Wedding venue in Tuscany with accommodation

Nicole e Rolf

Searching for the right wedding venue in Tuscany, for the most important day of your life, is one of the first thing to do when you decide to get married. Castello di Gargonza, a medieval Village castle, in the central part of Tuscany, not far from Siena and Arezzo, is the perfect location for a catholic or civil wedding ceremony in Tuscany, a top wedding venue for your wedding in Tuscany.

Castello di Gargonza offers rooms and apartments for your stay with your family and friends so all your requests will be satisfied leaving you free to enjoy this special occasion. We can accommodate up to 100 people. It is privately owned and privately managed both for the accommodation and most important for the catering of your wedding. 

We have had the pleasure to work for and with incredible vendors coordinated and planned by Sara Barni founder of Floé weddings. We would like to share with you the wonderful wedding weekend of Nicole & Rolf who have decided to get married in Gargonza. Thank you very much!  

A welcome dinner was organized in one of our gardens, facing a peaceful forest which surrounds Gargonza. The next day a symbolic ceremony was organized inside the village with beautiful flowers. A congratulation cocktail was set in our Lemon Garden facing the medieval tower. Dinner and dancing were set in the terrace of our restaurant with amazing lights for both the dinner and the DJ set. Wedding cake was made live for our bride and groom and a super dancing with DJ and live sax with incredible lights created an unforgettable wedding party. 

Thanks to
Nicole & Rolf for sharing their special moments- @nicoledao @ieuter_rolf
Sara and her staff for an amazing planning @floeweddings
Flowers and decoration by Stiatti Fiori-  @stiattifioriflowers @stiatti_fiori_
The memorable journey was captured by Aberrazioni Cromatiche @Aberrazionicromatichestudio @aberrazioni_cromatiche_studio
Hairstyle and makeup The Porfirio (Barbara Corso) @theporfirio_
Lighting and amplification Wedding Music and Lights @weddingmusicandlights
Stationery Pink Ink Studio @pinkinkstudio.it
Wedding Cake Arte Dolce di Stefano Lorenzoni @artedolcedistefanolorenzoni @stefano.lorenzoni
Dj Stefano Nannicini @stefano.nannicini.dj
Sax Stefano Bresciani @stefanobresciani1981
Band Train Jazz Band @TrainJazzBand @trainjazzband
Harp&Violin Annalisa de Santis @annalisarpa
Voice&Guitar Welcome event Gin Sonic @gin_sonic_
Rentals Preludio Noleggi @preludionoleggi @preludiodivisionenoleggio
Bridal dress Jane Hill Bridal @janehillbridal
Bridal shoes Loeffler Randal @LoefflerRandall
Wedding rings Ring Concierge @ringconcierge
Wedding rings Cartier @Cartier
Groom’s outfit Suit Supply @suitsupply
Groom’s shoes To Boot Ny @tobootnewyork
Parfum Jo Malone @JoMaloneLondon

Food and wine experiences in Tuscany: Vineyard tours and tastings

fodd and wine experience in Tuscany

What are the enogastronomic itineraries?

Enogastronomic itineraries are routes that allow you to discover and appreciate the culinary and wine traditions of a specific region or territory.

These paths offer the opportunity to visit farms, wineries, olive oil mills, and other production facilities where you can taste and purchase local products.

Furthermore, during these itineraries, you can participate in guided tastings, cooking classes, visits to markets, and enogastronomic festivals, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the culture and history of the area. Enogastronomic itineraries represent a unique opportunity to know and appreciate the quality and authenticity of local products, as well as to have an unforgettable experience in the world of gastronomy.

2-Day Enogastronomic Tour in Tuscany

A two-day enogastronomic tour in Tuscany is a breathtaking culinary and wine experience. During these two days, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in Tuscan enogastronomic culture, visiting renowned wineries and tasting some of the world’s finest wines.

You will also have the chance to savor traditional Tuscan dishes such as ribollita, bistecca alla fiorentina, and pappa al pomodoro. You can explore charming Tuscan cities and villages like Florence, Siena, and San Gimignano, offering a perfect blend of art, history, and culinary delights. This two-day enogastronomic tour in Tuscany will leave you with unforgettable memories and a deep understanding of the culinary and wine richness of the region.

Culinary Experiences in Tuscany

Enter the picturesque landscapes of Tuscany, where gentle hills are adorned with vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see. In this idyllic setting, a gastronomic adventure awaits you.

Tuscany, renowned for its rich culinary heritage, has long been a mecca for enogastronomy enthusiasts. The region boasts a series of vineyards producing some of the world’s best wines, from the prestigious Chianti Classico to the robust Brunello di Montalcino, showcasing the passion and dedication of its winemakers.

But exploring Tuscan vineyards is not just about sipping wine; it’s a sensory experience immersing you in the heart of Italian culture. The vineyards provide a wonderful backdrop for a leisurely stroll, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Tuscan countryside while learning about the winemaking process.

In each vineyard, you’ll have the opportunity to delight your palate with tastings of exquisite wines produced on-site. Guided by expert sommeliers, you’ll learn to appreciate the nuances and complexity of each sip, from delicate notes of fruit and flowers to subtle hints of oak and spices. These tastings open the door to discovering the artistic skill involved in creating the perfect bottle of wine.

Traditional Tuscan Pairings: Exploring the Classics

When it comes to traditional Tuscan pairings, there are some classic combinations that have stood the test of time.

One such pairing is the marriage of Chianti Classico and bistecca alla fiorentina, a delicious Florentine-style steak. The bold flavors of the steak complement the robust and fruity notes of Chianti Classico, creating a harmonious balance on the palate.

Another classic pairing is pecorino cheese with Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Pecorino, a sheep’s milk cheese with a rich and spicy flavor, pairs beautifully with the crisp and refreshing Vernaccia wine. The creamy texture of the cheese is enhanced by the citrusy nuances of the wine, creating a delightful combination that is both indulgent and refreshing.

No exploration of traditional Tuscan pairings would be complete without mentioning Vin Santo and cantucci. Vin Santo, a sweet dessert wine made from dried grapes, is often enjoyed alongside cantucci, almond biscuits. The hazelnut flavors of cantucci complement the honeyed sweetness of Vin Santo, making it the perfect finale for any Tuscan meal.

Wine Pairings: Unlocking the Perfect Match

While traditional pairings maintain their charm, there is also an opportunity to explore beyond these classics and unlock new flavor combinations.

When it comes to wine pairings in Tuscany, you can never go wrong with Vermentino paired with seafood dishes. The sparkling acidity and mineral notes of Vermentino cut through the richness of grilled shrimp or spaghetti alle vongole (clam pasta), creating a refreshing contrast on your palate.

For something heartier, try pairing a bold and full-bodied Super Tuscan wine with a rich and savory dish like wild boar ragu. The robust flavors of the wine stand up to the wild flavors of the boar, creating a perfect match for the cuisine.

For those with a sweet tooth, Moscato d’Asti is the perfect companion to desserts like panforte or ricciarelli. The light and effervescent nature of Moscato d’Asti balances the richness of these sweet delicacies, leaving you with a harmonious combination that satisfies your cravings.

Beyond Tuscany: Global Influences and Fusion Pairings

While Tuscan wines are undoubtedly exceptional on their own, they also lend themselves well to fusion pairings that incorporate global flavors.

An example is pairing Sangiovese with sushi: the bright acidity and red fruit notes of Sangiovese complement the delicate flavors of sushi, creating an unexpected but delicious combination.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try pairing a bold Tuscan red like Brunello di Montalcino with spicy Indian curry. The wine’s tannins help temper the heat of the curry, while the complex flavors of both elements create a palate-explosive taste experience.

Finally, for those who prefer vegetarian options, a crisp and aromatic white wine like Vernaccia di San Gimignano pairs beautifully with dishes like caprese salad or vegetable risotto. The fresh and herbaceous notes of Vernaccia enhance the natural flavors of the vegetables, creating a light and refreshing pairing, perfect for summer dinners.
In Tuscan vineyards, culinary delights abound. From traditional pairings that have stood the test of time to innovative fusion combinations pushing boundaries, the world of Tuscan wine tastings offers something for every palate.

Sports in the castle: what were medieval tournaments like?

com'erano gli sport e i tornei medievali che si tenevano nei castelli di una volta

The medieval castle, with its imposing walls and hidden passages, encapsulates a myriad of stories within its ancient stones.
When we think of these magnificent structures, stories of knights in shining armor, epic battles, and grand feasts often come to mind.
But amidst all the chivalry and warfare, there was also room for some old-fashioned athletic activities.

The Medieval Tournament: A Display of Skill and Courage

The medieval tournament was a captivating spectacle that showcased the impressive skills and unwavering courage of knights. These events took place in large castles, where participants engaged in various competitions to demonstrate their expertise in combat, horseback riding, and archery.

Organized by noble lords, tournaments attracted large crowds eagerly watching knights clad in sparkling armor as they competed with lances, showcasing their strength and agility. The tournament was not just a display of physical prowess; it also required strategic thinking and quick reflexes. Knights competed in skillful equestrian games, such as jousting, where they aimed to hit a target while riding at high speeds.

These tournaments were not simple competitions; they were also social gatherings that brought people from all walks of life together. Spectators cheered for and applauded their favorite knights, enjoying the spectacle while indulging in delicious food and beverages.

The medieval tournament was a test of skill, valor, and honor. It celebrated the ideals of chivalry and provided entertainment for both participants and spectators.

What Was the Medieval Joust: The Highlight of Every Tournament

The joust was undoubtedly the highlight of every medieval tournament. This iconic competition showcased the courage, skill, and strength of knights as they charged at each other on horseback. The goal was simple: unhorse the opponent with a single blow.

As the crowd held its breath, knights prepared for their moment of glory.
Clad in sparkling armor and adorned with the colors of their house, they mounted their powerful steeds. The tension in the air was palpable as they positioned themselves at opposite ends of the jousting field.

The clash was inevitable, and when it came, it was a sight to behold. Victory belonged to the knight who remained firmly seated in the saddle while the opponent tumbled to the ground – a moment that could define a knight’s reputation and honor.

The joust continued until a knight emerged victorious or until both combatants had exhausted their supply of lances. It was not uncommon for knights to engage in multiple rounds or even participate in team tournaments where several knights competed against each other.

Beyond the Combat: The Splendor and Entertainment of Tournaments

Medieval tournaments were not just about the fights themselves, they were grand spectacles that offered a myriad of entertainment for both participants and spectators. These events were an opportunity for knights to showcase their skills, but they also provided a platform for nobles to display their wealth and power.

Musicians played lively tunes, adding to the festive atmosphere. Colorful banners fluttered in the wind, representing noble houses and knights from every part of the world. The tournament field transformed into a lively market where merchants set up stalls selling all kinds of goods: from jewelry to finely crafted armor, there was something for every taste. Street vendors also offered delights such as roasted meats, cakes, and pastries – somewhat akin to today’s street food.

Entertainers roamed the gardens, captivating the audience with their performances. Jugglers showcased their dexterity by juggling knives or flaming torches. Acrobats amazed spectators with daring somersaults and flips. In addition to these diversions, tournaments often featured mock battles or reenactments of famous historical events. These displays allowed knights to demonstrate their skills in various combat scenarios, providing entertainment for the crowd.

The splendor and glamour extended beyond the tournament field itself. Banquets were held in honor of visiting nobles or victorious knights. These sumptuous feasts showcased the wealth and hospitality of the host, with an abundance of food, wine, and entertainment.

The Role of Tournaments in Medieval Society: Nobility and Common Folk

Medieval tournaments played a significant role in the social fabric of society, both for the nobility and the common people.
For the nobility, tournaments were an opportunity to showcase their wealth, power, and chivalry. Tournaments allowed them to display their heraldic achievements through banners, crests, and heraldry. Moreover, participation in tournaments also provided knights with the chance to form alliances or resolve disputes through combat. It was not uncommon for rivalries between noble houses or individual knights to be settled on the tournament field rather than through open warfare.

The common folk also played a crucial role in medieval tournaments. They served as spectators, contributing to the atmosphere with their applause and cheers. For many peasants and citizens who rarely had access to such grand spectacles, tournaments offered a rare opportunity for entertainment and diversion from their daily lives.

Tournaments often attracted large crowds from the surrounding areas, camping near the tournament fields.
This created a festive atmosphere similar to a fair or festival where people could socialize, exchange goods, and engage in various forms of entertainment.

In some cases, common folk even directly participated in tournaments as combatants or part of the support staff. They could serve as squires, assisting knights with their armor and weapons, or as attendants, ensuring the smooth conduct of the event.

Medieval tournaments continue to captivate our imagination centuries later.
Their timeless allure lies in their ability to transport us back in time to an era full of chivalry, splendor, and epic battles.

Discover our Tuscan culinary traditions

which are tuscany culinary traditions?

Tuscany, a region known for its breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage, is also celebrated for its gastronomic delights that have stood the test of time. From the gentle hills of Chianti to the iconic city of Florence, Tuscan culinary traditions have captivated palates for centuries, enchanting both locals and visitors alike.

As you wander through the picturesque streets of Tuscany, it becomes evident that food is more than nourishment; it is a way of life. Tuscan culinary traditions are deeply rooted in the region’s history, reflecting the simplicity and authenticity that define Tuscan lifestyle. From the philosophy of “from farm to table” to the preservation of centuries-old recipes, locals honor their culinary heritage with unwavering dedication.

One cannot speak of Tuscan cuisine without mentioning the heavenly combination of fresh, high-quality ingredients and exquisite flavors. Tuscan extra virgin olive oil, famous worldwide for its distinctive taste, is the cornerstone of many dishes, adding a golden touch to everything from bruschetta to ribollita. Earthy herbs like rosemary and sage infuse traditional stews and roasted meats with a fragrant aroma that immediately transports you to the heart of Tuscany. And let’s not forget pecorino, a beloved staple in Tuscan kitchens, imparting its sharp and savory notes to pasta dishes and salads.

The “From Farm to Table” Philosophy: Honoring Tuscan Culinary Heritage

The “from farm to table” philosophy lies at the heart of Tuscan culinary traditions, embodying the region’s commitment to using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The people of this region hold a deep respect for the land and its generosity, honoring their culinary heritage by preserving traditional farming practices.

When you sit down to savor a meal in Tuscany, you can be certain that the ingredients on your plate have been carefully cultivated or raised. Farmers in this region prioritize quality over quantity, focusing on sustainable agricultural methods that protect the environment and ensure the highest level of flavor. From juicy tomatoes full of sweetness to tender cuts of pasture-raised meat, each bite tells a story of dedication and passion.

An iconic example of the “from farm to table” philosophy in Tuscan cuisine is ribollita: a hearty vegetable soup made with leftover bread and seasonal vegetables. This dish originated as a way for farmers to consume stale bread and make the most of their harvest. Today, it has become a beloved dish on Tuscan tables, showcasing the resourcefulness and creativity at the core of this culinary tradition.

Tuscans not only support local farmers but also preserve centuries-old recipes passed down from generation to generation. Each dish tells a story of tradition and connection to the land, allowing visitors to experience Tuscan culture through their taste buds.

Tuscan Extra Virgin Olive Oil: The Golden Elixir of Tuscan Cuisine

No discussion of Tuscan culinary traditions would be complete without mentioning one of its most prized ingredients: extra virgin olive oil. Known as “liquid gold,” Tuscan olive oil is renowned worldwide for its exceptional quality and distinct flavor.

The olive trees dotting the Tuscan landscape have been cultivated for centuries, with some olive groves dating back to Roman times. The region’s unique climate and fertile soil create perfect conditions for olive cultivation, resulting in an oil rich in flavor and low in acidity.

Tuscan olive oil is characterized by its vibrant green color, fruity aroma, and peppery finish. It adds depth and complexity to a wide range of dishes, from simple bruschetta to elaborate pasta sauces. As a finishing touch drizzled on grilled vegetables, a good steak, or a rustic soup, it is perfect for elevating your culinary creations.

When visiting Tuscany, be sure to visit an olive oil mill or participate in a tasting experience to fully appreciate the nuances of this golden elixir. You’ll learn about the various olive varieties used in production, the pressing process, and how to discern the quality of the oil based on its taste and aroma.

Pecorino: The Beloved Staple of Tuscan Cuisine

Pecorino holds a special place in Tuscan culinary tradition. Produced with sheep’s milk, this hard cheese has a distinctive sharpness that adds depth of flavor to many Tuscan dishes.

Throughout history, shepherding has been an integral part of Tuscan agriculture. The abundance of herbs and wild plants in the region contributes to the unique taste of pecorino cheese. As the sheep graze on these aromatic plants, their milk absorbs the flavors, giving rise to a cheese with earthy nuances.

Pecorino is used in various ways in Tuscan cuisine. Grated over pasta dishes like pici or pappardelle, it imparts a salty richness that enhances the overall aromatic profile. It can also be enjoyed on its own, paired with a glass of Tuscan wine and some crusty bread.

When exploring local markets or specialty food shops in Tuscany, be sure to seek out different varieties of pecorino. From young and delicate to aged and crumbly, each type offers a unique tasting experience that showcases the versatility and complexity of this beloved cheese.

Regional Specialties of Chianti

The Chianti region is synonymous with exceptional wine, but it is also home to a variety of culinary delights that reflect the unique terroir of this area. From hearty stews to delicate pastries, Chianti’s regional specialties highlight the diverse flavors and ingredients found in Tuscan cuisine.

An iconic dish of this region is bistecca alla fiorentina, a thick-cut T-bone steak grilled over an open flame. The meat used for this dish comes from locally raised Chianina cattle, known for their tender and flavorful meat. It is simply seasoned with salt, pepper, and olive oil before being cooked to perfection. The result is a juicy steak with a charred exterior that captures the essence of Tuscan cuisine, often accompanied by beans all’uccelletto, roasted potatoes, Tuscan kale, or oven-roasted vegetables.

In addition to savory dishes, Chianti is also known for its sweets. Cantucci are almond biscuits traditionally served alongside Vin Santo, a sweet dessert wine. These crunchy biscuits are perfect for dipping into the amber-colored wine, creating a harmonious balance of flavors.

Exploring Chianti’s regional specialties allows you to immerse yourself in the culinary traditions that have shaped this part of Tuscany. Whether you’re savoring a bowl of ribollita or indulging in a slice of panforte, each bite tells a story of tradition and passion.

Pairing Food with Wine in Tuscany

No journey through Tuscan culinary traditions would be complete without exploring the art of wine pairing. Tuscany is home to some of Italy’s most renowned wines, and the right pairing can elevate your culinary experience to new heights.

When it comes to red wine, Sangiovese takes center stage in Tuscany. This grape thrives in the region’s climate and soil, producing wines with vibrant acidity, balanced tannins, and complex flavors. A glass of Chianti Classico or Brunello di Montalcino pairs beautifully with rich meat dishes like wild boar ragù or roasted lamb.

If you prefer white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano is a must-try. This sparkling and refreshing wine is made from Vernaccia grapes grown in the San Gimignano area. Its citrusy notes and mineral undertones make it an excellent companion for fish dishes or fresh salads.

Sleeping in a Castle: How Medieval Castles were built

Sleeping in a Castle: How Medieval Castles Were Built

What rooms were there in a medieval castle besides the bedroom? In castles where nobles once lived, the main rooms used for dining and sleeping by the lord, his family, and his knights were located in the keep, the rectangular tower within the castle walls. The keep (sometimes also called the donjon) is the strongest and tallest tower of the castle, built to be the most secure and safe place.

Compared to early castles, later ones began to incorporate round towers because rectangular ones could be attacked at the corners, which were the weakest parts.
Most castles are situated on a hill, why? The choice of location has always been strategic: this way, potential enemies would have to attack uphill, and the castle occupants could see them coming in advance.

How castle walls were constructed

Castle walls were very thick, sometimes up to five or six meters. The projecting rounded parts were called bastions. Archers defending the castle could shoot arrows from these against enemies attacking the walls. Arrows could also be launched through narrow openings in the walls called “murder holes.” Castle battlements were often designed so defenders could take cover behind them while striking the attacking army.

Enemies, to counter the defense, typically used enormous catapults or battering rams, or a kind of giant crossbow called an arbalest. They would ascend special ladders that could be launched and hooked onto walls, holding shields above their heads while defenders dropped rocks or poured boiling oil on them. A mixture of boiling oatmeal was also used, acting like a deadly porridge that stuck to the attacking soldiers.
Most castles had a moat or a water-filled ditch around the walls to make it more difficult for attackers to pass. Sometimes, attackers dug tunnels under the moat and walls, causing parts of the walls to collapse into the water.

Another way to enter a castle was by using a “siege tower“.

Castle Siege Towers

What was a siege tower? It was a tall wooden tower on wheels that could be moved close to the walls. Attackers on top of the tower would reach the castle walls using their own wooden bridge.
Sometimes, the attacking army simply surrounded the castle and waited for those inside to run out of food and surrender. However, since all castles kept a ready supply of food, these sieges could last up to two years.
The outer wall of a castle was called the Bailey. Inside the Bailey were buildings where livestock, horses, and the lord’s servants lived.

The Keep

In medieval castles, much of the lord’s and his followers’ life took place in the Keep. The keep represents a fortified tower that, in addition to its defensive role, also served as a residence for the nobility and garrisons during the Middle Ages. Sometimes, it had both a curtain wall and its own moat, accessible through a specially designed entrance not directly connected to the outside.
Inside the castle, there were also rooms for food storage. These rooms had to be stocked with food to last in case of a siege. Usually, there was a well so that people in the castle could obtain fresh water. There were kitchens for preparing daily meals and pantries where food for daily use was stored. There were also the Great Hall and bedrooms. The Keep could be as tall as 70 meters, with a watchtower where sentinels kept an eye out for any attacks, and the lord’s banner fluttered from the top.

What Were the Castle Rooms Like?

The Great Hall

The most important room in a castle was the Great Hall. This is where all members of the family sat down to eat at tables set for each meal. It was the venue for special events or when there were guests. King Arthur’s Pentecost feast took place in such a hall.
In this hall, the lord conducted almost all castle affairs, giving orders on managing his estate, listening to reports from his judicial officer or reeve (men who managed his land affairs for him), and hearing complaints from each of them.

A fire was lit in the center of the hall, and the smoke could escape through a hole in the roof. Even with the fire, the large stone room was very cold in winter, and the inhabitants or guests always wore thick woolen clothes and furs to stay warm. The floor was often covered with rushes and straw (changed when very dirty). There wasn’t much light because windows had to be small and high in case of an attack, and instead of glass, they had oiled cloth or parchment. Most people in the Middle Ages went to bed when it got dark and woke up when it was light in the morning.
Candles were too expensive (especially beeswax ones) even for the lords of many castles. They used tallow candles (made with sheep or goat fat), flickering torches, or lamps burning fish oil to illuminate their Great Halls.

For decoration, the beams of the hall were often painted with patterns. Zodiac signs were among the favorites. Tapestries were hung on the walls (also making the environment somewhat warmer). There were wooden tables and benches, with cushions or embroidered tablecloths. There were also large carved wooden chests with elaborate locks that contained important documents, linens, or precious items to keep them away from thieves and mice.

The Bedroom

Rats were a problem for clothes, and in the bedroom, there was a pole for hanging clothes at night so that rats wouldn’t nibble on them. People didn’t wear anything to bed except maybe a nightcap (nightshirts weren’t worn until the 14th century), and they slept semi-upright.

The Kitchen

Food was roasted or boiled in cauldrons over the fire of a hearth made of large stone blocks. Dishwashing was done in a basin on the nearby stone floor.

A wealthy knight, his family, and guests ate well. Unlike most people, they had plenty of meat: deer, goose, rabbit, and hare. On Fridays and holidays, when meat was forbidden by the church, they ate fish or eels. If there was a special feast, kitchen staff were busy preparing wild boar, roasted swan, or even roasted peacock served with all its feathers as decoration. Other birds appreciated in the Middle Ages were doves, larks, thrushes, and finches. Some of these were caught by the lord and his friends while hunting with their falcons.

Sanitary Facilities

Where did people go to the bathroom when living in a castle? Many castles had stone toilets built over holes in the outer walls. These emptied into a pit much lower down. The Teutonic Knights (warrior monks from Central Europe) living in Malbork Castle in Poland were known to kill their enemies by inviting them to be guests at the castle and then throwing them into the toilet.

Medieval castles didn’t have bathrooms with running water, yet people enjoyed bathing. In some castles, next to the kitchen, there was a room where women bathed together.

Christmas in Tuscany: traditional dishes

traditional dishes for xmas in Tuscany

Christmas lunch in Italy, like around the world, is sacred and features some indispensable dishes. Rich appetizers, classic tortellini in broth (or other types of filled pasta depending on the region), meat or fish dishes, pandoro and panettone according to preferences, dried fruits, and citrus.

But each region has its own, let’s see in general what is eaten at Christmas in Tuscany.

Christmas Lunch in Tuscany

A classic Christmas lunch in Tuscany will have chicken liver crostini as an appetizer. Throughout Tuscany, each family prepares its own version, and they are straightforward to make: chicken livers are sautéed in a pan with a sofrito of onion, celery, and carrot, then deglazed with white wine. They are then cut with a knife and returned to the pan, adjusting with salt and pepper but without overdoing it: the savoriness of the dish comes from chopped anchovies and capers. Tuscan bread (without salt) and perhaps slightly stale, slightly moistened and baked in the oven to make it crispy.

All that’s left is to spread the chicken livers and serve your crostini on a serving dish: they won’t last long.
But it’s not a Christmas appetizer if it’s not rich!
Therefore, a traditional Tuscan appetizer should contain mixed cold cuts, pecorino cheese, and olives. A vegetarian (or vegan) alternative is Cecina (chickpea tart) to be served warm.

Traditional main courses

For main courses, there are different schools of thought.
We cannot ignore cappelletti in broth: you can buy them, but we recommend making the broth at home; it has a completely different flavor. The broth for cappelletti is made with capon boiled the day before in cold water with onion, carrot, and celery. The capon can be eaten boiled (delicious), and the broth obtained should be used the next day to cook the cappelletti.

Another traditional first course for Christmas lunch is fresh egg pasta with a filling of spinach and ricotta or the more classic potato filling (typical of Mugello). The sauce should be rich: a simple meat ragù will be fine, but to add prestige to their tables, Tuscans love to use game meat. For those who enjoy game, you can prepare a wild boar or hare sauce. For a vegetarian version, just toss your ravioli or tortelli with butter and sage leaves.

What’s Eaten as a Main Course at Christmas Lunch in Tuscany

Main course: pork loin roast Arista is the Tuscan name for roasted pork loin, very common in Sunday lunches, especially in Florence. Tuscan Arista is very easy to prepare and is seasoned with garlic, fresh rosemary, sage, salt, and extra virgin olive oil.

Traditional Tuscan Christmas Sweets

We conclude the meal with a traditional Tuscan Christmas dessert with a recipe that is a thousand years old: Panforte + some special Christmas biscuits like “cavallucci” and “ricciarelli” accompanied by Vin Santo. Certainly, cantucci will not be missing, but those are never absent.

Panforte is a dense, honeyed sweet of medieval origin. Initially prepared by monks in monasteries and symbolically given on special occasions, it later passed into the hands of apothecaries: sugar, almonds, candied fruit, and spices were precious ingredients like gold, and like gold, they were stored by these figures halfway between an alchemist and a pharmacist, in large glass jars on dark wooden shelves.

Spices are what make it unique, a Tuscan peppery bread. Its pungent and honeyed aroma is, for me, the true scent of Christmas, along with that of almonds and orange peels from ricciarelli.

Cavallucci are one of the most famous Christmas delicacies in Tuscany, dating back to the Renaissance when the church council gave panforte and cavallucci to its members. Originally from Siena, these old-fashioned biscuits have a soft texture and are made with type 00 flour, nuts, candied fruit, anise seeds, and spices.
No one knows the exact origin of their name (which comes from horse). Some believe it comes from their shape, with a central groove resembling a horse’s hoof, or perhaps because a small horse was once stamped on them. Others emphasize how they were often consumed by roadhouse workers, where travelers stopped to rest and change horses.
Originally simpler, with no nuts or candied fruit, only flour, honey, sugar, and anise seeds, they have enriched over the centuries to satisfy the increasingly demanding tastes of the bourgeoisie.

Midway between a small shortcrust pastry and an almond biscuit, ricciarelli are characterized by a dusting of powdered sugar, a soft interior that melts in the mouth, and a strong aroma of bitter almonds. The origin of Sienese ricciarelli dates back to the 15th century: almond paste – in the form of marzipan or Marzapanetti – was once highly appreciated in the city, and Siena was famous even beyond its territory for its production. Almond paste biscuits were reserved for sumptuous Lord’s banquets because they consisted of precious ingredients, mainly almonds and sugar. They were so valuable and refined that marzipan sweets were sold in apothecary shops alongside the medicines and spices of the time.

Today, along with panforte, ricciarelli are perhaps one of the most characteristic Sienese sweets. During the Christmas season, you can find them in all pastry shops and bakeries in Siena. Despite being a traditional recipe, they are also a modern-flavored dessert since they are naturally gluten and lactose-free, making them a Christmas biscuit that satisfies everyone’s needs.

Christmas menu at Castello di Gargonza

And if you would like to celebrate a special Christmas within the walls of a medieval castle, Castello di Gargonza offers its menu for the occasion:

Welcome aperitif, sparkling bubbles with the frivolities of the kitchen to welcome you into the warmth of our tables.

Cod creamed in extra virgin olive oil

Appetizers

Roché of livers

Capon terrine with berry glaze

Purple broccoli flan with De’ Magi blue cheese fondue

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Agnolotti in capon broth

Risotto with marrow and saffron

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Mixed boiled meat with a triptych of sauces and sweet and sour giardiniera

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Cold lemon cake with Gin reduction

Traditional panettone with hot Vin Santo cream

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From the cellar

Vermentino Costa Toscana, Marchesi Ginori Lisci, 2022

Montescudaio DOC Merlot Bio, Marchesi Ginori Lisci 2020

€70.00 per person including wines

For children with a seat at the table €30.00 per person.

The same menu is available for celiacs.

For info and reservations info@gargonza.it or tel. 0575/847021

Christmas and New Year’s Eve: a dream at Castello di Gargonza

christmas and new year's eve at Castello di Gargonza

Christmas and New Year’s Dream at Castello di Gargonza.
The holiday season is one of the most beautiful times of the year. Evocative and welcoming, to be spent with your favorite people, and even better if in charming places.
Have you ever thought of celebrating them in an alternative and unusual way, like inside a castle?

Castello di Gargonza is ready to welcome you within its walls and transport you to a unique and timeless atmosphere.

How Christmas was Celebrated in the Middle Ages

While the medieval European calendar had numerous holidays, Christmas was the highlight with twelve days of festivities. From peasants to the affluent classes, the Christmas season was dedicated to a long break.

How Nobles Celebrated Christmas in the Middle Ages

The exchange of gifts for the wealthy people at Christmas included precious jewels and garments, taking place on both December 25th and January 1st. However, food was often considered the best part of the celebrations. Medieval castles were adorned for the festivities, decorating one of the most spectacular rooms with festive greenery like ivy and holly. The meal was usually an elaborate lunch with multiple courses, perhaps featuring extravagant dishes prepared by the chefs to impress on the occasion. For example, boar’s head on a plate or roasted swan or peacock with feathers.

How Peasants Celebrated Christmas

Christmas was celebrated in all social classes. However, many could not afford the luxury of a grand feast and expensive gifts.
Free workers on estates received gifts from their lord. This tradition spread over the centuries, leading to servants receiving a box of gifts on December 26th (hence the name “St. Stephen’s Day”). Children received simple toys from their parents, such as dolls and marbles.
Even peasants could decorate their homes as greenery like holly was readily available. The tradition of burning the Yule log also continued into medieval times. This involved burning a large section of the tree trunk on Christmas Eve, continuing to burn for the twelve days of Christmas.

Families indulged in foods they wouldn’t typically buy, such as cheese and boiled meat. They also drank beer, typically produced by peasant women.
January 1st was still considered an important day, even though no gifts were exchanged. Instead, a superstition emerged that it was important for good luck in the new year for someone to be the first visitor to a person’s house on New Year’s Day (First step).

Entertainment during Christmas

Of course, drinking was an important part of the Christmas festivities, and there are accounts of Lords worried about riots during the holiday season. Games were also popular, including board games like chess, still played today.

Christmas meals were generally followed by festive songs, dances, music, and sports. Popular musical instruments included flutes, lutes, and drums. The medieval version of football involved moving the ball to a predetermined position and had very few rules. People even tied horse shinbones to their feet to attempt skating on frozen lakes during winter.

To spend your Christmas and New Year 2023 like in a fairy tale from another era, come to Castello di Gargonza!
Special menus for both holidays are planned in a magical and unique atmosphere that only a medieval castle can provide.

Autumn Festivals and Christmas Markets in Tuscany

Autumn Festivals and Christmas Markets in Tuscany

The autumn and winter season in Tuscany is a celebration of colors and events dedicated to experiencing its cities and incredible landscapes to the fullest. Take advantage of mild days and weekends to explore small typical villages and towns.

Even better if you move close to events, fairs, and festivals.

Arezzo, the City of Christmas

A must for all Christmas enthusiasts is the event organized by the city of Arezzo every year: a grand fair full of artisan creations and stalls offering tempting dishes.

This year it will take place from November 18th, 2023, to January 1st, 2024.
What not to miss? The magical historic center of Arezzo, where you’ll find the “Prato delle Meraviglie” with a panoramic wheel to enjoy the view of the entire city from above, and traditional markets. Unmissable are the light installations, Christmas Brick Art, and the Tyrolean Village.

The largest Tyrolean market in Italy will be set up from November 18 to December 26, featuring 32 wooden chalets arranged around a large chalet. What will you find? Plenty of Christmas gift ideas, tree decorations, lights, typical Tyrolean beer, music, and gastronomic specialties. The little ones won’t be disappointed with Santa’s House, where themed workshops will be organized.

Let’s not forget about Arezzo Christmas Brick Art! What is it? A wonder that will please both young and old: the large LEGO Christmas Village, open to visitors from November 18 to December 26. Here, you will find over 400 square meters of exhibitions, shows, and workshops entirely focused on the world’s most famous building blocks, with themed areas and special initiatives.

Autumn Food and Wine Festivals in Tuscany

Here is a small list of festivals taking place in November 2023 in Tuscany, within driving distance from Castello di Gargonza, an excellent opportunity to organize a trip to one of the many wonderful villages in the region, spending a day immersed in good food and autumn colors.

  1. Autumnia from November 10 to 12, 2023, in Figline Valdarno (FI). A weekend getaway: less than an hour from Castello di Gargonza, a special fair dedicated to local products, focused on agriculture, environment, and food, featuring 25 local farms with their zero-kilometer products, 13 cooking shows in three days, and a zootechnical exhibition with over 50 farm animals.
  2. Market Exhibition of the White Truffle of the Crete Senesi from Saturday 11 November 2023 to Sunday 19 November 2023 in Montalcino, Siena.
    The festival takes place in the heart of one of the most suitable areas for truffle harvesting in Italy. San Giovanni d’Asso, a charming medieval village surrounded by rolling hills and unspoiled nature, offers a refuge away from urban chaos and industrial activity. The white truffles collected here are all 0 km, collected exclusively by truffle hunters affiliated to the provincial association.
  3. White and Black Truffle Festival from November 4 to November 12, 2023, in the Municipality of Scarperia and San Piero in the province of Florence. Less than two hours’ drive from Castello di Gargonza: why not spend an entire day as true gourmets and try all the truffle-themed delicacies? There’s something for every taste, both white and black truffles.
  4. Feast of San Martino and Bringoli from November 11 to November 12, 2023, in the Municipality of Anghiari. In the province of Arezzo, about an hour’s drive from Castello di Gargonza, during the second weekend of November, the 35th edition of the Feast of San Martino and Bringoli will take place. The town of Anghiari, known for being the birthplace of Piero della Francesca and one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, will celebrate local gastronomy. You can indulge in bringoli, a traditional local dish: large spaghetti made with water and flour, handmade and served with rich meat or mushroom sauces. Also unmissable are sausages, traditional “brustichino,” and chestnuts, all washed down with generous new wine.
  5. Chestnuts and New Wine Festival from November 1 to December 10, 2023, in the Municipality of San Gimignano. Chestnut lovers can move to the province of Siena, an hour and a quarter’s drive away, to visit the wonderful village of San Gimignano and taste the queens of the season: chestnuts.
  6. Festival of Tortello, Porcini, and Chestnuts of Mugello from September 29 to November 19, 2023, in the Municipality of Vicchio. Unmissable autumn pearls that can be enjoyed for more than a month. Mugello tortelli are typical, filled with potatoes and served with various sauces, while porcini mushrooms and Mugello chestnuts are precious gifts of autumn, to be enjoyed as long as possible.
  7. National White Truffle Market Show from November 11 to November 26, 2023, in the Municipality of San Miniato. Head to the province of Pisa, an hour and a half away from Castello di Gargonza, to be delighted by autumn dishes based on white truffles. The fair, organized for several years now, is also an excellent time to buy truffle-based products and take advantage of Christmas gifts and ideas.

And for a dreamy overnight stay, after days filled with events and gastronomic delights, Castello di Gargonza has it covered.

Discover all the options for rooms and apartments in this dreamy historic location right away.

Typical products of Tuscany: come and taste them in Gargonza

prodotti tipici di toscana a gargonza

La nostra regione è uno dei gioielli culinari d’Italia. 

Grazie alle sue delizie gastronomiche è capace infatti di incantare i visitatori non solo con i suoi paesaggi mozzafiato e con le sue città d’arte ricche di storia e di cultura, ma anche con la sua tradizione culinaria. Il cibo in Toscana non è solo nutrimento, è cultura, vita, celebrazione della tradizione.

A Gargonza siamo convinti che l’enogastronomia sia una parte fondamentale di chi vive un’esperienza nel castello. Per questo abbiamo selezionato una serie di produttori locali d’eccellenza e di prodotti tipici di Toscana che ben rappresentano la nostra storia e la nostra cultura gastronomica.

Dal prosciutto salato alla finocchiona (un tipico salume di carne suina arricchito con semi di finocchio), passando per pecorini, formaggi freschi e vini rossi strutturati e robusti: a Gargonza ti offriamo un viaggio tra i sapori dei prodotti tipici di Toscana, in un contesto magico e affascinante.

Prodotti tipici di Toscana: cosa troverai a Gargonza

Nella nostra bottega offriamo degustazioni guidate di prodotti tipici di Toscana provenienti dal territorio che ci circonda. Amiamo andare alla ricerca dei produttori locali che lavorano con passione le migliori materie prime e ci teniamo a farti assaggiare i prodotti che noi consideriamo migliori. Ai piedi della maestosa torre trecentesca, potrai assaporare formaggi, salumi, vini e altre specialità toscane che abbiamo accuratamente selezionato.

Ecco qualche assaggio di quello che possiamo offrirti.

Salumi da animali allevati allo stato brado

I salumi che offriamo nelle nostre degustazioni arrivano principalmente dall’Azienda Agricola Basagni di Monte San Savino. L’azienda alleva suini allo stato brado, che vivono in libertà e si nutrono di ciò che la natura gli offre, per poi essere trasformati in salami, prosciutti e altri deliziosi salumi di eccellenza. La lavorazione artigianale non prevede inoltre l’aggiunta di fosfati aggiunti, per mantenere il gusto e l’aroma delle carni intatto.

Formaggi pluripremiati e ricchi di sapore

Tutti i formaggi che utilizziamo, non solo per le degustazioni ma anche nella cucina del nostro ristorante, arrivano dall’azienda di Andrea De’ Magi. Andrea, con il quale collaboriamo da tempo, è un pluripremiato affinatore che seleziona le migliori forme di formaggi a latte crudo e pastorizzato. Potrai assaggiare formaggi di capra, di pecora e di latte vaccino, che vengono fatti stagionare e affinare nell’azienda di Castiglion Fiorentino. Qui assumono il loro sapore e la loro consistenza caratteristica: sentirai il vero sapore del latte e della stagionatura fatta come una volta.

Vieni ad assaggiare i prodotti tipici di Toscana a Gargonza

prodotti tipici di toscana

Ovviamente salumi e formaggi saranno accompagnati da pane tipico toscano (senza sale, rigorosamente!) e da un bicchiere di vino rosso locale. Le aziende vinicole che abbiamo selezionato si trovano tutte in Toscana e le abbiamo scelte proprio perché i loro vini sono in grado di accompagnare ed esaltare al meglio le proposte gastronomiche.

Per esigenze particolari, possiamo inoltre preparare del pane e della schiacciata senza glutine per accompagnare salumi e formaggi.

Se vuoi prenotare una degustazione di prodotti tipici di Toscana a Gargonza, puoi scriverci e saremo felici di organizzarne una personalizzata per te.

Scrivici!

An ancient castle in Tuscany: the history of Gargonza

castello in toscana

Evocative and majestic, Gargonza is an ancient castle in Tuscany that has kept intact all the charm of medieval times. Thanks to the continuous restoration works and careful maintenance of it over all these years, walking through the streets of the village and entering the castle of Gargonza is a bit like stepping back in time.

In this article we retrace its centuries-old history of the village and the castle: it will be a truly fascinating journey through time.

The history of Gargonza over the centuries

It seems that the castle of Gargonza was built as a defensive structure around the 11th century. Specifically, the earliest records date back to exactly 1150: at that time, there was talk of a fortified castle on the road between Arezzo and Siena.

Over the years, Gargonza was transformed into a village where people were mainly engaged in wool processing and the care of the surrounding woods. In the seventeenth century, the castle would later be enlarged with a full-fledged farm: covering an area of about 900 hectares, the surrounding land was organized to be conducted on a sharecropping basis. Gargonza’s agricultural vocation lasted until the early 20th century.

After 300 years of flourishing agricultural life in the community, Gargonza was abandoned by its inhabitants but fortunately did not go into decline.

The Guicciardini Corsi Salviati family and the castle in Tuscany

castle in tuscany

The Corsi Salviati family has been the historic owner of Gargonza Castle since as far back as 1696, and since then has always dedicated itself to maintaining the original condition of the castle and village.

When Marquis Bardo Corsi Salviati died, all his property passed to Count Giulio Guicciardini, who added his surname to that of the original family. However, we are in the early 1900s, in the midst of a rural exodus: the hamlet is abandoned but one of the Count’s 8 sons, Roberto Guicciardini Corsi Salviati, chose to devote himself completely to the conservative restoration of the castle. The village was reborn and, from the 1960s, the houses and agricultural outbuildings were also restored. Gargonza was thus transformed into an accommodation facility, one of the very first in the region and in all of Italy, becoming a castle in Tuscany where people could stay as well as visit.

To this day, the castle of Gargonza is still owned by the Guicciardini Corsi Salviati family: it is the Count’s heirs, Neri and his wife Elisa, who carry on the activities of the hamlet and also the conservation and maintenance work, with the aim of preserving the hamlet’s medieval soul and appearance.

More than a castle in Tuscany, a real village

Gargonza is thus not just a castle in Tuscany but an entire medieval village. Around the tower there are stone-paved alleys along which we find numerous buildings maintained exactly as they were in medieval times: small peasant houses, with wooden beams and stone walls, have been converted into rooms and apartments that keep the medieval atmosphere intact.

Protecting the village we still find the original walls, preserved with great care.

What you will find today within the walls of Gargonza is therefore a perfectly preserved castle in Tuscany, a charming village and a luxury accommodation facility.

Want to visit Gargonza or book a stay in the castle?

Contact us!