We decided to spend one day touring a few of the local castles that had wineries. We were so fortunate to have yet another lovely fall day as we made our way towards Gaiole, just a short drive away from Radda.
Our first stop was Castello di Meleto and we were just in time to catch a tour of the castle. The ticket price includes a session of wine tasting following the tour. http://www.castellomeleto.it/eng/farm/farm.php
A legend of the grounds…
This is a rendering of the Castello di Meleto
There was a really neat map of the region painted on the wall in one room…
At the bottom along the chair rail is Siena…
Artists would appreciate the trompe l’oeil paintings throughout the building.
Old window glass!
What an elaborate mantle piece!
The faux marbling is echoed down the chain of doors
Their private chapel room
The dining room
The family’s private theater is really amazing with numerous backdrop options
And modern wannabe actors can test out the accoustics and get a great photo op
Time for some wine tasting!
All of their wines were good and the group that took the tour with us had made advance arrangements for a food pairing tasting, so they got to eat and drink.
On the way back to our car for our next destination.
Our next stop was the Brolio Castle, perched high on top of a hill a short drive away.
We parked at the bottom across from their restaurant, not knowing there was a parking area at the TOP of the hill at the castle gate (along with restrooms). So we got a good vertical hike along the way up this nice cobblestone path.
Brolio is more of what you would think of as a medieval fortress on the hill. I would highly recommend a visit here and plan on several hours. Their winery is at the foot of the hill, so do that AFTER your castle tour.
We got tickets for the outer grounds of the castle only, but you can tour the interior also. Inside the castle walls…
This little chapel sits in the inner courtyard and seems very plain from the outside.
Here’s the history of the Chapel of Saint JacobThis is just a sample of the mosaic splendor that lies inside…
Tiny mosaic tiles form the artistry of the chapel
I could have stared at some of the scenes for quite a while – they seem to glow with life.
Back outside in the courtyard, the castle walls loom above.
View from one corner watchtower over the countryside.
Looking towards Siena with the gardens below.
The panoramic views from this vast terrace were really amazing
This little guy was sunning himself on the wall and disappeared back into his hole after a bit.
We returned to Radda hungry and decided to try the restaurant opposite the main entrance to Radda.
La Cantina di Colle Bereto has a patio seating area outside that is nice to watch traffic and people coming and going. Some days there are merchants set up in the adjacent part of the road that is next to the park. A produce merchant was there one day we came by with fresh produce and nuts.
We ordered a “starter” of brushetta with tomato and basil..
I had lasagne, which was very tasty…
And Wally had a ravioli dish which I sampled also and was good.
Their indoor seating had this neat table and tree trunk stools
Time for a nap!