Castello di Amorosa, Calistoga California
California’s famed wine country is one of my favorite day trip destinations. Just three hours north (or five if traffic is problematic,) the drive through Napa Valley from Napa to Calistoga is full of beautiful landscape, stunning buildings, and of course, the wine. However, I often choose to “do” wine country during the winter. The crowds are thinner, the lines shorter, and if we’re making a mini-break, the hotels are more affordable offseason.
Cloister of the Castello di Amorosa
Several years ago, we took a trip to Napa to visit Castello di Amorosa. This castle was built using traditional methods with hand-hewn stone, rustic brick, and wrought iron fixtures. We had seen it being built in the early 2000’s and when it opened in 2007, we decided to plan a visit.
Napa Valley on a Rainy Spring Day – Castello di Amorosa Gatehouse
Walking through the castle is like stepping back in time and into another country. The hulking mass of the enormous structure rising from the hillside looked like it had stood there for 500 years. Yet, it was new and fresh, the plantings not all in place, the steps not worn with the footfall of ages. It was beautiful that rainy May day, but it also created a dissonance in my mind. Unlike a theme park facade, this castle was real. Recently built, but ancient in feel.
View of the Chapel at Castello di Amorosa from the cloister
This was an extraordinary experience that I highly recommend to any history buff traveling through Napa Valley. You will find yourself transported back in time. Oh, and the wine is good too!