Jeannette and Claus Thottrup found their oasis of Tuscan charm when they stumbled upon this 13th century villa back in 2001. They set about restoring the ruin (no mean feat – they lovingly planted 250,000 shrubs and greenery in the landscaping project alone). Cypress trees = tick. Lavender aroma from the herb garden = tick. In fact, as we pulled up the driveway it was clear that Borgo Santo Pietro is the quintessential Tuscan idyll.
The key to the charm here are the owners. This could easily have become a rather pretentious, dare-not-whisper pimped up villa. But Claus and Jeannette had that classic Danish heritage to draw on bringing in chefs who had paved the way back in Denmark in their ten-a-penny Michelin star style restaurants. The food is unbelievable. From a day relaxing by the pool, we headed for a little tea expecting some cold meats and Italian nibbles. Instead, we were greeted by cashmere blankets (it was chilly in the evenings when I was there in June) and then out came endless treats from the kitchen including what can only be described as the finest cheese straws in Christendom. I am pretty sure the chefs wouldn’t call it a cheese straw but whatever it was it went very nicely with our champagne.
The bedrooms look Venetian in style. Ornate, high ceiling bedrooms are the ultimate decadence. They sourced over 1,000 antiques from all
over Europe to make the vision come to life and free standing baths and heavy curtains are found throughout alongside the classic roaring log fires on colder evenings. But all the little nooks and crannies of their 13 acres are lovingly tended so you’ll find a little cove in the garden to relax against big, plump cushions with your book.
In fact, we didn’t see any of the other guests apart from when at supper supposing the relaxed atmosphere lends itself to chilling by the pool, hopping in the car to explore the nearby church (it’s the sword in the stone church no less) or just waiting expectantly by the kitchen door as the hotel labrador does. Sensible dog.
Our favourite memory is as those Tuscan thunderclouds roaring in, and with no hint of what was to come from the sunny afternoon, we headed in for our masterclass in gourmet cooking. Fried foie gras and lamb that fell off the bone followed (all produce is locally sourced of course), and as we tucked in the lightning started. And then the lights went out. Of course we had nowhere to go and nothing to do so as any host worth his salt would do Claus entertained. But then he pulled out all the stops by cracking open a 200 year old bottle of cognac that then became the star of the show. I’m not sure how long we were there for. Hours possibly. But I do know Claus is the hostess with the mostest.
If you have two nights or more to spare, contact us to book your stay at Borgo Santo Pietro. Perfect for a weekend break, a minimoon or honeymoon it’s possibly one of the most romantic, idyllic spots to visit. We’ve yet to find anything to beat it.