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Editor’s Review: Borgo Pignano country estate – Tuscany Italy

Borgo Pignano

Located about 500 meters above sea level in the Tuscany hills, surrounded by picturesque rolling landscapes and countryside, Borgo Pignano is a stunning 750-acre country estate, comprising of a villa, country cottages, maisonettes and private apartments. At the heart of the estate lies the hamlet, the site of which dates back over two thousand years to Etruscan times and the 18th century villa.

Borgo Pignano

After a 90 minute drive from Pisa airport, we turned off the main road and along the kilometre-long private track and arrived at Borgo Pignano. We were greeted on arrival in the main villa by the Manager, who ensured a smooth check-in and showed us to our room. One of first things that strike you about Borgo Pignano is the peace and tranquillity, the perfect combination for a quiet relaxing retreat.

The villa has been beautifully restored to former glories and comprises fourteen rooms and suites, each decorated and fitted to enhance the tranquil ambiance of the area – technology and mod-cons which you expect to find in similar standard retreats (such as noisy air-conditioning units or televisions) are omitted, however this adds to the attraction and is certainly not to the detriment of the room. The rooms are furnished with antique furniture and original artworks which blend in beautifully with the stonework and terracotta flooring. Each room has its own en-suite bathroom complete with toiletries made from ingredients and scents organically-sourced from the estate. Our room, on the second floor of the villa, had superb unadulterated views of the Tuscany scenery which stretched for miles to the horizon.  Besides the suites, the villa houses common areas in which to relax, these include a library, billiard room, lounge area and courtyard.

Borgo Pignano

Having settled in, it was time for the evening meal in the Villa’s restaurant. Unable to narrow down the selection, we both opted for the A La Carte taster menu. This consisted of nine courses (with a couple of additional treats) of superb, tasty, delightful-looking food. All of which were made from fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, the majority of which were home-grown. The menu as a whole covered all possible tastes and palates: seafood, poultry, meat, pasta, and sweet-desserts were all included; all this combined together with a chilled bottle of wine (a superb choice by the sommelier) resulted in a very enjoyable dining experience.

After a comfortable night’s sleep, we awoke to see the stunning spectacle of mist rolling over the early morning countryside – truly inspirational. Breakfast was served in the courtyard at the centre of the villa. A delicious buffet of home-made honey and jams, cold meats and cheeses, freshly-baked breads and pastries, juices, eggs and bacon was a great way to start the day.

Borgo Pignano

Borgo Pignano prides itself on offering activities slightly different from the norm – painting classes, farm tours, wine tasting, Pilates, truffle hunting are a selection of what is on offer. During the morning, we took part in a horse-trek around the estate. The guide in attendance was informative and friendly; pointing out all aspects of the estate there was to see. The trek took us through the fields, woodlands, meadows and farmlands, past the livestock and orchards. It was a pleasant way to see the grounds at a nice leisurely pace.

Following the trek, we spent some time by the infinity pool. The terrace on which the pool stands is carved into the side of a limestone quarry and provides sublime views of the countryside. If swimming is not your thing, then you can simply lounge by the pool, taking in the sun, sipping a refreshing drink from the adjacent bar.

Borgo Pignano

Lunch was Al-fresco taken on the terrace overlooking the pool. Sat in a vine-covered pergola, we enjoyed more of the home-grown food, the mozzarella with fresh tomato and pasta dishes were delicious. This was another stunning location, one of many around the estate. In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to make our own pastas – one of the activities on offer. The class took place in the kitchen of the villa. It was very “hands-on”, kneading the dough, cutting and shaping the various pastas – resulting in tagliatelle, farfalle and ravioli being produced. Then came the tasting, served with various fresh sauces, the tuition must have been spot-on as the pasta was very good. In all, the lesson was thoroughly enjoyable and the chefs in attendance were very entertaining and helpful, it was a real treat.

As the sun set we climbed the tower in the main villa for stunning panoramic views, we could have spent more time sat there admiring the sunset and into stargazing, but it was time for one of two alternative dining evenings the hotel has each week: pizza night and barbecue night. The barbecue evening, which coincided with our stay, was brought inside and cooked and served in an old converted kitchen. Various meats were available – pork belly, beef, sausages and chicken, all roasted over an open hearth and served carvery style together with an assortment of salad and vegetables. This sociable occasion, gives the opportunity to converse with other guests, as well as enjoying the beautifully cooked meats.

The following morning, after another wonderful breakfast, we were given a guided tour of The Laboratories. We were shown how the honey is collected and prepared for consumption and the beeswax is used for candles. We were shown the work carried out by the herbalists, who came across as being very passionate about their work, be it preparing pouches of fragrant flowers or making the various toiletries enjoyed throughout the estate. As with all the staff, the guide was informative, willing to accept questions and extremely friendly.

The staff at Pignano are exemplary be they management, tour guides, waiting staff or voluntary help, they went above and beyond what was expected. An example of which, occured during the horse trek, we had lost a jumper somewhere along the route. By the evening we had it back in our possession, the guide had gone out again looking for and finding it.

There is so much more to Borgo Pignano than it simply being a hotel. The buildings are stunning – both inside and out. The scenery around the estate is second-to-none. The activities are varied and thoroughly enjoyable. With future development taking place on the estate, there is more reason to visit Borgo Pignano and it will leave you wanting to book again and again.