“Opulent yet informal hotel plus maisonettes and cottages for 2-13, spread across an idyllic 750-acre estate between Volterra and San Gimignano”
At the hotel’s heart is a rambling old villa, whose ramparts enclose 16 frescoed rooms and suites, plus an elegant restaurant; dotted around are a variety of cottages and villas. But that’s not all. If you fancy lazy days doing very little, you’ll find cypress-scented lawns, fire-warmed lounges, and a sparkling pool carved into a former limestone quarry. If you’d prefer a bit of activity, there are music and billiards rooms, a yoga hall, a lake, horses to ride, and art and cookery classes to sample. There’s also a biodynamic garden that produces everything from the veg and honey used in the kitchen to the herbs which infuse the in-room soaps. Beyond, the walled towns of Volterra and San Gimignano tempt with their towers and trattorias. It’s a very special place indeed.
Information provided by Borgo Pignano on 10/08/2020.
26 March 2021
- The feel is peaceful and remote, yet it’s near 2 of Tuscany's prettiest towns and less than an hour from Florence, Siena and Pisa
- Sublime views to Volterra and the distant sea. On a clear day you can spot Corsica shimmering on the horizon
- Delicious food, plus weekly pizza nights in the garden or roasts by the fire in the medieval kitchen
- Wonderfully romantic, but the laid-back vibe means it works for families, too (with accommodation options for all, a kids pool, plus guided kids' adventures )
- A commendable commitment to all things local and organic, with fruit, veg, honey, meat and more produced on site
- It’s reached via a bumpy 1km track, with a very tight turn from the main road
- It’s a drive to the nearest town, though there’s plenty on site to fill your days
- Rooms have no TVs or radios (but they do now have A/C)
- As one of our guests wrote: it's high-end price, but also high-end value
Best time to go
Our top tips
If you're here with children, book a soap-making session: it's great fun! Using wild flowers from the estate, and under the guidance of an English-speaking herbalist, help create bars of all sizes in a choice of colours and aromas - to use or take home as gifts.”
- Boutique Hotel & Villas
- 16 rooms + 10 maisonettes + 4 villas
- Restaurant & bar (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Closed: Closed until March 2021
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Pool Table
- Bicycles Available
- Laundry Service
The main villa houses a selection of 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 villas 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 Villa Casa del Lago, a romantic lakeside hideaway for 2-4. There’s also a large villa called La Fonte, which has five ensuite bedrooms and a heated swimming pool, so is well suited to bigger families or groups. The other stunning villa, La Lavandaia, has its own infinity pool with sweeping views across the valley.
- Air conditioning
- Central heating
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
Meals at Borgo Pignano are all about their home-grown or locally sourced ingredients. Fruits and vegetables are harvested at their peak; the bakery produces its own sourdough; pastries and pasta are created from heritage wheat grains grown on property. The estate boasts its own bees and honey, free-range pigs and hens, olive groves and vineyards - the quintessential farm to fork experience.
Gastronomic Villa Pignano restaurant is a serene, vaulted space overlooking the garden. 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. The Tuscan wines served are biodynamic and organic. There's also a dining room known as the Medieval Fireplace where you can feast on traditional fare at a communal table (open evenings spring and autumn only). Here we gorged ourselves on flame-grilled pork while chatting to other guests by a blazing hearth.
In summer months Restaurant Al Fresco has a more informal dining experience in the garden. Expect traditional Tuscan recipes such as grilled meat, Mediterranean Sea catch of the day, stone-baked pizza.
Head to the Belvedere terrace for bespoke sunset cocktails garnished with herbs from the garden created by the Mixologist. On clear evenings the view stretches across the Tuscan hills to the coast and Corsica beyond.
If you’re staying in a maisonette or cottage, you can self-cater in your fully equipped kitchen, or wander up to the restaurant; breakfast is included in the rates.
- Chef on request
- Children's meals
- Organic produce
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- Stroll or cycle around the estate (there are bikes for hire), play boules, then loll by the pool with a book from the library and a tipple from the bar
- Tour the biodynamic garden, then visit the lab to see how its produce is turned into honey, aromatic soaps and more (you can make your very own bar of soap if you like!)
- Ride Borgo Pignano’s horses (lessons and guided treks are available), book a yoga or Pilates session, or head to the kitchen to learn how to make pasta and bread with the chef
- Art classes, in-room massages, wine-tasting, truffle hunting (in season) can all be arranged, too
- Drive a few km to the walled town of Volterra. Wander its atmospheric ramparts and cobbled alleys, then linger over lunch in the alabaster-clad piazza
- Or head in the opposite direction to San Gimignano, famous for its 14 towers (its skyline has been likened to a ‘medieval Manhattan’). It attracts swarms of tourists in summer, so visit after dusk to avoid the worst of the crowds
- Siena, Florence and Pisa are also within easy day-tripping distance
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Art classes
- Cooking classes
- Historical sites
- Horse riding
- Mountain biking
- Museums / galleries
- Plantlife / flora
- Pool table
- Private guided tours
- Shopping / markets
- Well being
- Wine tasting
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 (and they have their own swimming pool). 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)
Family friendly accommodation:
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 villas. 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. La Fonte is good for those staying with another family or grandparents, and many rooms have kids’ sleeping areas on mezzanines.
Babysitting in the evenings is available with a bit of notice.
- Baby cots
- High chairs
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.
Kids Activities on site:
- Kids pool with shallow end and in its own stone-walled area with loungers
- Extensive grounds to roam around
- Horse riding
- Biodynamic gardens
Kids Activities nearby:
- Towers to climb in San Gimignano
- Gelati galore in Volterra and San Gimignano
- Castles to explore
Families Should Know:
The main pool isn’t fenced, and it’s reached via a steep set of stone steps but there is a dedicated kids pool in its own enclosed area
- Airport: 1 hour's drive (Florence or Pisa)
- Shop: 15 minutes' drive (Volterra or San Gimignano)
- Hospital: 15 minutes' drive (Volterra)
Borgo Pignano sits in the Tuscan countryside, halfway between the historic towns of Volterra and San Gimignano. It’s around an hour’s drive from Pisa and Florence, and 40 minutes from Siena.
Pisa (75km) is Tuscany’s main airport and is served by numerous airlines - click on the links below for a list. There are also some flights to Florence (70km away). Transfers from either airport can be arranged, but we recommend hiring a car so you can explore the area (see below).
For car-hire recommendations, click here. Bear in mind that Borgo Pignano is reached via a rather bumpy 1km track, but it’s nothing a normal vehicle can’t handle. Free parking is available on site.
Detailed directions will be provided when you book through i-escape.
More on getting to Tuscany and getting around
- Florence Peretola 70.0 km FLR
- Pisa Galileo Galilei 75.0 km PSA
- Beach 70.0 km
- Shops 10.0 km
- Restaurant 10.0 km