In the heart of the Oltrepò Pavese in Santa Maria della Versa, Il Casale Denari, an ancient monastery founded in the 17th century, was reborn as a splendid and first Flower Resort in Italy in 2022.
Il Casale Denari has a long history that today is enriched by a new, romantic chapter thanks to the love of Alberto Bertuzzi Borgognoni and his wife Azzurra Scerni for this magical place. In fact, the property was born as an Augustinian monastery, which has always been devoted to viticulture, in a generous land, today famous for being the second area in Europe for the cultivation of the prized Pinot Noir.
At the beginning of the 1900s, the complex was bought by the Denari family, active in the silk, wine and wheat trade, and it is thanks to Duke Antonio Denari, a visionary entrepreneur, and his wife Ida de Ferrari that the Casale and the Oltrepò experience, for the first time, a period of great ferment. Antonio invests in the “Il Casale” wine label and, when “agriturismos” did not yet exist, he invents a space within the estate open to the public which he calls “Hostaria”. It’s a success.
We wanted to pass on the history of this place that is so special to us, to remember my family and create a new “home” for us and our guests.
(Azzurra Scerni and Alberto Bertuzzi Borgognoni)
Convinced of the oenological potential of Oltrepò Pavese, he founded the Istituto Italiano Spumante Classico together with Gancia, Carpenè, Contract, Ferrari and Antinori and fought for the protection of hill wines, so much so that today he is remembered as one of the most important figures in the world of Italian wine in the 20th century.
Alberto, Antonio’s maternal nephew, grows up with the memory of his grandfather’s exploits and values and begins to dream with his wife Azzurra of restoring the property to its former glory. After 5 years of renovations and a lot of hard work, Casale Denari finally reopens its doors in 2022, maintaining all the charm of its ancient walls, with the added comfort of a high-end relais.
During the works, Azzurra rediscovers an ancient passion, that of flowers, and is among the first entrepreneurs in Italy to create a Flower Farm, now housed inside the Casale, with the aim of respecting the rhythms of nature also in floral art. Azzurra, in addition to dedicating part of the land to the cultivation of her flowers, has also personally designed the green areas of the park and in particular those around the wonderful infinity pool, conceived to create beauty but also intimacy for the guests.
Thanks to a play of elevations, the swimming pool is, in fact, visible from the rooms overlooking the garden, but not from the guests who stop in summer enjoy the amazing belvedere for an aperitif or candlelight dinner. Just a small example of the care with which the structure was designed and, in particular, the 9 rooms that make up the hospitality offer. Go for the ones that can take advantage of the splendid terrace with arches on the first floor or the beautiful Blu Master Suite with large private balcony overlooking the pool.
Breakfast is served on the large terrace at the back of the farmhouse which, facing south, allows you to enjoy a wonderful morning sunlight under the umbrellas.
Thanks to the partnership with the Bertacchini family, restaurateurs in Oltrepò for generations, Azzurra and Alberto have also revived the Hostaria, now housed in the ancient stone cellars of the Casale monastery. Thus, advised by Alessandro Bertacchini, a splendid host, you will be able to try recipes based on the typical products of Oltrepò Pavese as well as its best wine labels.
The area is, in fact, known and appreciated for its white, red and sparkling wines, so much so that, in the 3 hectares of vineyards of the Casale, Alberto also produces an excellent Riesling and a Barbera. A further step forward in continuing the enhancement, started by his grandfather, of a territory in some ways still unexplored of our wonderful Italy.
The Casale, in addition to offering a spa with a relaxation area and the possibility of booking yoga sessions, wine tastings and floral workshops together with Azzurra (just follow the resort’s social networks to be informed about the many events organized), is also the perfect starting point to discover the Oltrepò Pavese by bicycle, among ancient villages, culinary experiences and beautiful landscapes.
Among the agricultural crops scattered in the Santa Maria della Versa area, those of Casale Denari stand out, whose grain is delivered every day to the nearby Voghera mills for the production of the “Oltrepò flour”, also used in the restaurant.
Il Casale Denari Flower Farm
Frazione Il Casale Denari 1
27047 Santa Maria della Versa, Pavia
Tel. +39 342 8508591
Rooms from 170 euro breakfast included
Hostaria by Canova
Tel. +39 333 2946809
Starters: 18 — 25 euro
First courses: 20 — 22 euro
Second courses: 25 euro
Tasting menu: from 70 euro wine included