For beautiful wine, history, luxury, and large helping of fairy-tale magic, there is no better place to visit than Castello Banfi in the quiet countryside of Montalcino, in the Province of Siena. Their estate of vineyards, olive groves and 7 artificial lakes spanning a whopping 3,000 hectares stretching out as far as the eye can see, can be admired from their hospitality and accommodation, which, not like any old hotel, is in fact located in a 12th Century castle, and has suites in the neighbouring medieval hamlet buildings, which is apt, because Banfi is a veritable village of delights. There’s a swimming pool, multiple terraces for reading and relaxation (our favourite was the peaceful and picturesque rose garden often used for parties and wedding receptions) and even a wine museum with artefacts found in the castle. There are also two restaurants on site, La Taverna (for lunch) and Sala di Grappoli (for dinner) where you can enjoy exquisite dishes from melanzane alla parmigiana to duck ravioli washed down with a glass of your favourite Banfi wine, which can also be bought at the perfectly appointed wine shop – though it’s difficult to pick when Banfi produce around 30 sumptuous labels, as well as other products such as olive oil and balsamic vinegar. One of their top wines is their Brunello di Montalcino, which is the wine that gave the name to Brunello – the friendly donkey down by Banfi’s farmhouse “Collupino” – who is sure to come out of his hut to say hello if you pay him a visit! That is of course after you’ve been on a winery tour, where you can see how wine is produced on an industrial scale, with high end technology, a cellar that houses 7000 barriques, and the largest Italian wine barrels you’ve ever seen, which are transported between underground and over ground in, again, the largest lift you’ve ever seen! Also, don’t miss at the whale remains (yes, a whale!, that has been lovingly named Brunella) at the end of the tour, which was discovered in Banfi’s fields in 2007 and is currently being studied onsite, allowing archaeologists to learn about a 4 million years old eco-system!