For some of us, the fantasy of owning a Tuscan villa is sufficiently romantic; if you’re more ambitious, however, you set your sights on something closer to an old-fashioned Tuscan principality. Enter Il Borro, the sprawling estate in San Giustino Valdarno that Ferruccio Ferragamo bought in 1993 and have since been developing into the Tuscan luxury hotel to end them all. Il Borro comprises no less than an acclaimed, hundred-plus acre vineyard and winery, vast groves of olive trees amidst the cypress and oaks, plenty of rolling green hills, three villas, another three lavish farmhouses and — here’s the real coup de grâce — an entire restored medieval village. Given the scope of the estate, it’s almost unnecessary to mention that it also contains tennis courts, a driving range and a football pitch, to name just the athletic facilities.
There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on the exact number of rooms here, but it’s somewhere around a couple dozen. Maybe the discrepancy between counts is inevitable when a “room” is something like the Casa al Piano farmhouse. It houses no less than four apartments, two on each floor, each of which can comfortably accommodate four people. One wonders whether a “room” that sleeps up to sixteen people is really just a room. In any case, the place is more than just the sum of its beds. The Casa al Piano has also got a full-sized pool, a private garden and a pool-view terrace with a twenty-seat dining table. To choose one of the other farmhouses is not so much to upgrade or downgrade, but to decide between, say, a quiet corner of the estate overlooking a burbling river and a location on a private road between tended fields and the Tuscan countryside.
It’s tempting to go on a tour here of every one of the villas, but let’s just take Il Borro, at the center of the estate. Built by a prince in 1848, it’s home to a traditional Italian garden that wraps around the villa, a heated pool, a fitness room, a Turkish bath, a sauna, a billiards table and outstanding views of the medieval village, to name some highlights. And about that village, it’s a remarkable restoration and remodel of a series of traditional Tuscan buildings, preserving as it should the original architecture while supplementing it with all the comforts of a modern luxury hotel — and, it hardly needs saying, many more.
Please note: The Farmhouse, Chiocci villa, and Casetta villa are located a short distance outside of town; the hotel recommends that guests rent a car for these bookings.
How to get there: Il Borro is approximately 12.5 miles (20 kilometers) from Arezzo and Montevarchi-Terranuova train stations. Florence Airport is approximately 30 miles (50 kilometers) from Il Borro.