A Piece of Italy Near Home

September 20, 2009

I’m sitting here at my laptop completely exhausted from having started and half finished five different projects today.  Thank goodness for a good glass of red wine at day’s end.  I’ll be featuring some of these projects this week, but first I must share with you the final stop we made on our weekend getaway to Napa over the Labor Day holiday. 

I was fortunate enough (in my pre-baby lifetime) to have traveled to several different European countries.  Upon return, I always said that one of the nicest things about living in the Wine Country is how reminiscent it is of many of those European regions I’ve toured. In winter, Sonoma’s hills are so green, it’s like Ireland and Northern France.  In summer, the dry hills, vineyards, and countless wineries of Napa remind one of southern France or Tuscany. 

One such place that is sure to transport one to Italy is Castello di Amorosa in the Napa Valley. 

castle from afar

I’m always a little apprehensive when touring what some consider out-of-place attractions, for fear that they’ll be, for lack of a better term, theme parkish.  I didn’t get that feeling here.  This castle is an adult playground, and a guaranteed delight for any adventurous wannabe knight. 

Dario Sattui spent over $30 million and 15 years constructing this medieval castle in Calistoga.  It was just completed last year.  He paid such close attention to detail, and was so focused on authenticity, that he hired masons to shape every stone by hand.  The stones, timbers, and doors are all imported from Italy. 

Here’s a glimpse at this worthwhile stop, worthy of a movie set:

Entrance

castle entrance

Tower

castle tower

Valley views

castillo di amorosa

castle tower valley view

Fences

castle fence

castle fences 

Drawbridge

castle drawbridge

Corridors

castle tower corridor 

castle corridor 2

Doors

castle doors entrance

castle doors 

castle rear entrance

Great dining hall with inlay coffered ceiling and frescos

castle dining hall

mural room

Courtyard

castle courtyard entrance

 castle courtyard

 castle niche

castle well

castle trough

 

Tasting Room:

castle tasting room

castle wine storage

Castle friends:

castle friends

The corridors, hidden hallways, niches, and hideaways are too many to count.  There’s a dungeon and torture chamber on site as well.  The owner/builder/winemaker D. Sattui comes from a family of winemakers dating back to 1885.  At the castle, he specializes in Italian style wines, including pinot grigios and Tuscan blends. 

If you’re ever in the Napa Valley, Castello di Amorosa is a great place to spend an afternoon adventuring, exploring, and sampling wines and chocolates.  And it was the perfect last stop on our weekend getaway. 

More projects coming soon ! 

Happy blessed Sunday. 

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17 Responses to “A Piece of Italy Near Home”

  1. Pam says:

    That is awesome. I esp. love the shot of the purple flowers spilling over! Nice.
    Pam

  2. What a gorgeous place! I love the chickens and rooster {colorful guy} strolling the grounds.

  3. I enjoyed seeing this so much. Thanks for taking us there!

  4. Kate, thank you so much for taking us on this little tour. Now I know I need to convince T to travel to Cali wine country. :) Most of Western Europe ranks at the top of my travel favorites list, and your photos looked like they came straight out of one of my old scrapbooks. ;)

    The great dining hall is fabulous, and the tasting room reminded me a bit of the castle in Heidelberg. :)

    Fun post, my friend!

  5. What a stunning place! I love the chickens meandering around the place – how funny!

  6. Marty says:

    We’ve been to Nappa many times, but we missed this one. Such a great place. It looks so interesting and the details of the castle are just wonderful. I’m sure you had a great time. Hugs, Marty

  7. Wow, so lovely. I have been there only once before and did not get to visit here! Just another reason to return. Seems absolutely wonderful. =)

  8. ghazal says:

    oh my, what a gorgeous place. i must agree with you about the europeanesque feel of the place. i often daydream of my visits to switzerland, southern france, monaco and england … their architecture and pebbled stone walkways make you feel as though you are living in another lifetime. this place seems to grab that sense of richness. thanks for sharing and enlightening :)

    it’s on the “must go” list!

  9. Who knew you could find a little piece of Italy in Napa Valley! That is a gorgeous castle and it’s not too far from where I live! Thanks for sharing

  10. Wow! I thought going on the tour of Hearst Castle in San Simeon was great. This looks like another one of those places that goes on the “definitely going there list”. I said I would love to
    see more places in that area and you delivered. Awesome pictures!

  11. Sue says:

    I had no idea there was such a place. I can just imagine sitting in that courtyard, sipping wine and looking at the gorgeous flowers. You really did have the perfect getaway, and I’m glad you took your camera!

  12. Corinna says:

    thats where my husband and I went the day we got engaged! :) Wonderful memories there. Did you go down into the torture chamber?

  13. Claudia says:

    I SO want to go there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Brandi says:

    Seriously? This place is in Napa Valley? I wonder how far that is from me (I haven’t learned my distances in CA yet). I think I need to go on a bit of a weekend trip out there…

    I love your blog. I’m over from SITS — Happy SITS Day! (btw)
    And I’ve totally added your feed to my Google Reader. I will be back for sure!

  15. Lynn says:

    I am so freaking jealous. This place is gorgeous. I need to get out more!

  16. Lynn says:

    p.s. I’m here from SITS, too. Congrats again on your feature!

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