Borgo PignanoLuxury Villa in Tuscany
Standing sentry over a sea of Tuscan hills, the estate of Pignano has quite a history. Inhabited since 900BC, it’s witnessed war, peace, plague and prosperity, and even a stint as a medieval hospital. Today its main focus is relaxation, thanks to a decade-long restoration that has seen it transformed into a sumptuous and spoiling retreat.
At the hotel’s heart is a rambling old villa, whose ramparts enclose 16 frescoed rooms and suites, plus an elegant restaurant; dotted around are a variety of cottages and maisonettes. But that’s not all. If you fancy lazy days doing very little, you’ll find cypress-scented lawns, fire-warmed lounges, and a sparkling pool carved into a former limestone quarry. If you’d prefer a bit of activity, there are music and billiards rooms, a yoga hall, a lake, horses to ride, and art and cookery classes to sample. There’s also a biodynamic garden that produces everything from the veg and honey used in the kitchen to the herbs which infuse the in-room soaps. Beyond, the walled towns of Volterra and San Gimignano tempt with their towers and trattorias. It’s a very special place indeed.
The restaurant is a serene, vaulted space overlooking the garden – the kind of spot where you could happily linger for hours. We were treated to fresh, zingy flavours at every meal – for breakfast, a buffet of lavender-infused honey, homemade jams, juices and just-baked bread; for lunch, pasta with a medley of tomatoes, followed by silky olive-oil ice-cream. Once a week, staff organise a pizza night in the grounds or a roast in the old medieval kitchen. Our stay coincided with the latter, and we gorged ourselves on flame-grilled pork while chatting to other guests in front of a blazing hearth.
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The main villa houses 16 rooms and suites, all elegantly dressed in antiques and Italian linens. Some have frescoed walls, others ornate fireplaces or terracotta floors, and a few come with additional beds for children. All are spacious and sumptuous, with marble- or travertine-clad ensuites, though it’s worth choosing one with a tub so you can wallow in the fragrant bath soak made on site using home-grown herbs and lavender.
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- Stroll or cycle around the estate (there are bikes for hire), play boules, then loll by the pool with a book from the library and a tipple from the bar
- Tour the biodynamic garden, then visit the lab to see how its produce is turned into honey, aromatic soaps and more
- Ride Borgo Pignano’s horses (lessons and guided treks are available), book a yoga or Pilates session, or head to the kitchen to learn how to make pasta and bread with the chef
- Art classes, in-room massages, wine-tasting, truffle hunting (in season) can all be arranged, too
- Drive a few km to the walled town of Volterra. Wander its atmospheric ramparts and cobbled alleys, then linger over lunch in the alabaster-clad piazza.
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Borgo Pignano sits in the Tuscan countryside, halfway between the historic towns of Volterra and San Gimignano. It’s around an hour’s drive from Pisa and Florence, and 40 minutes from Siena.
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