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Just Back From...Tuscany

“If you’re after a romantic Italian break that will lift your soul and get your taste buds tingling the medieval estate of Il Borro in Tuscany will not disappoint.” –  explains our personal travel expert Joanne Mitchell.

Tuscany has so many beautiful places to stay – grand palazzo hotels, rustic farmhouses and intimate bed and breakfasts, but we’ve found a real gem tucked deep in the Chianti wine region where you can escape the crowds and experience a more authentic Tuscany from times gone by.

The medieval estate and village of Il Borro lies amidst its own vineyards and olive groves, surrounded by the three Italian beauties of Florence, Sienna and Arezzo. Owned by the famous Ferragamo shoe family, and part of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux group, it’s certainly a hotel with a difference.

The grand villa Il Borro sits at the edge of the village and houses 10 elegant bedrooms but the rest of the hotel’s suites are dotted throughout the medieval streets and squares of the village that have been restored back to their original glory. Remember to pack your flat shoes ladies as the cobbles can play havoc with your heels. Tucked down alleyways, perched over ancient gatehouses or overlooking the 15th century chapel, each suite is unique in size and décor and all ooze rustic charm.

Far from being a ghost town local artisans fill the space alongside you. You can mooch about the clothes and jewellery boutiques, pop into the shoe makers for a pair of fine Italian leather brogues or view the families very own fine art collection at the village gallery. If you want to be a bit more adventurous horse riding and mountain biking can be arranged through the 700 acre estate.

As you’d expect from a Relais & Chateau property one of the biggest draws is the food. Head chef Andrea Campani brings Italian flair and Tuscan traditions together in the gourmet Osteria del Borro found in the heart of the village. Take a cookery lesson with the head chef himself, taste the estates own wines, go truffle hunting or arrange a private tour of the kitchen gardens and bring back fresh veg and herbs for that evening’s menu.

The village café and bistro offer up more informal dining options and also serve breakfast daily, which is included in your stay. Most village suite also have catering facilities so you can test your newly learnt skills with a dish of your own with a fruity red as the sun sets over the Tuscan hills.

Joanne’s Top Tips

  • Great for food lovers and I’d definitely pre-book a cookery class. We made fresh Ragu sauce and a panzanella salad which was a real highlight of the trip.
  • A tour of the ancient wine cellars is also a must with the obligatory tasting at the end. The estates grow around 9 different varieties of grapes and the wine starts from a very reasonable 11 Euros a bottle.
  • I stayed in a beautiful first floor deluxe suite named ‘Nardi’ right in the heart of the village. The sunlight streamed in the large south facing windows and it had its very own terrace with views out over the olive groves. Its double room, cosy lounge and a little kitchen made it a very romantic hideaway. Suites in the village are on all different levels so if you’ve a problem with mobility then make sure you request a ground floor suite with easier access.
  • Jet2 fly weekly into Pisa from Newcastle through to the end of September so combine 5 nights at Il Borro with a 2 night city break in Pisa, Sienna or Florence. If you’re staying for a week I’d hire a car so you can really explore the area. September is a great month to travel if you want to horse ride, bike or do some walking as it’s a little less crowded and out of the –mid-summer heat.

Joanne visited Il Borro with luxury travel company Carrier. Speak to Joanne directly on joanne@travelb.co.uk or call her on 0191 272 6035 to find out more about staying in this beautiful property.

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