Napa Valley, dubbed "Wine Country's Disney World," is like an upscale theme park for grownups, with luxurious hotels, world-renowned wines, and a castle that never fails to amaze with its extraordinary design. Castello di Amorosa, also known as the Castle of Love, is a stunning architectural masterpiece in the heart of Napa Valley.

It took fourth-generation winemaker Dario Sattui over 15 years to build this castle, with old stones collected from various European sites and shipped to the vineyard outside Calistoga. Inspired by Sattui's interest in medieval history, the 171-acre estate features 107 guest rooms, wine tasting facilities, a main hall with enormous murals, a 500-year-old fireplace, a church, a courtyard, and a network of underground tunnels.

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The Castle, From Vision To Masterpiece

Dario Sattui, great-grandson of San Francisco Bay Area winemaking legend Vittorio Sattui, has brought his vision for Castello di Amorosa to reality, and it is a sight to behold for every visitor. After finishing college, Sattui traveled around Europe, sketching medieval buildings like castles, monasteries, palaces, farmhouses, and wineries. In 1972, he returned to the United States intending to revive the family winery, which had been closed for the better half of a century.

He established the V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena in 1975. Sattui took his great-inheritance grandfather's and spent the next two decades looking for the perfect Napa Valley estate. He looked for years before finding the ideal 171-acre plot near Calistoga, where in 1846, Colonel William Nash had established one of California's first vineyards. Sattui decided to settle down in a big Victorian house surrounded by acres of lush woodland and rolling hills, complete with a babbling brook and a lake.

In 1994, work started on the Castello di Amorosa winery to construct an 8,500-square-foot structure devoid of cellars. However, over time, the project grew into a 13th-century Tuscan castle that spans 121,000 square feet (three acres) and features 107 rooms across four underground floors and four above-ground levels. Over a million old European bricks and over 8,000 tons of locally carved stone were used to build the castle.

It took 15 years to complete the building, which first welcomed customers on April 7, 2007. As a result of its many impressive features—including a moat, drawbridge, five towers, high defensive ramparts, courtyards and loggias, a chapel, stables, an armory, and even a torture chamber—Castello di Amorosa is now widely regarded as a masterpiece of medieval architecture. Castello di Amorosa features some of the world's most stunning arched wine cellars, realizing Sattui's aim of making top-notch wines with the same care and precision he put into building his castle.

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Rooms Of Castello Di Amorosa And Their Stories

The rooms of Castello Di Amorosa each have their own story to tell, and they transport guests back in time to the medieval era. The great hall looks at a time when the room used to host lavish feasts for the Baron of the Castle, and it takes its design cues from those times as well as the raucous Medieval banquets that the Knights would throw in its honor. The Great Hall is the crown jewel of the castello, including a 500-year-old Umbrian fireplace and hand-painted Italian murals. The 12,000-square-foot Grand Barrel Room is a work of art thanks to its 40 ribbed Roman cross-vaulted ceilings and the use of antique masonry imported from Europe.

Located at the very center of the castle, the 13th-century Courtyard features hand-squared stone and antique brick walls, as well as Tuscan-style breezeways and loggias. The Courtyard, the heart of any Medieval palace, is perfect for special events: picturesque and stunning. In the daytime, it's lively, but in the evening, it transforms into a royal palace where guests may enjoy a special wine and cuisine combination in the open air. The Chapel is another fascinating space; in medieval times, it was usually one of the first buildings constructed and played a crucial role in any fortress. When it rains or is too cold outside, guests may typically congregate in the Chapel before venturing to see the rest of the castle.

  • Wine tasting: Admission to the castle is $25, including sampling five of their wines in a medieval cellar. Guest also have the option of exploring the castle on their own. It costs $15 for kids and teens 8 to 20 years old (juice included). All guests under 21 must come with a visitor aged 21 or older.
  • Tour and tasting: The tour and tasting can be purchased together for $40 (or $30 for individuals aged 5–20). The tour begins in the Grand Hall, continues through the Chapel, the Courtyard, and the towers, and then enters the winery's fermentation and storage chambers, where visitors may learn about the winemaking process and the building's history.
  • Location: The address is 4045 N. St. Helena Way (Highway 29). The exit is on Highway 29 between St. Helena and Calistoga, two miles south of Calistoga.