Visiting Castello di Amorosa with Kids
What makes a memorable weekend? Of course, a fun family adventure! It is a great opportunity to escape daily routine at least for a weekend. California residents are lucky to have great many places to see and to do that are located in the vicinity of their native towns. You can kick back by the pool at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery, zipline through the giant redwoods and even tour a Medieval castle. Have never been to a real castle? It's time to visit one!
Castello di Amorosa
Located in Napa Valley near a small scenic town of Calistoga, a Tuscan castle Castello di Amorosa is a great family friendly attraction not to be missed. The building can't but impress with its medieval architecture and splendor. It took the castle owner Dario Sattui long15 years to build the huge castle that sprawls across 121,000 square feet. The property features more than one hundred rooms with most of them devoted to winemaking. There is also a church, drawbridge, moat and, you won't believe it, the torture chamber.
The first question that people ask when they see the Castle of Love (this is what Castello di Amorosa means in Italian) is how a castle like this appeared right in the center of Napa Valley, California. The explanation comes in a form of a welcome message at the property entrance that says that the castle was built to honor the owner's Italian ancestry and because of his desire to create magnificent medieval setting for producing world class wines.
Kid Friendly Tours
The best way to explore all the castle corridors and premises is to book a guided tour. The tour lasts about an hour and a half and focuses on winemaking as well as the history of the castle. Kids will be thrilled to find out that part of the famous movie Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler were shot at this very castle, so the younger guests will have fun recollecting the scenes from the movie. The adults will be impressed with the authentic atmosphere of this remarkable building. Sattui seems to have spent a fortune to make the castle as authentic as possible. Handmade antique bricks from Europe, art works painted by artists from Tuscany and ironwork hand-forged by Italian artisans are just part of the interior elements that make the castle look exactly like real historic property. Children will love the ironwork dragons and stone gargoyles, not to mention Lancelot and Guinevere, the resident felines.
After exploring the huge property the guide will take you to an intimate tasting room reserved for tours. While the parents are savoring the winery's exclusive collection of Italian style wines the children are offered bottled Muscat of Alexandria, commonly referred to as California grape juice, and some chocolate. By the way, treats for kids are served at a special kids table where the youngest guests will also find crayons and a variety of coloring sheets. Families are sure to feel comfortable in a private tasting room as wineries may get crowded and noisy, especially on weekends.
Reservations are required only for guided tours. If you would rather skip the tour and want to just do a tasting we recommend avoiding the main tasting area. Instead head to the Knight's Room with a smaller tasting area. You will also find a big table with crayons and coloring sheets on it right near the tasting bar.
There is a castle store on site where visitors can purchase souvenirs and a variety of products they sampled in the castle including the sea salt chocolate and Muscat of Alexandria. Leaving the property you will enjoy beautiful views of the vineyards and can spot domestic animals like sheep, chickens and peacocks.