Tuscany Destinations

Castelnuovo Berardenga

In Castelnuovo Berardenga you are in an area of Tuscany close to Siena. Here there are many places to go to, to see and with lots of fun things to do. Earlier, we talked about San Gusmè, Villa a Sesta, and the Crete Senesi. Here we will dig a bit deeper and have a look at some other sights.

If you have fallen in love with Castelnuovo Berardenga, would you like to be able to broaden your knowledge about the area while on your dream vacation in Tuscany? At Tuscany Destinations, we can steer you in the right direction according to your interests and tastes.

Siena map

Arceno – A Medieval Estate close to Castelnuovo Berardenga

According to historical documents, the Estate of Arceno which covers an area of almost one thousand hectares dates to the 11th Century when it was donated to the abbots of ‘Fontebuona’ by the Count of Berardenga. Around a century later, the estate came under the governance of Siena. In the 17th Century, a large villa was built in the ‘Libertine’ style on the Estate grounds by order of ‘Flaminio Del Taia’. Later, in the early 19th Century an extensive park was added, designed by ‘Agostino Fantastici’ and laid out along the lines of an English landscaped park. This had been commissioned by the ‘Piccolomini’ family from Siena who had now acquired the estate. Alongside the villa and park, is a beautiful chapel, ‘Cappella di San Giovanni’.

The Villa Arceno Estate has changed hands many times over the last few centuries and by the 1990s, it had become a sorry scene of abandonment. However, some enthusiast entrepreneurs took on the task of renovating the estate and it now flourishes as a mix of agricultural land, mainly wine production, private dwellings and the villa had become a hotel and restaurant. Of the agricultural aspect, the ‘Tenuta’, was acquired by Jess Jackson and Barbara Banke of Jackson Family Wines in the US in 1994. Today the ‘Tenuta d’Arceno’ produces Chianti Classico wines and three IGT wines, so called ‘Super Tuscans’ and has received many awards. The surrounding ‘Casali’ the old restored farmhouses of the estate are now home to a thriving community of diverse people from everywhere else!

The estate is the epitome of classic Tuscan landscapes and it has been the set of some international movies like “My House in Umbria” and “Stealing Beauty”.

If you are interested in delving into the history of ‘Arceno’ and some of itstreasures and then perhaps enjoy a stroll through breathtaking scenery, followed by a wine tasting of Chianti Classico wines at the Tenuta’s tasting room, then this is the right place for you.

Let Tuscany Destinations take care of everything and set up the perfect itinerary for you.


San Gusmè

Not far from the town of Castelnuovo Berardenga, a few minute drive in fact, is the pretty walled village of San Gusmè, quoted by Forbes as one out of the three “unforgettable out-of-the-radar towns in Italy”. Founded in the 14th Century and sitting atop a hill the village was fortified in medieval times and has a direct line of sight to Siena which was very important in the days when Siena and Florence were almost constantly fighting each other! Only part of the surrounding wall remains today, along with the two main gates to the village. San Gusmè is tiny and can be walked around within a few minutes. Now tranquil the village offers outstanding views over the countryside towards Siena and has some inviting places to eat and drink too! One gets the feeling that time has stopped here – well at least stopped long enough so that ‘aperitivo’ can really be enjoyed!

Luca Cava

Renowned for the legend of “Luca Cava”, the man is represented by a small statue placed outside the walls of the little hamlet. This figure has inspired the idea of an annual festival held each September, called “La Festa del Luca” where the whole village, locals and tourist join to celebrate, eat, drink and enact a medieval race called il Palio delle Botti (the Barrels race).

San Gusmè

Food in the Castelnuovo Berardenga area

All that sightseeing and trekking about can be tiring and having worked up an appetite and matching thirst, it’s time to eat and drink! A dream vacation in Tuscany is a fantastic opportunity to explore the local food and wine culture. In the Castelnuovo Berardenga area, there are many ‘trattorie’, ‘osterie’, and ‘ristorante’ where you can indulge to your gratification the tastes and aromas of local Tuscan food and drink.

Some examples of restaurants are:

‘La Bottega del 30’ a Franco – Tuscan fusion of very fine dining using the finest of ingredients. A Michelin Starred favourite in ‘Villa a Sesta’ run by Hélène an adopted Parisienne.
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‘Anonimax’ in the market square of Castelnuovo is this bistro style restaurant owned and run by Max. With interesting takes on traditional recipes Max also has a flair for ‘specials’ including truffles when in season and complete fish menus along with a great selection of wines and artisanal beers from the locality.

‘L’Asinello’ Tuscan food with a modern twist and some interesting surprises in ‘Villa a Sesta’

‘Poggio Rosso’ in ‘San Felice’, another Michelin Starred restaurant fine dining utilising the freshest local ingredients including locally source Saffron! Gentile atmosphere and superb surroundings.

‘Borgo Le Fontanelle’ In the heart of ‘Chianti Classico’ near Pianella and very well worth the trip is the restored villa whose restaurant ‘La Colonna’ serves fine fare, a mix of traditional with modern, and beautifully presented. With superb surroundings, ambience and views over the valley lit by the setting sun which are to die for!

Wine in the Castelnuovo Berardenga area

Regarding the wine in this area, we are in the middle of the ‘Chianti Classico’. The Chianti Classico wines in the Castelnuovo Berardenga area are, in general, smooth, with a good body and beautiful fruit.

There are many wineries within the ‘Chianti Classico’ appellation to visit. We talked about the ‘Tenuta di Arceno’ winery above that is owned by Jackson Family Wines. Other wineries that make high-quality wines in charming surroundings are, for example:

‘Tolaini’ – A young man left Italy to seek his fortune and did so! Yearning for his homeland and with a few ‘bob’ in spare change the man returned triumphant and sought a place to call his own, settle down and make fine wine. Not far from Siena, Pier Luigi Tolaini found a tenuta and terroir which suited his ideals and dreams and began to work. Not only has ‘Tolaini’ produced wine of the likes of ‘Picconero’ an IGT with a deep complex character with red fruit, liquorice and tobacco notes the estate produces several other well-crafted IGT’s and of course the ‘Chianti Classico’. Today the estate gives wine tours and tastings. One tour is a picnic luncheon amongst a circle of mature trees surrounding a restored Etruscan tomb which was excavated on the estate. Fine food and fine wine being a nod to the people who first grew vines in this area!


‘Valle Picciola’ – Not far from the Arbia river is ‘Valle Picciola’ set deep within the ‘Chianti Classico’ in the ‘Castelnuovo Berardenga’ region and covering around 265 hectares, the estate’s soils and the terroir of rolling hills formed from ancient sea beds gives ‘Valle Picciola’ a distinctive ‘micro climate’ and growing conditions for their vines. The planted vines include several ‘international’ varieties, such as Pinot Nero, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Chardonnay. Of course, this allows the winery to be diverse in its production of fine wines alongside the Sangiovese vines from which their ‘Chianti Classico’ is made. The cellars in which the wines are produced are extensive and modern but of course like other wine makers the traditions are maintained to high standards, the results are to be found in ‘Pievasciata’ an IGT ‘Rosso Toscana’, ‘Quercegrosse’ an IGT ‘Merlot Toscana’, the winery also produces ‘Spumante’ and grappa.

‘Fèlsina’ – Like many wineries in the ‘Castelnuovo Berardenga’ region ‘Fèlsina’ has a history going back at least a thousand years. The estate is a conglomeration of what were once a collection of small ‘sharecropping’ farms which after the Second World Warsaw a great decline as people moved from agriculture to find work in the cities. In 1966, Domenico Poggiali Fèlsina, took the plunge and bought this estate and transformed it from decline to one of the foremost wineries right on the southern edge of the ‘Chianti Classico’. With a philosophy of maintaining biodiversity and using modern techniques, business plans yet keeping traditions alive the winery produces some of the most delicious wines such as, ‘Rancia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG’. Named after one of the old farmhouses, this wine has spicy red fruit, mineral and tannins offering a flavourful sensation mid palate and a balanced acidity. Along with their IGT wines, ‘Fontalloro’, ‘I Sistri’ among others, the winery also produces ‘Vin Santo’ and ‘Spumante’. Along with the ethos of sustainability the estate offers wine tasting with accompanying food and olive oil grown on the farm.

Villa a Sesta

‘Villa a Sesta’ – Etruscan in origin, this estate covers more than one thousand hectares of which fifty are given to cultivating vines. With its own micro-climate and soils, the terroir of ‘Villa a Sesta’ produces five ‘Chianti Classico’ wines two of which are ‘Riserva’ and ‘Sorleone’ and one IGT ‘VAS’, ruby red in colour, spicy with notes of liquorice, pepper, cinnamon and cocoa intense and rounded on the palate, good for pairing with game, rich stews and blue cheeses. The winery offers five different tours of the estate and wine tasting with accompanying food.