Castle hotels Italy
How to become king or queen of your very own Italian castello—at least for a night or two—often for far less than the cost of a hotel
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It's true. It can cost less to shack up in your very own medieval Fortress of Solitude than it would to rent a bed in a flea-bitten backpacker hotel for the night. I've stayed in European castles for as little as $40—though $60 to $100 is more common.
Even full-bore luxury suites in seriously upscale chateaux, where the daily activities run toward quail hunting and falconry, tend to ring in around $140 to $300—which ain't bad, for a fairy tale night spent as the prince and princess, and these days is on a par with the price of a typical three– or four-star hotel.
Reid's favorite Italian castles
• Castello di Gargonza, Tuscany
• Castello Ripa d'Orcia, Tuscany
• Titignano, Umbria
• Montegridolfo, Le Marche
• Pergine, Trentino-Alto Adige
• Roccapacia, Umbria
• Schloss Labers, Trentino-Alto Adige
• Castel Rundegg, Trentino-Alto Adige
Why is it so many castles are open to the public? Truth is, there are few enough Lords of the Manor around these days to pay for the upkeep of these massive piles and keep them lived-in (old homes deteriorate rapidly when vacant).
So, tatterdemalion barons, and various preservation organizations have hit upon the perfect solution: preserve the buildings by renting them out.
So say arrivederci to modern America—even if only for a week or two—and bring your squires and ladies in waiting along to your very own Italian castello.
How to find castle-hotels in Italy
Castle and Palace Hotels (www.CastleandPalaceHotels.com) - Not the most complete, but by far the most user-friendly site, maintained by professional travel writer and guidebook author Pamela Barrus (always gotta give props to my colleagues). There are about two dozen hand-selected castles in Italy (and the same number in other European countries). The interface is quick and intuitive: Click on a country, click on a region, then click on a castle (or palatial hotel) to get a concise but info-packed single page on the property, complete with photographs, prices, direct contact info, brochure-like descriptions of the castle and its history, and a few choice words and tips on the hotel from Pamela herself. Other nice touches: basic intel on how castle hotels work in each country, useful phrases in each language for booking a room, information on holding weddings, etc. She also just has a good eye for castles. I've written about them myself—for guidebooks and magazine articles—so I know what's out there and can tell you that Pamela tends to pick some of the best.
icastelli.net (www.icastelli.net) - Nice, slick site from an Italy-based agency with more than 530 castles, manor houses, and other primo upscale hotels across Italy.
Relais & Chateaux (www.relaischateaux.com)- One of the granddaddies of refined luxury, an association with extremely high standards (and price tags) with more than 300 properties around the world, of which about 43 in Italy. Only a handful in Italy are actual castles, despite the name, but even the manor houses, palaces, mansions, historic villas, and regular hotels are of the utmost in comfort, quality, charm, history, and are usually really, really expensive.
Castles on the Web (www.castlesontheweb.com) - Bukoos links on the "Accommodations" page. Could do with some organization though: some are booking engines, some direct links, some hotel reservations services... still, most seem to at least hook you up with bona fide fortresses. Buggy linking system, though. Sad. Still: Happy hunting.
This material was last updated February 2011. All information was accurate at the time.
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