What do you think of when dreaming of a trip to Tuscany? Delicious gelato, incredible panoramic views, stone villages perched high on the hills? Absolutely.
Borgo Pignano is a 5* Tuscan property housed in an ancient village and sitting on a breathtaking 750 acre estate that produces 70% of all produce consumed within the hotel. I stayed here with my friend Yasmin for 3 nights in May and it was everything I dreamt of and more.
The hotel was easy to find, we flew into Pisa (much cheaper than flights to Florence) and picked up our hire car from the airport, we used Noleggiare as the car rental company (through Rentalcars.com) and were very pleased with the service and car, and headed straight towards the Tuscan countryside. The journey was simple, it took around an hour and 15 minutes and the further away you get from Pisa, the better the views get!
We turned down a well signposted gravel road to find ourselves at the hotel, it was around 8:15 in the evening and we had made it just in time for sunset. We parked up and were in a hurry, were had around 15 minutes to get the best of the sunset, we were lucky that the front of house manager was there at the exact right time so we left him with the car keys and our bags whilst he told us to run and catch the beautiful views.
We are so glad we made it in time, the property has beautiful grounds and a stunning outdoor bar and terrace situated on the hillside above the pool area, this faces south west so it is perfectly placed to sit and watch the sunset with a delicious cocktail or glass of Tuscan wine in hand. We were greeted with a tasty lavender gin cocktail and we plonked ourselves down as the sun blinked behind the hills.
Check in was smooth and we were shown to our beautiful suite which was located on the third floor of the main villa, this was our ‘suite with charm’ and the name was just perfect. Our room was very spacious with a king size bed, spacious living area, dressing area and a large bathroom with a freestanding roll-top bath.
Thanks to the shutters and the isolated location on the top floor, we had the BEST sleep, woken only by the sound of birdsong in the morning.
The next day we woke up and arrived downstairs to a wonderful breakfast buffet spread (eggs cooked to order were also available). After loading my plate up with yoghurt, fruit and croissants, I took a seat on the terrace so I could enjoy breakfast with a typical Tuscan view.
We decided to take a stroll around the grounds and were shown around some of the other rooms and villas. We also took a peek at the multiple common areas such as the lounges, games room and sprawling library.
We were lucky enough to evade the forecasted rain (Europe seemed to be under a huge area of low pressure during our visit) so we put our swimmers on and spent a few hours poolside. I don’t usually take trips where I have time for relaxation so I immersed myself in every moment of quiet time.
The pool is a large infinity size swimming pool that boasts panoramic countryside views, I couldn’t imagine anywhere better to take in the sunset. There are sun beds, umbrellas and towels all provided for you so you only need to show up with yourself and some SPF.
After our time poolside we headed back up to our suite to shower and freshen up, the clouds were starting to gather and at around 4pm we were treated to a huge thunderstorm and some heavy rain. It only lasted an hour and as it started to clear we decided to get into the car and take a trip into Volterra, the closest town to Borgo Pignano.
We had a wander around Volterra, a medieval mountaintop town with a history dating back to before the 8th century BC. Visitors will find a warren of narrow streets that lead up to the beautiful Piazza dei Priori, it’s also home to one of Tuscany’s most impressive Etruscan museums with exhibits spreading across a number of floors. We stopped to have an ice cream, well… Yasmin had an ice cream and I had a Nutella crepe, both were delicious!
We went back to Borgo Pignano in time for sunset and ate in Villa Pignano, the hotel’s delightful gastronomic restaurant. Much of the food served here is homegrown and reared within the estate, even the oil that is served with your bread. Chef Stefano Cavallini uses cooking techniques that preserve and emphasise the essence of each individual ingredient whilst aiming to remain simple in presentation and detailed in taste.
After a restful sleep we woke up to another beautiful breakfast before taking some photos of the property and heading down towards the stables where the horses are kept. Whilst we went down just to admire them, guests can go horseback riding through the grounds or take lessons. Other activities include sunset treks with an aperitivo stop at the “Prosecco Rock” to soak up the beautiful views before returning.
We had another pretty relaxing day (this never happens), some sunbathing, a buggy tour around the grounds, another nap and then a little more sun. We pondered the idea of popping into Siena, but to be honest, the relaxation is so rare for us we decided to stay at the hotel because we knew the next few days would be non stop.
Siena is around a 45 minute drive from Borgo Pignano so it makes a very pleasant and easy day trip, I have attached some photos from my time here from January. San Gimignano is another gorgeous Tuscan town, smaller than Siena but also easily done as a day trip as there is so much to see in this compact space, and only 25 minutes drive away!
Other day trips include Florence which is an hour by car, Pisa which is also an hour by car, Lucca (amazing for wine!) is around an hour and a half away and lastly, the Val d’Orcia an hour and a half away always.
Prices at Borgo Pignano start at £297 per night
Things to do
Florence Wine Tasting and Tuscan Lunch in a Vintage Fiat 500
Head over to Florence before embarking on a colourful vintage Fiat 500 tour through the Tuscan countryside. The four hour trip includes tastings of the finest Tuscan wines and olive oils, as well as a delicious lunch of Italian delicacies.
Please bear in mind it is the tourist who drives, so you must be confident in driving a manual car, the cars drive in convey so help is never far.
Siena Walking Tour
Head into the beautiful city of Siena and learn more about its history during a small group walking tour. The tour visits some of the city’s most recognisable sites such as the Piazza del Campo, Palazzo Pubblico, Basilica of San Domenico, and Duomo.
Hot Air Balloon Flight
Enjoy breathtaking views over the rolling Tuscan countryside from the basket of a hot air balloon. Rising up to an altitude of 2000 ft, travellers will experience the magic of flying over San Casciano in Val di Pesa, the gateway into the world-famous wine region of Chianti.
Enjoy a delicious breakfast spread upon landing, served with a refreshing glass of champagne.
Visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Avoid long entry lines and reserve a timed spot to visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Cathedral. Pisa is just over a one hour drive from Borgo Pignano and is home to one of the most well-known towers in the world which was constructed over 199 years almost 1000 years ago.
Truffle hunting with wine and lunch
Head over to San Gimignano and embark on an epic truffle hunting experience (alongside three beautiful dogs) in a beautiful oak forest. A professional guide is helped by an English translator to show you how to hunt both black and white truffles before enjoying a typical Tuscan lunch made with the best local produce and paired wines.
Half day vespa tour with lunch
Set off from San Gimignano on a vespa and explore some of the best of the Tuscan countryside before enjoying a wonderful lunch and wine tasting in a local winery. This small off the beaten track trip takes you away from the crowds so you can enjoy your trip in peace.
Train bookings in Europe: Trainline
Car hire: RentalCars
Hotel bookings: Booking.com
Airport transfers: Kiwi taxis
Book trips and attractions: Getyourguide
Holiday home rentals: Vrbo