Since first deciding to spend our Anniversary in Napa, I knew Castello di Amorosa was the one winery I HAD to visit.
As a true replica of a medieval castle, it took 14 years to build. The masonry, ironwork, and woodwork, were all hand crafted using old world techniques. Building materials included 8,000 tons of locally quarried stone, in addition to paving stones, terra cotta roofing tiles, and approximately 850,000 bricks imported from Europe.
Many authentic features were included while building the castle. For instance, there is a moat, a drawbridge, defensive towers, a courtyard, a chapel, and a torture chamber!
I knew it was going to be an amazing tour.
I absolutely fell in LOVE with all of the doors. There is just something about huge, thick, wooden doors, that speaks to my soul. LOVE THEM!
Even the smallest details were seen to.
The tour took us into the lower levels of the castle. This was when I asked our tour guide if he was leading us to a room full of hungry vampires!!! His reply was............."You never know!" OK! Major EERIE feeling! LOL!
We walked down long hallways.
Passed, hundreds of barrels of wine.
And, caught glimpses of a room, filled with old bottles, that were locked behind an iron gate.
Then, we entered this room!
Ya know, the typical room, where the knights would store their weapons, and armor.
Except, this room had a grate, covering a hole in the ground. Curious to see what was in the hole, I looked between the iron grid work, and saw this.
A visual display of what people endured, deep in the bowels of castles everywhere!
Hmmmm! Makes you wonder what's in the next room!
(Mommy? Why don't kids ever want to come and play at our house anymore?)
This is a 300 year old "Iron Maiden" torture device. Dario Sattui, the owner of Castello di Amorosa, is said to have purchased it in Pienza, Italy, for $13,000 dollars.
It consists of an iron cabinet, with a hinged front, that is tall enough to enclose a human being. It usually has a small closeable opening so that the torturer can interrogate the victim, and torture or kill them, by piercing the body with sharp objects (such as knives, spikes or nails), while he or she is forced to remain standing.
I guess it wasn't all bad, it appears they offered their own medieval form of acupuncture to help relieve some of the pain afterwards. The prisoners had their choice of the table, or a chair to relax in while the went through the procedure.
Almost through the room now, stay close please, we don't want to lose anyone down here. Sometimes, it's takes hours for us to find them again!
OH LOOK! More barrels! And, long halls!
This is the barrel cellar, we stopped here for a mini tasting. Good thing, too, after all the horrors we imagined happening in the last room! We all needed a nice, long, sip.
Our tour guide, siphoning wine, straight out of the barrel.
From there, the group was ushered to it's own private tasting area.
Where our wonderful tour guide poured whatever we chose to try.
This is also where he pulled out the dark chocolate with sea salt, and I thought I had died and gone to heaven! They had worked with the Le Belge Chocolatier company to come up with special packaging of the chocolate bars, so that they had a picture of a castle on the front of them. You can also find the chocolate bars on the Le Belge Chocolatier website. They are considered one of the artisan bars.
The tasting room was combined with a gift shop. They had so many treasures to look at.
But, we tried to control ourselves, since this was our first day visiting wineries.
We only purchased a few bottles of wine.
OHHH! And, six dark chocolate with sea salt candy bars! =)
By this time, we were pretty tired of walking, and hungry for some "real" food. So we went out the side doors, and headed toward the parking lot.
Of course, I had to take a couple more shots of the castle as we made our way down the path.
It was truly AWESOME to see! Definitely worth signing up for the tour.
One more beautiful winery checked off the list. Several more to go!