A short drive from Florence in the verdant hills of Tuscany’s “Senese” territory, Borgo Pignano is an eco-chic hideaway that combines rustic countryside charm with attentive and gracious five-star service. Set upon a sprawling 750-hectare estate and Natural Reserve, the borgo is home to quaint cottages, thick woods, vegetable gardens and animals, making it a popular retreat for a romantic getaway, creative retreat or family reunion.
The hotel lies a short distance from some of the region’s most popular towns, including Volterra and San Gimignano, and only one hour from the sea – with the Tuscan coastline visible in the horizon. But with a myriad of experiences on the property, guests can easily spend days enjoying tailor-made activities without leaving the estate.
An ecological and sustainability ethos guides everything at Borgo Pignano, where you can learn about beekeeping, make your own soap, try out aerial yoga or go horseback riding in the countryside. And upon checking in, all guests receive a map of walking and hiking trails. You can explore far-flung corners of the property before returning for a dip in the award-winning panoramic swimming pool, carved out of tufa rock with spectacular views of the valley below.
Borgo Pignano is a property that transmits a real sense of place and is committed to protecting, and promoting, the surrounding territory: it serves locally grown fruits and vegetables, hires mostly locals from nearby towns and outfits each room with organic lavender amenities (hand-crafted on-site). Nearly everything you see has been sourced at an antique market and has a story to tell, from the furniture and decorative works of art to structural elements like wrought-iron gates and doorways.
The focal point of Borgo Pignano is the stately 18th century villa that lies at the center of the estate. Originally owned by the noble Incontri family, it is an opulent home with painted ceilings, grand staircases and sitting rooms that lend the property an enviably homey feeling. Inside, you can play pool in the billiard room, sift through hundreds of books at the library or try your hand at painting in the art room.
The villa is home to a dozen suites that are at once bohemian and elegant, with stand-alone bathtubs, bed canopies, oil paintings and gilded mirrors. The Music Room, with a frescoed bathroom, working fireplace and grand piano, is one of the most popular suites on property. Guests can also rent a number of cottages dotted around the grounds that sleep larger groups.
Borgo Pignano’s charm lies in its ability to transmit the experience of living in a home, a balance that not all luxury properties manage to strike. Here you’re not just a guest, you’re treated like a member of the family and conviviality is an integral part of the experience, from the warmth of the staff to mingling with other guests. At the informal indoor restaurant, guests sit around a shared table and can enjoy dishes like pappardelle with wild boar, vegetable ribollita soup and a Bistecca alla Fiorentina T-Bone steak – freshly seared in the fireplace warming up the room.
For those looking for a more private and upscale experience, the gourmet Villa Pignano restaurant offers three tasting courses with traditional dishes served in a contemporary way. The restaurant is helmed by chef Vincenzo Martella and draws inspiration from his roots in Puglia, a region with a culinary tradition that is well-suited to reinterpret Tuscan cuisine. The vegetarian menu is particularly impressive, with dishes like a colorful pici pasta with herbs and vegetables from the garden, asparagus with almonds and saffron and a daisy-shaped dessert with lemon and basil.