Why should I go now?
Tuscany is always beautiful, but especially so when basking in firey Autumnal hues, the ground scattered with crispy orange and red leaves. Set in the hills between Volterra and San Gimignano, boutique hotel Borgo Pignano is remote and staggeringly beautiful – the perfect place to disappear for a few days, especially when the hotel is nearing the end of its season (the hotel closes early November and reopens in April). If you’re lucky, you can go the whole day without spotting a single other person.
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What’s the lowdown?
Just over an hour’s drive from Florence, Borgo Pignano is 750-acre estate encompassing 15 rooms, 12 cottages and apartments, an organic farm and various workshops that produce everything from the hotel’s sustainable bath products and candles to the jars of honey and jam that you find at breakfast. A gorgeous 18th century villa sits at the centre of the property surrounded by gardens and forest land, with the main swimming pool carved into the original quarry stone of the hillside.
Once a hilltop hamlet, the property has been lovingly restored to preserve its original grandeur and romance. The rooms are decorated with painted frescos, patterned textiles and antique furnishings. In the evenings, guests are invited for drinks in the living room where the in-house mixologist makes cocktails whilst waiters circulate paired canapés. It feels old-world in the very best sense, fostering an atmosphere of earthy, cosy luxury in which guests are treated like old friends rather than moving bank cards.
Meals are generally served in the main villa’s dining room, with a menu featuring local and organic ingredients which are grown on site including dishes such as herb-filled goat’s cheese salad with pollen from the estate’s honeycomb. Guests are encouraged to freely roam the farm to learn more about the hotel’s sustainable efforts, and can also pick up walking routes from reception to further explore the surrounding landscape. There’s also an art gallery on site with contemporary exhibitions and a spa that offers treatments using natural remedies such as flowers, herbs, plant extracts, oils and honey.
Located in the main villa, our room was once the bedroom of the marchesa with an adjoining single bedroom for her child. Elegantly and simply furnished with a large four-poster curtained bed, wooden shutters and stone tiled floors, it was a unique and calming space. We especially loved the hidden doors, painted to blend in with the walls.
The swimming pool isn’t heated so the water is very cold at this time of year, but we very much enjoyed a bracing swim before breakfast. It’s also worth remembering to pack a few jumpers as the evenings get quite chilly.
Rates from: €220 in low season with breakfast included (approx. £200/ $250)
Book your stay: borgopignano.com