First settled by the Etruscans about 2,500 years ago, Castelfalfi came into its own with the rise of Florence in the 13th century, when its castle and much of the current village were built.
Sadly, the village was pillaged during the Florence-Siena war in 1554, but had another prosperous period in the 18th century as a Municipality under the peaceful administration of Montaione.
The village also seemed fated for success at the beginning of the 20th century when a tobacco factory was built, bringing roads to the village.
However, the rural exodus of the 1960s took with it all but five residents and in the early 1980s Castelfalfi was put up for sale by local authorities.
Despite international interest, Castelfalfi remained a dormant sleeping beauty until 2007, when European based tourist company TUI AG acquired the village and surrounding 2,700-acre estate with a vision of reviving the village in the most authentic way possible and transforming Castelfalfi into one of Italy’s finest leisure and vacation destinations.
Like a fairy god mother with a magic wand (or a prince with solid financing), TUI AG has breathed new life into Castelfalfi.
The tobacco factory is now a hotel and the castle and village are being artfully restored to incorporate leisure, retail and residential components while remaining true to the ancient architectural styles and local traditions.
Wherever possible, original features are being maintained.
For example, in some cases, original bricks have been removed and re-laid to ensure an authentic rebuilding, and in one case, a whole tile roof was carefully removed, insulation and weather protection were installed, and the original tiles were re-set.
TUI AG also is determined to retain the rural character of the region, so only 0.03 percent of the land is being developed.
When complete, Toscana Resort Castelfalfi will provide visitors with the chance to experience an authentic slice of Tuscany while enjoying the services of a resort.
Life at Castelfalfi will centre on the village, where the ancient buildings will house apartments, a boutique hotel, shops, restaurants and cafes, and Il Castello (the Castle), which will delight visitors with an upmarket Tuscan restaurant, bar and other amenities.
The concept is well on its way to being realised.
Today, visitors can dine at Trattoria Il Rosmarino, stay at the boutique Hotel La Tabaccaia, and enjoy the public swimming pool and gym as well as extensive hiking and biking trails.
The world-class 18 hole Mountain Course and new nine hole Lake Course are also in full swing.
And within an hour of Castelfalfi, guests can explore the Renaissance and Medieval cities of Tuscany, from Siena and Lucca to Florence and Pisa, and then return to their fairy tale village, complete with its own 800-year-old ancient castle.