This 14th century castle is home to a not-for-profit association called Reading Retreats in Rural Italy, and it does exactly what it says on the tin. I went for a week with my boyfriend and we simply slept, ate, read and had fun. I found it in the Rough Guide.
The castle is run by an eccentric young American called Clark, who helps to make the whole experience entertaining and has quite a knack for involving you in the special little world of Galeazza.
Everything is clean and comfortable, your booze and meals are included in the price and they even cater well for vegetarians, such as myself. You are expected to help out a bit around the place – it’s not a hippie comune but it is group living, with shared bathrooms, shared meals and conversation with guests and visitors the main diversion (no TVs, just 3,000 books).
There are usually events like parties or exhibitions or music on at the weekend but I didn’t get to have this. There’s a nice garden to loll about in and a forest to walk in.
There’s a fairly ugly town 10 minutes’ walk away for buying cigarettes or ice-cream, but the bus service from outside the gates brings you to the train station for Bologna, Florence, Verona etc.
I visited Ferrara while I was there and found it to be a lovely city.
I’d really recommend the castle to social types who are into books or gardening and want a proper break from reality.