Tuscany is back on the map this summer with Borgo fever sweeping across its idyllic fields. Investors are creating ‘village hotels’ – or alberghi diffusi – from deserted rural hamlets, putting Tuscany back in vogue with a jet set crowd
First up is Castello di Casole (castellodicasole.com), found 20km outside of Siena. This 4,200-acre estate was once abandoned but has now been sensitively transformed by the renowned Timbers Group. The ancient castle has been reimagined into an elegant 5-star boutique hotel, complete with vaulted spa carved out of the wine cellars, sumptuous fittings and haute cuisine restaurants.
Meanwhile, the surrounding farmhouses have been given new life by being restored into seriously luxe casali, some of which are available to purchase as the ultimate holiday home. What’s more, guests here will be able to immerse themselves in a true Tuscan experience by taking part in wildlife tours, truffle hunting, private wine tastings in the vineyards and bespoke cookery courses.
Located in the once run-down Tuscan hamlet of Castiglioncello del Trinoro are The Villas at Monteverdi (monteverdituscany.com). It’s the brainchild of eminent American lawyer Michael Cioffi, who has overseen the revival of the original village.
Using painstaking traditional methods by local artisans, the former houses have been transformed into chic villas and the village pensione has been reborn as a nine-bedroom design hotel (opening in August). Interior designer Ilaria Miani has infused the project with an eclectic style ethos – think hand-carved sinks, custom-designed wood furniture, Tuscan flagstones and hand-dyed linens.
Tucked away in the hills of Valdarno, is the magical medieval village of Il Borro (ilborro.com). Owned by designer to the stars Salvatore Ferragamo, you won’t be shortchanged here when it comes to style – as well as substance. The estate boasts luxury accommodation in villas and farmhouses all of which are made beautiful by Ferragamo’s unmistakable touch.
For an unforgettable Tuscan celebration, though, you can hire out the whole village (just don’t forget your 130 guests). With its own church and to-die-for views, it’s possibly the most perfect place to tie the knot. Exclusive wedding organisers Love & Lord (loveandlord.com) will plan your special event in conjunction with Il Borro for a Tuscan experience you’ll remember forever.
A version of my article was published in the May issue of British Airways’ High Life magazine