The remarkable Ferragamo Estate in the Val d'Orcia.
The countryside around Siena in Tuscany is sublime. The Crete Senesi area upholds long established heritage rulings to preserve the soft rolling landscape and its graceful dwellings. Exploring the area, it’s as if a snapshot had been taken from a 14th century painting, exactly then as it is today. Luckily, there are now modern roads and with basic directions, we’re taking the half hour drive from Siena to the 800 year-old luxury estate, Rosewood Castiglion Del Bosco.
Located on a UNESCO World Heritage site in the heart of the Val d’Orcia, the property was purchased by Massimo Ferragamo, Salvatore’s youngest son, in 2003. I knew it covered 5,000 acres and was home to vineyards bearing award-winning Brunello di Montalcino wine. I also knew it boasted truffle rich woodlands and a private 18 hole golf course. I was not however, expecting to fall in love with the estate, even before I’d seen it.Taking the 2km rustic stretch that leads to the historic village, adds to the anticipation and intrigue of getting there. You have time and space to first wonder ‘Is this the right way?’ and then think… 'but if we’re lost, let’s just stop and live here.’ In fact, the renovated properties along this road are part of the greater estate. Created from original 17th and 18th century farmhouses, there are ten exclusive villas, exquisitely appointed in true Ferragamo style, complete with inviting swimming pools and on-call staff.
Arriving at the impeccably restored Rosewood Castiglion Del Boscois like stepping back in time to a prosperous working estate, (with the addition of smart chino-clad staff).Crunching along manicured pebble paths, the warm stone buildings welcome us into the heart of the piazzetta. The entire village has been beautifully rebuilt to realise 23 elegantly decorated suites, some with courtyards. There are two restaurants, an organic orto (kitchen garden) and an historic chapel, with a restored 14th century fresco by Pietro Lorenzetti.
An aperitivo is an absolute must upon arrival. We order the classic spritz and enjoy a delicate selection of local stuzzichini. For pre-dinner drinks, take a table either in the square looking along the cobbled lane or a seat with sweeping views towards the hilltop town of Montalcino. Dusk here is spectacular; you’re likely to spot wild hare and deer against the lilac hues at sunset. And as you take in the architectural line of the infinity pool against the gentle landscape, you begin to really relax into the carefully considered restoration of this very special place.