Culture, Chianti and cocooning

By Kylie MacKenzie

Since the 12th century, Castello Del Nero’s historic 740-acre estate has been home to traditional Tuscan farming with its vineyard, olive groves and beehives. Now, as part of Christina Ong’s COMO Group, its much-awaited Shambhala Wellness Retreat has opened its doors.

Tucked into the idyllic countryside of the Chianti wine region, Castello Del Nero has recently been graciously and unobtrusively re-imaged with light and modern touches by celebrity Milanese designer, Paola Navone. The castle’s historic terracotta flooring, fresco walls and vaulted ceilings thankfully remain untouched, but under Navone’s guidance take on a much fresher, contemporary mood. 

Aside from enjoying the magnificent grounds, a trio of versatile dining venues, and unique wine cellar set into the walls of the castle, Navone has helped the new owners create a contemporary health and fitness retreat on the property for guests to share. Asian-inspired, it’s an elegant cocooning space—a well-being sanctuary that’s 1000 square metres with seven treatment rooms, pilates and yoga studios, thermal suites and a stunning 25 metre heated pool. 

The retreat carries the Shambhala moniker and offers treatments with a local twist, accompanied by nutritious balanced dishes curated to aid concentration, balance blood sugar levels and nourish the soul. Guest favourites: an iconic Shambhala Massage with bespoke blended oils and the full-body signature ritual using soothing estate-made lavender and olives. Non-surgical anti-aging facials are also on the menu in collaboration with Jean-Daniel Mondin, an award-winning doctor of pharmaceuticals. Enjoy cooking classes and wine tours, or hop on a Vespa to tour farms and vineyards. Truffle hunting and vintage car trips to Florence or Siena can also be arranged. 

When it’s all said and done, this is Tuscany at its finest.

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