Il Borro Bridge

Stone by stone, local craftsmen restored the Medieval drawbridge leading to the craggy hamlet of Il Borro, the very bridge Leonardo da Vinci immortalized over the left shoulder of the Mona Lisa. As the bridge epitomizes, the rich history of Il Borro winds back 1,000 years, its layers palpable in the painstaking restoration undertaken by Ferruccio Ferragamo—son of the famous Florentine shoemaker Salvatore—who bought the 700-acre estate in 1993. Recently reimagined as a Relais & Chateaux hotel, Il Borro remains centered on the Medieval village, or borgo, perched at the foot of the venerable Pratomagno mountain range, overlooking the Upper Valdarno and the carving passage of the Arno river. Unlike a standalone hotel, regal rooms pepper the estate, as do the historic machinations of the borgo with its artisan workshops and parish church. A stay at Il Borro—as TCCG Founding Principal, Morgan Bruemmer found—is truly a transcendent experience, a sensuous immersion in both Tuscan history and modern luxury, in international service executed with Italian panache. Here, Morgan shares the ideal itinerary for a short stay at Il Borro, now a featured property in TCCG’s International Collection.

VENERDÌ (Friday)

City escape

Centrally sited, Il Borro sits within a short drive from Italy’s main cities: Rome, Siena, San Gimignano, Arezzo and Florence. Our adventure begins in the latter, on the bustling Borgo Ognissanti, best known as the rental-car hub but also home to an authentic pasticceria, Piccioli.

After a quick sfoglia con crema (breakfast pastry) and cappuccino, pick up a rental car and make your way by bucolic backroads to Il Borro. While the A1 interstate offers the most direct route, we recommend spending 90 minutes meandering through the countryside.

Winding Tuscan Road
Il Borro Gate
The Borgo from Above

Educational repast

After checking in and depositing your bag in one of the spacious suites—tastefully appointed in Italian antiques alongside modern amenities—head straight to the tasting kitchen, where the Il Borro chefs share the secrets of Tuscan cuisine. Loyalists to local, seasonal produce, the chefs lead daily cooking classes for both lunch and dinner, with Il Borro wine pairings complementing each culinary creation. If you arrive early, you can join the chef as he shops the local market, dairies and farms. Whatever meal you master, savor the flavors amid the Tuscan sunset, while sipping the stunning Il Borro varietals harvested and bottled on-site.

A Sumptuous Suite
Tuscan Tasting Kitchen

SABATO (Saturday)

Elegant nourishment

Rise and shine to the gracious breakfast served in the Tuscan Bistro, the more informal gourmet outpost located on the ground floor. With an open wine cellar and understatedly sophisticated décor, the bistro starts the day off on an elegant foot.

Medieval morning

Spend the morning exploring the borgo. Set on a rocky spire, the former fortress affords views of the Valdarno, below. Though the castle no longer stands, many of the Medieval buildings do, including a coterie of workshops. Be sure to stop in and visit with the artisans, masters of centuries-old trades, be it cobbling or goldsmithing. Another charming element of the village is the mechanized nativity scene lovingly crafted by a post-war parish priest.

The Tuscan Bistro, A Tuscan Vacation.
Exploring the Medieval Village
Visiting Il Borro's Artisans, A Tuscan Vacation.

Horseback picnic

After your morning on foot, in town, let the Il Borro stables shepherd you into the countryside. The two-hour English-style ride covers much of the agrarian estate—lush with vineyards and orchards—an en plein air experience that ends with a leisurely picnic.

Terroir tour

Culture infuses every element of Il Borro, including its viniculture. As such, the singular Il Borro tour lends insight into both the estate art collection and wine cellars. In the Galleria del Borro, Ferruccio Ferragamo shares his private collection of historical engravings of wine making through an exhibition, aptly titled Vino&Arte. Collectively, the 67 drawings, spanning the 15th to 19th centuries, feature “wine in all of its manifestations,” from the mythology to the mundane and Bacchanal. Even Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol have a place in the presentation. After this aesthetic immersion, the tour continues into the wine cellar and its stock of fine Italian and international wines, including the most prized bottles produced by the Il Borro winery since 1999. The tour closes with charcuterie served at the cellar’s communal table.

Il Borro's Stables, A Tuscan Vacation.
Gallery Il Borro, A Tuscan Vacation.
Il Borro's Wine Cellars, A Tuscan Vacation.
A Charcuterie Plate to Finish the Day

Unwinding wellness

La Corte Spa Pool, A Tuscan Vacation.

After taking in so much, let yourself unwind in the La Corte Spa, a sanctuary of bespoke spa treatments spanning both natural and clinical approaches. Housed inside one of the estate’s classical Tuscan buildings, the spa melds serenity with luxury. After your treatment, be sure to lounge beside the infinity pool.

Edible elegance

As a delectable denouement to the day, dine at the Osteria del Borro, the culinary showpiece of the estate, hovering above the borgo. With an emphasis on local sourcing, each dish becomes an homage to the culinary art of Tuscany, such as the estate-raised squab, a must. The squab—the best Morgan has ever tasted. The sophisticated space centers around the sleek open kitchen and large artisanal oven, drawing the focus to the chef’s finesse. Meanwhile, the walls of windows and expansive terrace encourage appreciation of the stunning site. Savor the moment by capping your dinner with a stroll around the formal Italian gardens surrounding the Osteria.

An Italian Meal Cooked to Perfection at La Osteria del Borro

DOMENICA (Sunday)

Sporty start

Begin the day with a round of golf on Il Borro’s charming three-hole course, with each hole wending its way through the verdant countryside. Lessons are available. Three laps makes nine!

Venture off

Thus invigorated, go explore the Val di Chiana through one of Il Borro’s curated tours. Morgan recommends visiting—via the breathtaking Valle del Casentino—nearby Arezzo, famed for its Piero della Francesca frescoes. On the way back to Il Borro, cruise through Cortona – the main tourist attraction of the Val de Chiana. Other excursion possibilities include a Chianti wine tour and truffle hunting.

Fond farewell

Before you depart, savor one last cappuccino at Vin Café, Il Borro’s modernist outpost. Sheathed in glass, the casual contemporary eatery serves lunch, tea and wine amid a convivial ambiance amid the borgo. Thus refueled for your return journey, the bittersweet goodbyes begin. Though blessed by the past 36 hours, one weekend at Il Borro is never enough.

Farewell Letter and Pen

To speak to our villa reservation experts about your Il Borro stay, please call at (877) 427-3400

 — Cover image courtesy of Crown & Caliber: crownandcaliber.com