Authentic Italian Medieval Delight in Napa Valley: Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa is an architectural wonderland right in the middle of Napa Valley. Based on fourth generation winemaker Dario Sattui’s passion for medieval history, this replica of a 13th-century stone castle took approximately 15 years to construct—and every piece of it is built using authentic European materials. You can take a tour of the property, which sits on 171-acres and includes 107 guest rooms, wine tasting rooms, a main hall with huge murals and a 500-year old fireplace, plus a chapel, a courtyard, and a network of underground tunnels to explore.
By Andi Fisher, AFAR Local Expert
Wine Tasting in a Castle in Napa Valley, California
Castello di Amorosa is a winery I had heard a lot about but had not visited until just recently. It certainly made a big impression! I drove up the driveway, lined with cypress trees reminiscent of Tuscany's wine country, and then saw the huge castle, surrounded by vine-covered hills. It is 121,000 square feet, about 2/3 of which is underground, built into the hill, making the perfect place to store wine. The castle took 15 years to build using authentic materials from Europe. It is cold and sometimes dark inside, like a real castle, but the atmosphere is lively as the endless halls and rooms are filled with happy visitors on a tour or tasting wine. Besides the details of the castle itself, what impressed me was how open the winery is to the community and visitors. People were enjoying the beautiful grounds, from couples on a romantic getaway to families with kids. Several different tour options are available, from the briefer self-guided tour to the more extensive vineyard tour, and the winery is open every day except Christmas. The winery specializes in lovely Italian-style reds and has won many awards for their wines, including the recent gold in back-to-back years for the Gewurtztraminer Dry.
By Jenna Francisco, AFAR Local Expert
The Perfect Weekend in Napa
Regardless of whether you live on the east or west coast, a weekend getaway to Napa is a must for all wine-loving travelers. As a city slicker myself, I don’t own a car and since taking a Lyft or Uber from the city to the valley is quite expensive, consider renting a car, instead. That said, remember to get car insurance, as California's laws are fairly strict. Napa and Sonoma can technically be done in a day, but I suggest making a weekend getaway out of it. There are 400+ wineries in Napa alone, and 600 when you count Sonoma’s estates and thus, it can feel pretty overwhelming your first visit. Narrow down your options by doing some pre-trip research. If you’re a fan of a particular type of wine, say, Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay, aim to visit wineries that specialize in that variety. Another way to narrow down your winery list is to view each property as an attraction. For example, Castello di Amorosa is a 13th century Tuscan style castle. This might seem like a shock at first, but you’ll soon learn that while the castle is a relatively modern construction, it’s built with actual bricks from Italy and Austria. There’s even a torture chamber (don’t worry, it’s not actually in operation) nearby the wine cellar. If staying for the night, take advantage of the areas' collection of quaint bed & breakfasts, ranging from affordable to the ultimate in luxury.
By Megan Eileen McDonough, AFAR Local Expert
A Castle in Napa
An Italian renaissance castle in the heart of Napa Valley, Castello di Amorosa is a sweet spot to bring kids and get a taste of Europe. The castle was built from scratch by Dario Sattui, whose vision was to give a slice of Italian-style wines to the discerning Napa audience. The result is a marvelous medieval structure that is one part maze, one part authentic castle (complete with underground torture chamber). It's as close as you can get to Siena without leaving California. Wine tastings are available daily, and several footage and films have been shot here.
By Charu Suri
A Moment of Italy in California Wine Country
This is heading up the main drive of the winery/castle/winery Castello di Amorosa, and for a moment I felt like I was 20 years old again and in awe of the fact that I was living in Italy for a year and experiencing views such as this.
Castle in the Napa valley?
Yup, so that you do not need to travel to Europe to enjoy both wine and medieval castles. They built it trying to make it the least fake possible. If they succeeded, you decide. Includes wine tasting.
Wine Tasting at a California Castle
What do you do when you find yourself in the premiere wine tasting region of the United States and only have time to visit a single winery for a tasting? Let your hosts pick for you. Ours took us to a place renowned not only for its superb wines, but for its incredible architecture. Owned by vintner Dario Sattui, Castello di Amorosa has 8 levels (above and below ground), 107 rooms, and approximately 121,000 square feet. It even has a torture chamber with an “authentic,” $13,000 iron maiden torture device from Pienza, Italy. Experience your tasting inside the medieval-feeling castle, then spend time exploring its grounds. You won't be disappointed!
By Katie Gard
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