PRIVATE LUXURY: Borgo Finocchieto, Tuscany,italy
THERE ARE many beautiful villas in Tuscany but this one is exceptional not least because owner John Phillips went looking for his idyllic villa and ended up with a whole village.
Tuscany has had more travel tomes written about it than almost anywhere else, (Under the Tuscany Sun by Frances Mayes, A Small Place in Italy by Eric Newby etc, etc) . Writers of all kinds seem to want to escape here to write their novels, drink red wine and bask in the history of the place.
Trust us when we say there is no better place to escape to than Borgo Finocchieto, except to be honest, this isn't the place to come alone to write in isolation; It is a place for you and all of your "best friends". Because this is a completely private 800 year old medieval village just for you with old stone walls glowing pink in the sunlight, cobbled streets and its own chapel. The village has 22 bedrooms ranged in five houses around a central piazza. The main manor house was once owned by the Borghese family; an old stone Borghese crest still has pride of place outside the dining room - Inside there is a grand piano.
You want history - this place has it in bucket loads. The place was first mentioned in a land registry back in 131. It is built on the old Via Francigena, (the old pilgrim route form Canterbury to Rome) so over the centuries merchants, adventures and pilgrims of all kinds have taken bed and board here. Luckily for those privileged enough to stay now the view of the vineyards of Brunello and rolling green hills, as perfect as a Leonardo da Vinci backdrop, hasn't much changed since that time.
The village was little more than rubble when Philips first saw it. The five building there now have been lovingly restored using local tone and local artisans. Outside the village is little changed from its heyday. Inside historic touches such as archways and beamed ceiling combine with all the trapping of luxury; large suites, a wine tasting room, media room, library and ballroom. There is also a pool, bocce courts and tennis court.
Should you wish to venture outside the village walls you are 15 minutes from Montalcino, half an hour from sublime Siena and an hour from Florence.
Hilary Doling 30/3/10
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