During the Renaissance, this region of Tuscany was at the heart of where intellect and art were flourishing and where the world’s greatest minds came together. Centuries later, it remains a place where people come to experience many cultural activities. This is where the only privately sponsored archaeological dig in Italy is held, as well as numerous events revolving around music and art. Monteverdi Tuscany is a place of beauty, wonder, and inspiration, all rooted in centuries-old history that still impacts and excites people today.
Mood of Living Q&A
Mood of Living: What is the story of the people behind your community and environment? Who are the designers and owners involved in different aspects of the hotel?
Monteverdi Tuscany: Michael Cioffi, an American lawyer, is the owner and founder of Monteverdi. He stumbled upon Castiglioncello del Trinoro while visiting Italy for an extended vacation and fell in love with the hamlet. Working with local craftsmen, Ilaria Miani, a Rome-based designer with a passion for restoring, renovating and breathing life to ancient properties, has had a hand in all of the property, including the villas, the hotel and the dining venues.
MoL: What does a typical visit to the hotel look like?
MT: The perfect visit is at least five days. This gives you time to visit Montalcino, catching the monks chanting their prayers at Sant’ Antimo Abbey, having lunch at Il Lecco and enjoying a wine tasting. Another day could be spent in Pienza, visiting the tremendous cheese shops. and Montepulciano, enjoying a tour of San Biagio, and having lunch at La Grotta. A must for the third day is touring the gardens at La Foce, and enjoy a wine tasting at Valdipiatta. By day four, you simply must relax poolside at Monteverdi and then enjoy a couple’s massage in the spa followed by a relaxing dinner at Oreade, our fine dining restaurant. On the final day, I would suggest hiking in the Val d’Orcia, taking a private culinary lesson, enjoying cocktails on the terrace at the Library Bar, and catching a performance during the jazz festival.
MoL:: What sorts of visitors does your place attract? Do people stay for a long time and attend art classes?
MT: Although the majority of our guests come from the US and Britain, we have guests visit from all throughout the world, including Australia, China, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates. We have had guests visit the hotel for a single night or villas guests that have stayed for 3 weeks, doing many interesting things. We have not offered art classes yet but we’ve certainly had seminars with numerous artists.
MoL: Is it better to visit in the summer when the jazz festival is going on?
MT: There is never a bad time to visit Castiglioncello. Even when the weather isn’t perfect, the area is stunning and can be enjoyable when there are less visitors. Of course, the ideal time to visit is the summer in order to participate in the Incontri music festival or the Sarteano Jazz & Blues Festival. Monteverdi is ideally located between Rome and Florence, so if your interest is a music festival, our concierges can almost always find a live performance for you to take in!
MoL: If you were to visit in the fall, what would be different?
MT: The pace slows in the fall. The crowds thin out, the leaves change colors. Truffle hunting is available in the fall, along with olive harvesting.
MoL: How would you describe the nature around?
MT: Nature is plentiful in the Val d’Orcia region. The view from Castiglioncello is spectacular but different in each direction. One view is of the beach forest of Pietraporciana; another view is the Val d’Orcia, Monte Cetona and Monte Amiata. Beyond the view, it is just as spectacular to hike in the forest, or drive down into the valley and follow the dirt roads and visit the farms. It’s an untouched beauty.
MoL: What are the predominant scents of the area?
MT: Pure. The forest is piney, the farms in the Val d’Orcia have their own unique aroma, the lavender garden is intoxicating in the summer. The air meditative.
MoL: What is it like taking a walk around the valley?
MT: It is invigorating to walk in the valley. Each hike is different. One can occasionally be delayed by sheep crossing the road, boar in the distance (thankfully), and lizards running from feet.
MoL: You offer both an art gallery and an artists in residence program. How do you incorporate them into the hotel?
MT: The Monteverdi Gallery is in Castiglioncello and is just steps away from the hotel and villas. In 2014, we were pleased to have 2 different exhibitions: Songs Without Words (a collection of various artists) and the works of Sanya Kantarovsky. Those exhibitions are more fully described on our website. Our curator is Sarah McCrory and she is responsible for both the exhibitions at the gallery and the artist and scholars-in-residence programs. 2015’s program began in April with two residencies: LV Peng, a Chinese artist; and Andrea Chiesi, an Italian artist. Sir John Eliot Gardiner also returned in July of that year.
MoL: Do you have a winery that you use for your wine tasting? Is there something special about the wine experience that you would like to share?
MT: Two of our favorite wineries are Valdipiatta, owned by Giulio and Miriam Caporali, which produces an amazing Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and Tenuta di Trinoro, owned by Andrea Franchetti, who is a bit of a rockstar in the wine industry.
MoL: Do you have any pictures of your food you would like to share with us?
MT: I’d be happy to share photos of our food, they are mouthwatering. We are proud to have Giancarla Bodoni as our executive chef. The dining experience at Oreade is world-class.
MoL: Where do you get your food from? Is it organic?
MT: Monteverdi is in a very rich agricultural area and our goal is to bring the best ingredients from the area to our guest’s table. We use the olive oil produce from the historic La Foce gardens. Our approach is to provide seasonally and regionally sourced food wherever possible.
MoL: What special experiences can visitors get from the food at Monteverdi?
MI: We offer 3 unique dining venues. Our fine dining restaurant is outstanding, including the carefully selected wine. Each course is superb. It is an experience– not a meal. The Enoteca is a casual wine bar featuring 32 Italian wines by the glass, perfectly preserved in the state-of-the-art, stainless steel Enomaticdispensers. In 2015, we hosted leading winemakers in Tuscany for a wine seminar each Wednesday throughout the summer. The Enoteca also offers lunch. In addition to a wide selection of cocktails, the Library Bar’s outdoor terrace is the perfect place for watching the sunset.
MoL: What inspires you most about this place? How do you experience the hotel?
MT: Its beauty really is unmatched. There is a sense of time standing still, immune to the chaos and demands we all face daily, and enveloping you in its cocoon, offering you respite, even if only for a few days.
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Website: Monteverdi Tuscany