La Tavernetta al Castello

The romantic gourmand refuge of the Golf Wine Resort & Spa Castello di Spessa

by Lavinia Colonna Preti
La Tavernetta al Castello (GO) — Friuli Venezia Giulia Secrets

In the Collio area of Gorizia, a romantic restaurant with a country chic mood housed within the park of Castello di Spessa and surrounded by the elegant greens of its golf club, between always lit fireplaces and expanses of uncontaminated greenery.

What makes a visit to Castello di Spessa so magical is precisely the fact that it has preserved, over the years, its Renaissance vocation as a cradle of the arts, a retreat for illustrious men and a privileged place for the sweet leisure of country life, primarily the finest winemaking mastery.

What makes the Tavernetta, its flagship restaurant, even more special today is that it is immersed in a magnificent 18-hole golf club – the entrance is, in fact, right in front of the elegant driving range overlooking the Castle – which it blends with the estate’s 100 hectares of vineyards.

La Tavernetta al Castello (GO) — Friuli Venezia Giulia Secrets
La Tavernetta al Castello (GO) — Friuli Venezia Giulia Secrets

I realized I was in a place where if the false seemed true, the true must seem like a dream…there where the soul is satisfied and the palate lights up.

(Giacomo Casanova)

The marvelous castle dating back to the 13th century, of which the Tavernetta is part, was for centuries the home of the lords of the Friulian nobility. Since the 16th century, in fact, many illustrious families have succeeded one another in its property: first the Dorinbergo and the Rassauer, then the powerful Della Torre Valsassina family, descendants of Charlemagne, who hosted many illustrious guests, from Giacomo Casanova fleeing from Venice to to Lorenzo Da Ponte, Mozart’s famous librettist.

In 1987, the heirs of Giorgio Stavro di Santarosa, the last owner who lived there, sold the estate to the entrepreneur Loretto Pali who began an impressive renovation and constant enhancement of the Castle, culminating in 2021 with the renovation of the large cellar technique where excellent wines are born, including its renowned Pinots.

La Tavernetta al Castello (GO) — Friuli Venezia Giulia Secrets

Today, the Golf Wine Resort & Spa continues to be looked after by the Pali family down to the smallest detail, thus carrying on its long tradition of “royal” hospitality. In addition to the rooms and suites located between the Castle, including the splendid suite dedicated to Giorgio Stavro of Santarosa, and various farmhouses with a country chic mood, the resort also offers the Vinum Spa with wine therapy, grappa therapy and honey therapy, all carried out using the estate’s products, and its Summer Club with swimming pool and outdoor jacuzzi, as well as three different restaurant options.

The jewel in the crown of the gastronomic offer of Castello di Spessa is the Tavernetta, the gourmet restaurant of the Resort, located in a rural building about 500 meters from the Castle, and characterized by a refined rustic context, with soft lights and stone walls, where the brigade lovingly talks about his Friuli, combining the best local products with technique and experimentation.

La Tavernetta al Castello (GO) — Friuli Venezia Giulia Secrets
La Tavernetta al Castello (GO) — Friuli Venezia Giulia Secrets

Here there is a true masterpiece of Friulian hospitality, as well as one of the most beautiful restaurant rooms in the region: it is the Sala Caminetto, a romantic corner suspended between an ancient hearth, lampshades with patrician coats of arms, and a very elegant mise en place.

On the menu, tradition is interpreted with lightness and taste, offering beautiful and tasty dishes such as confitted artichoke, burnt wheat panure, black garlic and parsley coulis, risotto with fermented lemon, tequila and rosemary, morsels of asado with red Castello, or the hare stew glazed with parsnip fondant and hints of mountain pine grappa, as well as the possibility of opting for the 4-course menu dedicated to Giacomo Casanova who stayed here in 1773.

La Tavernetta al Castello (GO) — Friuli Venezia Giulia Secrets

And if you have been captivated by the goodness of the Castle’s wines, you can book a wine tasting in the historic cellars of the manor or stop by the Wine Shop, where you can also find many other typical local specialties and products on the estate.

After lunch, to pay homage to its most illustrious guest, you can take a walk in the historic park surrounding the Castle where a romantic “literary walk” has been traced among centuries-old trees, flower beds, and balconies adorned with statues: 10 stages punctuated by book pages in wrought iron where Casanova’s phrases on love, women, friendship, life are engraved.

Truly one of the most magical experiences in Friuli Venezia Giulia.

The Secret

The wines of Castello di Spessa are aged in the medieval cellars and in the bunker dug under the complex during the Second World War, but discovered only in 1987 during the renovation of the manor. Located approximately 18 meters deep, at a constant temperature of 14°C, the bunker is the ideal place for refining the estate’s fine wines.

Useful Info

La Tavernetta al Castello
Via Spessa 7
34070 Capriva del Friuli, Gorizia
Tel. +39 0481 808228

Starters and first courses: 16 — 21 euro
Second courses: 22 — 28 euro, wine excluded
Rooms from 145 euro, suites from 335 euro

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