A thousand-year-old ode to Tuscan history.
Ferruccio Ferragamo's Italian nirvana, Il Borro hotel combines medieval charm with modern-day luxury.
Buried deep in the heart of verdant Tuscan Arno Valley, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, rests Il Borro, a stunning medieval village reformed into a luxurious retreat comprising a trickle of rental villas ideal for groups and families, and suites and apartments for cosy couples’ getaways.
Established in 1039, Il Borro served as a lookout point on the Roman road Cassia, where the Romans built a fort due to its strategic location. Records show that the Mascagni family owned the castle until 1254, when Marchese Borro Borri, a Milanese nobleman, bought the property. By 1512, the lands had passed through his family to Girolamo del Borro, and it was under the patronage of his son Alessandro, that the Il Borro we know today was established.
The Il Borro family eventually sold the estate and were succeeded by some of the most famous and revered families in Europe: the Medici dynasty, the Tornaquinci, the Torriani of Milan, the house of Waldemburg Hohenlohe, and the Savoy dynasty from 1904 onwards. Finally, when hunting in a Tuscan forest in 1985, Italian fashion magnate Ferruccio Ferragamo stumbled across the abandoned medieval ruins. In 1993 he bought the neglected ruins, the neighbouring grand villa, half-destroyed during the Second World War, and 1,730 acres of estate, determined to restore it to its former glory.
Now, the gorgeous hillside hamlet serves as a window overlooking unparalleled Tuscan history and warm Italian heritage, an oasis suspended between past and present, and a sanctuary dedicated to wellbeing and the art of hospitality. The ancient facades have been meticulously restored; and the interiors remodelled, retaining original features whilst incorporating elegant décor to portray the classic Tuscan style in every detail and furnishing. The oak and terracotta floors, mosaic walls, wooden window shutters, and handsome antique Italian style accentuate the property’s Tuscan charm.
The rooms are spread out across the estate surrounded by the family vineyards. For families or groups there are five farmhouses and three villas, one being the grand manor house, sleeping 10, with its own pool and Italianate gardens. The other 25 suites are housed in the hilltop village – linked to the estate by a stone bridge – which has been restored piece by piece by local craftsmen.
There’s a spa and several outdoor pools, and loads of activities to choose from, including horse riding and wine tasting. There are even eight artisan shops – from a shoemaker to a jeweller – and a church, presided over by the same priest since 1941. But the real draw is Il Borro’s gastro-destination, Osteria del Borro, one of the town’s two restaurants run by local chef Andrea Campani. Here, dishes are elegantly assembled behind glass screens, incorporating classic Tuscan ingredients and seasonal selections that never fail.
This all in all unique experience will transport you to the rustic ambiance of a bygone era deep within the Tuscan hillside.