The Valcastello Chateau & Polo Club, located between Innichen (Italian: San Candido) and Toblach (Italian: Dobbiaco), in the South Tirol region of Northern Italy, is the only permanent resort in the Italian Alps where polo-playing members and other guests can play snow polo throughout the winter. Built on the ruins of an ancient castle, the property has belonged to the Countess d’Acquarone’s family since 1910. In 2013, Kico and Chantal Schettino d’Acquarone opened the polo club to commercial guests. Now it is welcoming all standards of polo players, from experienced polo-playing members and their guests, to novice riders wanting an introduction to the sport.
Kico Schettino: “There is a long history of snow polo in the area of Valcastello. The second tournament played on snow in the Alps after St. Moritz was in Toblach on the lake of Landro. Whenever Chantal and I returned home to Chantal‘s family castle near the lake of Landro we used to go for long rides and family chukkas on snow after or before the ski. We had so many friends coming to play that we decided to set up the first and only permanent snow polo club in the Alps. Our vision is to give to polo and non-polo players the unique experience to play polo on snow while skiing in the Dolomites, enjoying Italian food in the area with the highest number of starred restaurants of Italy and staying at Valcastello, a former royal residence.”
The Valcastello Chateau & Polo Club is less than a half-hour drive from the famous ski resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo, which is featured in the famous thrilling ski chase sequence in the James Bond movie “For Your Eyes Only”. Located in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the chateau sits in a private 20-hectare estate flanking the verdant woods of Alta Pusteria and offers magnificent views of the famous Dolomites mountain range. While playing polo remains central to Valcastello, 1,200 km of downhill ski slopes and cross-country alpine trails extend from Valcastello’s doorstep. Grand historic suites and rooms are set in the elegant 19th century mansion.
The polo club has an all-season polo field and a stable of handy polo ponies with gear. The snow polo arena field measures 110 x 60 metres. Different levels and types of chukkas can be organised ranging from fun, friendly chukkas to more serious practice chukkas for advanced players. Kico Schettino: “We have already hosted polo ladies players such as Vestey and Tomlinson and due to the international size of Valcastello‘s arena the Italian Polo Federation will be including Valcastello Polo Club as one of the official location for snow polo tournaments.”