Where to Stay in Tuscany: A 10th-Century Castle For Less Than $175/night

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Photo Credit: Dixon Kwok

  • Live out your fairytale fantasy and enjoy an affordable and luxurious stay in an AUTHENTIC 10th-century Tuscan castle with modern amenities
  • You’ll drive through a drawbridge to enter the castle (how many hotels let you do this?  This alone was an exciting experience)
  • The castle is situated in Poggibonsi, a town in Siena, Tuscany, which makes a great home base for exploring the most beautiful and iconic parts of the Tuscan countryside: San Gimignano, Chianti wine region, Pienza, Val d’Orchia, Montepulciano, etc.

 


Where:

In the province of Poggibonsi, located in Siena, Tuscany


Getting there:

From Florence, it’s about an hour drive.  We rented a car because we wanted to freely explore the Tuscan countryside on our own schedule.  I highly recommend this option, but if you’re not keen on driving, your other options are:

TAXI: A taxi ride from Florence will cost you approx. $115-$150 each way.

TRAIN: Catch the train from Firenze S. M. Novella station to Poggibonsi-San Gimignano for about $10-$15 each way, then either drive or catch a taxi directly to the castle.

BUS: Ride the bus from Stazione Leopolda to Poggibonsi F.S. for about $3-$6 each way, then either drive or catch a taxi directly to the castle.


Cost:

There are a total of 5 rooms being rented out throughout the castle and they range from $119-$150ish a night.

I found this place and booked it via Airbnb.

The cost of our room was $146/night excluding fees:

$145.96 × 4 nights: $583.84
Cleaning fees: $23.35
Service fee: $84.40
Total: $691.59

Total: $172.89/night including all taxes, service and cleaning fees.

Cost per traveler
This trip was $86.45 per person, per night, including taxes and other fees.

The view from our room

Good to know before you go:

  • There are a total of FIVE rooms for rent in the castle
    There is also a pool, but expect to share it and the castle grounds with the other guests.
    We never had a privacy issue during our stay and the pool was never crowded (we even had days when we had the entire pool to ourselves!)

    • Some rooms have a shared courtyard, others have a private seating area or a stone balcony.
      Just ask the host for details if you’re looking for something specific.
      Overall, it definitely felt more exclusive than other boutique hotels we’ve stayed at.
  • Excellent onsite host
    The owner/host of the castle lives on the property and was always available for us
  • Renting a small car is highly recommended
    There is free parking on the castle grounds, but note that you’ll have to enter through the drawbridge so renting a car is highly recommended.  The more compact, the better.
  • Enjoy the local town
    You can walk to town but there is a long and pretty steep hill that will take you about 20 minutes each way (the host suggested we drive to the bottom of the hill to park our car and the town is only a 10-minute walk from there).  There are fantastic places to eat and small shops that you can check out.
  • Interesting history
    This castle was built in 998 and was once a Benedictine Monastery.  If you’re a history buff, ask for a short tour!
  • Breakfast is NOT included
    …but you can easily head to the local market to pick up light groceries.  We got yogurt, eggs, fruit etc.  Our host left us Italian espresso and a Moka pot to make our own coffee.  We had no problem making breakfast, sitting outside and enjoying a beautiful and slow morning at the castle.
  • Ideal for couples, great for solo travelers and pairs, and maybe a family of 3
    …but I wouldn’t recommend staying here if you have children under 5 because there are steep stone steps all around the castle and an open-air swimming pool.
  • This is a great place to stay if you’re looking for something that feels more romantic, relaxing, and exclusive 
    There are plenty of seating areas and tables where you can sit outside, have dinner, enjoy the gorgeous views, and drink wine poolside (obviously, if you’re going to do this, it’s always a good idea to ask the host first but I don’t think he will mind as long as you’re respectful and you clean up after yourself)
  • LGBTQ friendly
  • Booking with friends or family? 
    Let the host know ahead of time so you can book adjacent rooms and share a courtyard or patio
The drawbridge you’ll drive through to enter the castle

 

Parking area

what’s nearby…

  • COOP SUPERMARKET: stock up on essentials and be sure to grab some of the finest local specialties: cheeses, wine, bread, fruits, cured meats, etc.  What I love about COOP is that they have an amazing selection of ready-to-eat food that you can easily warm up at your Airbnb.
    We found farmer fresh produce, gourmet pasta sauces, freshly made pasta, a large variety of artisanal pizzas, picnic-ready sandwiches, a wide array of cured meats and cheeses, and of course WINE!

    • POGGIBONSI OLD TOWN: We had dinner at two local restaurants in Poggibonsi and had a wonderful experience: I Love You and Antica Osteria di Bazzino (if you’re a meat eater, try their Chianina steak!)
    • SAN GIMIGNANO:  Only 20 minutes away from the castle!  This is a popular town and is a great place to explore, shop, take photos and grab a fantastic meal (ask the host for his suggestions!)


the good…

  • beautiful castle grounds
  • serene, romantic, and feels exclusive
  • fantastic on-site host
  • free parking
  • local town has fantastic places to eat (the host, Nicola, has fantastic recommendations)
  • makes a great home base:
  • 30-minute drive (30 km) to Siena region (a medieval city)
  • 22-minute drive (13 km) to San Gimignano (a popular medieval hilltop town)
  • 1 hr 30 min (85-90 km) drive to Val d’Orcia and Montepulciano region (where you’ll find that quintessential image of Tuscany that you’ve probably seen on postcards and calendars)
  • interesting history – if you’re interested, ask Nicola to give you a short tour of the castle!
  • strong air-conditioning
  • free wifi (pretty good connection but we did deal with intermittence once or twice – all we did was reboot it and we had no further issues)
  • it did NOT feel stuffy at all (I feel the need to point that out since it IS a 10th-century castle)
Our side of the courtyard.  We enjoyed having breakfast here (the other side was used by guests staying at the flat next door)

Pool and general lounge area for all guests.  See that tower?  You can rent that out, too!  See my links below.

the not-so-good…

  • the bed was a bit firm for my taste but I still slept well (it wasn’t as big of a deal for us especially after a couple of glasses of wine :))
  • I would’ve loved some extra pillows
  • our room (Lemonaia) had a small bathroom with a standard Euro corner shower stall.  Maybe I’m just not used to these shower stalls, but I found ours a bit tight and I bumped my elbow a couple times.  I did get a short tour of the other room (the Verona) and the shower was MUCH bigger than ours
  • it IS a 10th-century castle with modern amenities but just keep in mind that it’s not a five-star hotel, so don’t be alarmed to see rusty door locks or a little water seeping through the door cracks when it rains

overall…

For the cost, I personally think this place is a steal.  Staying in this beautiful castle is definitely something worth experiencing.  How often do you get to stay in an authentic castle in Europe?  And drive through a drawbridge?  And drink wine poolside while eating grapes off the vines?

The owner, Nicola, is making gradual improvements to the rooms so HURRY and book before rates go up!

P.S. – We originally booked for 3 nights and we enjoyed it so much we decided to stay another night (thankfully, our room was still available).


TRAVELIZZA rating:
8.5/10

Would I stay here again?

Yes!


 

Ready to book?  Check out the Airbnb listings below.

If this is your first Airbnb experience, you can get $40 off here – you’ll get $40 off, I’ll receive a $20 credit:

Once you claim your $40 off discount, you’re ready to book!  This is the link to the exact room we stayed at:

Other rooms for rent:

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