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Castello di Amorosa Tour - Napa Valley Winery

Tour a Medieval Castle in Napa Valley: Castello di Amorosa

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While Castello di Amorosa (Castle of Love) is located in the heart of Napa Valley, the sight of this winery will have you thinking you’ve arrived in 13th century Italy. Simply put the place is part architectural feat, part mind trick.

Tucked in off the St. Helena Highway in Calistoga, towers, battlements, iron works, and custom windows all come into sight the minute you drive up into the parking lot. This is no Disneyland reproduction starring Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty; it is the painstaking effort of local vintner Dario Sattui.

While the castle’s construction spanned 15 years, it took even longer than that to gather the materials, some of which came through rather interesting methods. Take the iron dragon above the castle entrance for example; it was apparently procured from a small Italian village in need of some quick cash!

Castello di Amorosa has all of the elements of a medieval castle; a moat, drawbridge, high defensive ramparts, courtyards, a deep well, outdoor oven, functioning church, an apartment for the Nobles, a colorful Great Hall, prison and torture chamber. It also has gorgeous vaulted wine cellars, and it’s surrounded by a lush vineyard landscape.

Include the Kids on a Tour and Tasting

Don’t deposit the kids with a sitter to take a tour of the place! Kids are welcome at the castle. The activity is best suited for older kids (8 years or older) who won’t mind a lot of walking and may have a fondness for stories about knights, wizards, and other characters who may take up residence in such a place. My kids were reminded of Dorothy’s rescue in the Wizard of Oz. You could just imagine the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion sneaking into fortress to the extract her!

The Castello di Amorosa Tour

It is recommended that you clear two hours for a visit here. While that sounds like a lot of time, especially when you may be planning to tour several wineries in one day, this is truly a unique experience in the valley and the time will fly! The Castello di Amorosa tour itself takes one hour, but you should allow for an additional hour for wine tasting.

Here are some sights of note on the tour:

THE GREAT HALL

While bright hand-painted murals are the first thing you’ll notice about this magnificent social center, the door to the room is the actual statement of wealth and prominence. Back in the day, the amount of nails in your door sent a message of status to your neighbors and community members. With 2,000 hand forged nails in it, the door to the Great Hall has a loud rich message to deliver!

Castello di Amorosa tour - Great Hall

The Great Hall is one of the highlights of the Castello di Amorosa tour with its gorgeous murals, but don’t forget to check out the door! Photo credit: Jim Sullivan for Castello di Amorosa

UPPER TERRACE AND TRUNCATED TOWER

Soak in a gorgeous view of vineyards and valley landscape from the upper level of the castle. The view is so beautiful, it’s like looking at a museum masterpiece.

THE CHAPEL

The castle’s religious center, the chapel’s courtyard facade sets it apart from the rest of the castle with its lighter stone. It is also often one of the first structures installed in any castle.

THE COURTYARD

The detail in this area is unbelievable! The doors are hand planed oak, the metal is hand forged by an Italian blacksmith. The guide told us that every nail, bolt, and lamp is made by hand and that the walls have evolved over time.

Castello di Amorosa tour - Courtyard

Spend some time during Castello di Amorosa tour in the elaborate courtyard and admire the details all around you. Photo credit: Alison Cochrane for Castello di Amorosa

THE ARMORY

My kids were fascinated by the armor and weapons dating back about a hundred years. Don’t miss the Pit of Despair, a dungeon cell with an opening at the top.

THE TORTURE CHAMBER

Apparently all castles in Europe had prisons and torture chambers and Dario Sattui wouldn’t have it any differently in his castle. Points of interest to check out in this room include the Iron Maiden and the Virgin of Nuremberg.

Wine Tasting

The Castello di Amorosa tour finishes up with a tasting in the Main Tasting Room. While the adults savor the variety of wine, the kids sample grape juice made on the premises while sitting at an adjacent table set up with coloring activities.

AFTER Your Castello di Amorosa TOUR

After the tour, walk around the exterior and truly take in the castle before you leave. Dario Sattui’s vision and all of its 121,000 square feet, or 3 acres, of rooms are a breathtaking sight whether you’re looking at it as a whole or piece by piece on a tour.

Castello di Amorosa Tour - Grounds

After your Castello di Amorosa Tour, take time to stroll around the grounds of the winery to admire the scenery and the breathtaking sight of this massive castle.

Hotels Near Castello di Amorosa

Hilton accommodations within a short drive from many world-renowned Napa Valley wineries and attractions include Hilton Garden Inn – Napa and Embassy Suites by Hilton Napa Valley.

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Thank you to Castello di Amorosa for hosting Kristine’s family. Although she received a complimentary tour and wine tasting to facilitate this review, she was not asked to express any particular opinion. Her thoughts are her own.

Hilton Mom Voyage writers receive free night certificates to use at Hilton Hotels & Resorts worldwide. To learn more, visit our About Us page.

Main photo credit: Jim Sullivan for Castello di Amorosa

Kristine D Posted by:

Kristine lives in Mountain View, California, where she is the mother of a gifted girl athlete and a special needs charmer. Like almost everything in her house,…

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