive groves and lakes.
This year, our ESPA was voted among the best hotel Spas in Europe, Minor Asia and Russian Federation by Conde Nast Traveller readers in the UK. We perform couple massages as well as signature treatments using our extra virgin olive oil, rosemary and lavender.
Josh: How’s the dining and shopping in the area? Can you walk to town, or does the hotel have a shuttle? How about access to Florence?
Elisa: Our hotel is located in the village of Tavarnelle Val di Pesa that’s walking distance and in the village guests can shop for local food wine and artcrafts or try some typical inns.
We offer a complimentary shuttle bus to and from Florence city centre twice per day (at scheduled times) for the ones who want to visit the city avoiding the driving. It stops in the fashion district of the city. I’d like to remind you that Florence is the home city of Gucci, Ferragamo, Pucci, Cavalli just to name a few
Josh: What type of promotions will we see for 2011? As a preferred hotel within our Virtuoso Travel program, can you explain the complimentary and exclusive perks we can offer our clients?
Elisa: We have an early booking promotion where you stay for 5 nights but pay only for 4. We also have plenty of packages including spa and gastronomy.
Our Virtuoso amenities exclusive to your agency are early check-in and late check-out and room upgrade upon availability, buffet breakfast served at the restaurant La Torre and 50 euro each as credit to be used on spa treatments. And of course all our Staff attention and lots of Tuscan flair and amazing views…and we do not charge for them!!
To contact Elisa with any questions or comments, please leave a comment by clicking the link above.

Josh Friedmanis a travel agent specializing in luxury travel for small groups and individuals – particularly ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations and food & wine inspired journeys.  Based in San Francisco, and with clients throughout the USA and abroad, his business is focused on 24/7 personalized service to the sophisticated leisure and business traveler. Business services include high-touch reservations, exclusive hotel and airline offers.  His relationships with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful business or leisure trip.
For more information, to learn about our exclusive benefits, and to book, please contact Josh at 415.248.507, 800.553.4777 or by email. Associated with Casto, a member of the prestigious Virtuoso Travel network.  Be a big fish in our small pond. Castello del Nero’s site.

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