Tuscany is regarded as the most beautiful part of Italy. The birthplace of the Renaissance, its artistic heritage includes architecture, painting and sculpture, gathered in dozens of museums. It was the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Dante Alighieri, father of the Italian language. Tuscany produces wonderful wine and food and has many, many tourist destinations.
The Getaway team visited Il Borro Estate, an hour south of Florence. It is at the centre of the triangle formed by Arezzo, Florence and Siena and has been owned by the Ferragamo family, famous for high fashion in Italy, since 1993. They have meticulously restored the estate and offer magnificent accommodation for travellers, while adhering strictly to the traditions of rural Tuscany.
The estate is on seven square kilometres in the Arno Valley at the base of the Pratomangno Mountains. Its centrepiece is an 11th-century medieval village, complete with farmhouses. It was all almost wiped out by German occupancy in WWII and before the Ferragamos bought it, was a wild game hunting reserve owned by Duke of Acosta, cousin of the heir to the Italian throne.
Ferruccio Ferragamo had a good feeling about the estate. The wildlife and the geography felt harmonious, it was peaceful and at the same time full of activity. When the duke offered it for sale, the Ferragamos did not hesitate to buy, with visions of a retreat for their large family and a resort for others.
Since then, the family has restored, rather than modernise, the estate buildings, countryside farmhouses and village buildings, a row of villa apartments, shops and a church all with wooden floors, earthen stone walls and terracotta roofs.
There are 10 apartments in the village and three farmhouses (each divided into four apartments), plus an old mill which was restored some years ago. All have modern kitchens with washing machine, fridge-freezer, dishwasher, hob-cooker, crockery and utensils. Bathrooms are luxurious and bedrooms have queen, double or two large single beds. Each house also has satellite TV, a safe, telephone, hairdryer, ironing facilities and use of a swimming pool during the summer months.
In the fairytale setting of olive groves, vineyards and beautiful Tuscan landscape is the Osteria Il Borro. It offers a culinary journey through local cuisine, paired with good wines. The family produces around 200,000 bottles of red wine each year.
They offer the chance to learn the art of traditional Tuscan cuisine in a three-hour lesson. It's hands on and you get to enjoy your creations in the end.
The Tuscan region in central Italy.
Paxtours International has accommodation at the Il Borro Estate which starts at around $330 a couple a night with a minimum of three nights stay.
DriveAway Holidays has car hire starting at $54 a day.
Emirates has return flights to Rome with sales and ticketing up to December 15, 2006.
- Melbourne, $1889
- Brisbane, $1891
- Perth, $1891
- Sydney, $1906
- Adelaide, $2396
- Darwin, $2458
Prices quoted are correct on November 16, 2006.
North Sydney 2060
Ph: 1300 363 500; (02) 9929 4655
52020 San Giustino Valdarno
Paxtours International Travel
6/16-18 Cooper Street
Double Bay 2028
Ph: (02) 9327 1001
Fax: (02) 9327 6175
Ph: 1300 303 777