A few weeks ago, my husband and I spent the day up in Napa Valley. We are so incredibly luckily to live just a two hour drive away from such a beautiful place in California. The last time we visited Napa was actually 10 years ago and now we feel crazy for not exploring this place more! I guess having four children can do that to you. When I was in the hospital last year, with plenty of time on my hands one late night, I came across Castello Di Amorosa. I knew right then and there, that once I was feeling well enough, I would make it out there to see this magical place.
The drive up is breathtaking all by itself. The rolling hills full of luscious vineyards combined with the perfect blue sky looked like a famous painting you would only see in a museum. Yet, here we are, in our own country corner of paradise. It was an amazing start to the day.
We parked the car and made our way up the pathway to the entry of the Castello. You instantly feel like you’ve been transported back in time to 13th century Tuscany, Italy. It rendered us speechless as we looked at the architectural masterpiece set in front of us.
Before checking in to do our wine tasting, Neil and I decided to take our time exploring the grounds. There are two ticket packages that you can purchase, which we did ahead of time and I strongly recommend doing so. We chose the standard self-guided tour and tasting package which includes a 5 flight tasting of their amazing wines. Next time, because there will definitely be a next time in the near future, we plan to do the full Castello experience which includes a guided tour through other rooms that we were unable to see including an armory and a torture chamber. Let’s face it, who isn’t interested in seeing what a 13th century Italian torture chamber looks like?
When you walk over the drawbridge and into the castle, you will find a great hall where the floor and ceiling are painted in a mural. What a gorgeous work of art and its definitely worth viewing. It opens up into a large courtyard where the entire castle surrounds you. Every inch of this place is magnificent however, my favorite part was up on the second level off the upper terrace where they have a guard house and truncated tower.
We headed down to the main tasting room which is underground. They have Italian trinkets and unique gifts as well as cigars and imported Italian cheese and chocolates. You could spend hours down here wine tasting and shopping, which is exactly what we did. Our sommlier was awesome and gave us the history behind the castle. She also let us know the architect and owner, Dario Sattui, was walking around the grounds that day. We tried a few chardonnays and moved on to the reds. I have never been much of a red wine drinker, however, that began to change on our wine tasting tour in San Francisco a few months back. I had fallen in love with this amazing sparkling red wine and it’s become one of my favorite drinks. Low and behold, they had their own sparking sweet red wine. It’s called La Fantasìa and I highly recommend trying it out! We literally had 3 samples of it and then bought 4 bottles to take home with us. It’s that good! I also ended up buying the most darling espresso cup and saucer for my espresso machine.
A little tipsy and hungry for lunch, we decided to walk around a bit more and then find a place to eat lunch down in St. Helena. I actually wouldn’t be opposed to bringing the kids here some time. It has a little farm area with goats, cows and peacocks. I also loved the little chapel where you can sit and say a prayer. Castello Di Amorosa has such a romantic atmosphere and was just the place Neil and I needed to reconnect and enjoy ourselves.
Here are some other interesting fun facts we read about in their tour brochure:
All ironwork including lamps, gates and door hardware was hand forged by Italian artisans. All doors and windows were made by Italian artisans and feature leaded glass in windows. Over 200 containers of handmade antique brick, tiles, doors, windows and furnishings were brought over from Europe.
It really is quite astounding to see an authentic 13th century Italian castle in the middle of Napa Valley. While finishing up our exploring, we had the pleasure of meeting with Dario Sattui, the owner himself. He told us his great-grandfather, Vittorio Sattui, emigrated from Genoa, Italy and opened his first winery in 1885. Prohibition went into effect, causing the winery to lay dormant until 1976 when Dario brought it back an opened its doors in St. Helena. You can find more information on that winery, here. Meeting Dario, brought our experience to a whole new level. We appreciated the castle so much more knowing the back story and reasoning behind opening this beautiful place. Next trip we make up to Napa, we plan to visit his other winery, V. Sattui, as well as come back and explore Castello Di Amorosa again. “The castle of Love” shows exactly that. You can see how much work, attention to meticulous detail and love went into this winery to pay homage to Dario’s Italian heritage.
Dress | Reformation
Hat | Sensi Studio
Sunglasses | Raen
Sandals | Joie
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