“Opulent yet informal hotel plus maisonettes and cottages for 2-13, spread across an idyllic 750-acre estate between Volterra and San Gimignano”
The main villa houses 16 rooms and suites, all elegantly dressed in antiques and Italian linens. Some have frescoed walls, others ornate fireplaces or terracotta floors, and a few come with additional beds for children. All are spacious and sumptuous, with marble- or travertine-clad ensuites, though it’s worth choosing one with a tub so you can wallow in the fragrant bath soak made on site using home-grown herbs and lavender.
We were lucky enough to bag one of the Signature Suites - a sprawling set of rooms gazing out over the countryside. We slept blissfully in our canopied bed, and awoke to a magical view of mist shrouding the hills.
The maisonettes and cottages are simpler in style but just as beautiful. Some sit in outhouses next to the main hotel, others in the meadows a few minutes’ walk away. Our favourites were Il Granaio, a 2-bedroom apartment with soaring ceilings and a roof terrace, and Casa del Lago Cottage, a romantic lakeside hideaway for 2-4. There’s also a large farmhouse called La Fonte, which is divided into clusters of connecting rooms for 2-13 and offers flexibility for groups.
The restaurant is a serene, vaulted space overlooking the garden - the kind of spot where you could happily linger for hours. We were treated to fresh, zingy flavours at every meal - for breakfast, a buffet of lavender-infused honey, homemade jams, juices and just-baked bread; for lunch, pasta with a medley of tomatoes, followed by silky olive-oil ice-cream. Once a week, staff organise a pizza night in the grounds or a roast in the old medieval kitchen. Our stay coincided with the latter, and we gorged ourselves on flame-grilled pork while chatting to other guests in front of a blazing hearth.
Before your meal, we recommend lounging on the terrace with one of bartender Pietro's wonderful creations. Just let him know your tastes and he’ll magic up a bespoke cocktail garnished with herbs from the garden. Ours contained thyme, prosecco and orange liquor, and made a wonderful start to our evening.
If you’re staying in a maisonette or cottage, you can self-cater in your fully equipped kitchen (shared with other guests if you’ve booked a set of rooms in La Fonte), or wander up to the restaurant; breakfast is included in the rates.
Despite the air of romance that pervades Borgo Pignano, children are warmly welcomed. Accommodation options suit all shapes and sizes of family, with plenty of space for kids to roam without disturbing other guests. What’s more, the friendly multilingual staff go out of their way to make sure parents and their offspring feel at home, and an early-evening babysitting service is available.
There are great organised activities, with an emphasis on freedom of expression and creativity inspired by Steiner and Montessori. These include guided nature walks introducing children to the flora and fauna of the estate (there are beehives, a waterfall, meadows and woodland), pizza-making, and arts and crafts sessions.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
Many of the rooms and suites in the main villa have additional bedrooms, space for extra beds, or sofabeds for 1-2 children. If you want a bit more flexibility, choose one of the maisonettes or cottages. They come in a range of sizes and bedroom configurations, and most have a combination of twin and double rooms that work well for those travelling with kids. The sets of rooms in La Fonte are handy for those staying with another family or grandparents, and many have kids’ sleeping areas on mezzanines.
Babysitting in the evenings is available with a bit of notice.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
There’s no set kids’ menu in the restaurant, but the friendly staff will happily tailor dishes to young tastebuds; the pizza nights are particularly popular with children, and they can help make the dough or create their own toppings. Alternatively, the kitchens in the maisonettes and cottages have everything you need for cooking full family feasts. Note that a babysitting service is offered from 6.30-9.30pm, so parents can dine à deux while their offspring enjoy a separate kids' meal.
The pool isn’t fenced, and it’s reached via a steep set of stone steps.