Far from the madding crowd, Borgo Pignano is a gem of a country house without the noise, the crowds and the pollution
If you love Italy but are leaning towards somewhere less crowded than Pisa, the answer is only 90 minutes’ drive away: the beautiful Borgo Pignano, a luxurious country retreat set in 750 acres of peaceful grounds without a pizza parlour or a souvenir vendor in sight.
Not only are all the buildings reassuringly upright, unlike Pisa’s, but the wall-to-wall tourists, traffic noise and pollution are a world away as you relax in the sought-after splendour of the Tuscan countryside.
The region is an established favourite of the wealthy in the UK – including a healthy percentage of Government politicians – and guests at even the finest of English country houses and hotels will often be heard to lament: “It’s perfect, but if only we could pick it up and put it down in Tuscany.”
As if some celestial giant had granted their wish, the Borgo Pignano, thankfully, is already there – and it offers all the grace and elegance of an English country house with the light, the warmth and the pizazz you’d expect from this blessed part of Italy.
The magnificent 18th Century villa has all the traditional trappings – the library, billiards room, music room, ballroom and grand stone staircase – and while all 16 rooms and suites have en-suite white marble and travertine bathrooms, some also feature original frescoes.
However, living in an 18th Century villa doesn’t mean you have to leave the good bits of the 21st Century behind, so you’ll find wi-fi throughout, a cinema and TV room, a yoga room, a gym, a glorious infinity pool, and the Villa Pignano restaurant.
Enviably positioned near the historic towns of Volterra and San Gimignano and the medieval cities of Florence and Siena, the estate also offers private maisonettes, cottages and a large lakeside farmhouse, all with their own kitchens.
And although many guests will go there specifically to do nothing, for a change, there is plenty to do for those who want it, including the chance to explore the organic farm, biodynamic kitchen gardens, olive groves, orchards, meadows, lakes, waterfalls and woodlands.
If that’s not enough, there are cooking classes, farm tours, painting classes, horse-riding lessons and treks, Pilates, wine tasting, truffle hunting, farm tours, honey-making, and children’s activities including swimming, nature trails, candle-making, pizza-making, arts and crafts.
Away from Borgo Pignano, there are alabaster workshops, Etruscan museums and panoramic views at nearby Volterra, while the medieval town of San Gimignano with its famous hilltop towers is half an hour away.
Borgo Pignano – How and when
More information on the delights of Borgo Pignano at www.borgopignano.com
About Jon McKnight