The Maremma is one of the Italian’s best kept secrets; wild mountains, untouched coastline, one of the most magnificent parks in the country, and superb food from land to sea are all at the foot of the Tuscan region. At the covered food market, Aurora has no grand plan but she knows what she wants when she sees it. Donning her fantastic purple sunglasses, she stuffs more bags than I could carry with fresh Maremman produce, and with one arm wrapped around a huge pumpkin, I watch her pass a discerning eye over the rest of the stalls.
We return to the property and Aurora immediately goes to her collection of cookbooks to find a recipe for the next day. She has about 8 recipes circulating in her head at any given time, always testing something new.
I take a long walk around the Vicarello vineyards, where three highly distinguished reds are produced, and a mosey through the orto, where I listen to the chickens gossiping. I find Aurora in the kitchen once again, reading the steps of a recipe for Damit to remember for the next day. Every meal is better than the last. Veal saltimbocca with carciofi and sage, cabbage rolls stuffed with the most divine meat mixed with a hint of parmigiano and herbs, fresh salmon and home-grown spinach… it goes on. One evening we dine with friends at a local, completely unassuming trattoria where the handwritten menu, dated at the bottom, is planned each evening by the female chef. I would gladly drive all the way to this rural trattoria for one more tortino di pecorino, tagliatelle carciofi e pesto di pistacchi, and pinci guanciale pecorino e fave. Once again, simplicity wins.
One should not leave Castello di Vicarello without spending ample time in the spa, built with wood shipped from Africa, surrounded by lavender, and encompassing an indescribable Tuscan view. Imagine a private yoga session overlooking miles of mountains and cypress trees. I cannot fathom a more serene way to begin the day. Aurora has found the area’s most talented yoga instructor, a wonderfully warm woman from South Africa who was looking for a more rural life in Tuscany. Even if I was not staring into a sea of Tuscan vineyards and wild Maremma hills, I would still say that this was one of the best yoga sessions I have experienced. A daily massage is highly recommended, or at least every two days, for once you experience the master hands of Aurora’s local masseuse, you will want to squeeze in as many sessions as possible during your stay.
Carlo and Aurora have designed the property so that guests truly feel at home, all the while being spoiled with every possible luxury one could hope to encounter on their Tuscan holiday. They have created something ‘senza parole;’ unique, transformational, an experience for all five senses in an aura of placidity. They have an impeccable eye both for the visual experience as well as the tangible, and they are quite a team. I hope that one day I find a partner in life who provides me with as much creative energy, spirit, and vigor as they provide each other.
I take one last bath in ‘My Tub,’ looking outside my window as if it is a moving picture. When I close my eyes, I see the mountains of the Maremma between Poggi del Sasso and Montalcino. In the future, I shall envision this view in my daydreams. For now, I relish the fact that Castello di Vicarello is a reality.