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Lucire: Volante

Borgo Santo Pietro, on the outskirts of the village of Palazzetto, is a home away from home.


A Tuscan sanctuary

Toscana, the place everyone wants to visit and buy a villa. It is not easy renovating anything in Toscana—it is far better to stay at Borgo Santo Pietro. It is home away from home but with a lot more pampering, reports Anita Talbert



Borgo Santo Pietro front hall


AS WE DROVE through the verdant green hills and winding roads of Toscana, Italy, in the middle of nowhere, I began to wonder where I was and if we’d ever get there. Suddenly, the Borgo Santo Pietro sign appeared like a heavenly apparition. As the driver whisked me up the impressive driveway, through elaborately designed gardens, I knew a special experience awaited me.

Borgo Santo Pietro, on the outskirts of the village of Palazzetto, began as a ramshackle farm transformed over seven-year restoration project. Once a mediæval monastery in a past life, owners Jeanette and Claus Thorttrop claimed the spirit of pilgrims and monks who visited the beautiful nearby San Galgano Abby for healing adds the magical feeling one gets of peace, calm and revitalization.

As you enter the hotel, there is no reception area, making it feel as though you are entering someone’s elegant personal home. Two guests were reading and sipping wine by a roaring

The owners are passionate about food and the way it is grown and cooked. Their food ethos is simple: they aim to know the provenance of every ingredient of every dish they serve
fire, a little resident cat was asleep at their feet. I was immediately charmed. After a warm welcome by their staff as my luggage was whisked to my suite, I was invited into their open kitchen and offered a vegetable or fruit smoothie straight out of their garden. Before long, I found myself dozing in a lounge chair outside near the inviting fire.

All eleven suites, soon to be twenty, are individually designed. Mine offered resplendent Italian Renaissance with luxurious taffeta drapes swaged allowing in the breath taking views on all sides of the rooms, a porcelain tub for soaking, a charming velvet settee with baroque pillows, two comfortable stylish armchairs and table in front of the fireplace, Renaissance hand-painted murals on the walls and a double-king-size bed with the plushest mattresses on which I’ve ever slept. In each bedroom is a large plasma screen hidden behind an oil painting, a full library of movies are available for the choosing, as well as iPods for each guest to enjoy the Santo Pietro music list.

The bathrooms stay true to the old-world style, yet offer modern facilities. Their plantation-head showers have perfect water pressure and temperature, something not always found even in the finest hotels throughout Europe. Thick towels imported from Belgium fresh from gold towel warmers and a light yet warm monk-like monogrammed bathrobe and slippers designed by the owner herself offers more comfort, luxury and pampering with stunning simplicity and the highest quality.

Charming hand-made blue and white pots in each bathroom are filled with abundant Santa Maria Novella products. Originated in 1212 in Florence, these very special products have been given the exclusivity to Borgo Santo Pietro for guest bathrooms and the hotel spa.

Mornings begin with sumptuous, individually prepared breakfasts in their open kitchen. Omelettes are cooked to perfection; their bacon is sensational and proved to be deliciously different from what we are familiar with in the US or New Zealand. Fresh juices from the fruit in their gardens, their own creamy yoghurt, organic eggs and breakfast meats can be eaten outside in the purest Tuscan air and uninterrupted panoramic views.

You can dress for dinner, or be casual: at no time do you ever feel that you must adhere to special dress codes. The cozy candlelit restaurant is replete with Renaissance paintings, fresh flowers and three kinds of salt on the table, including volcanic, sweet and fine. Breads and rolls, baked on premise by their chefs, are accompanied by the luxurious Manni olive oil and balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy.

The owners are passionate about food and the way it is grown and cooked. Their food ethos is simple: they aim to know the provenance of every ingredient of every dish

Toscana will never change, thankfully, as the environmentalists and government have a firm grip on the thousands of acres
they serve. Fresh and seasonal, from fish to fruit, the menu at Borgo Santo Pietro is more than just food, it is a taste of nature, delicious in its purest form. Their menus include salads fresh picked from the hotel’s vast organic garden, lamb and meats from surrounding organic cattle farms and fresh fish from the nearby coast. Guests have a chance to try wines from smaller special Tuscan vineyards, rarely found anywhere else, and the hotel’s personally cured organic meats and cheeses.

In addition to the herb and vegetable gardens, they have planted orchards and olive groves. At the furthest reach of the property are Borgo bees creating honey flavoured by the flowers on their estate. If you enjoy a good walk or bicycle ride, meanwhile, there is the Tuscan countryside, or the hotel’s elaborate flower and botanical gardens, with an impressive 250,000 plants. At every turn, you will find surprising romantic nooks and crannies with tables, chairs, statuettes and lounging sofas where you can be truly away from the maddening crowd.

During summer, guests can lounge at the freshwater infinity pool with giant natural stones and order lunch from their informal grill and bar. The pool, containing no chlorine or dyes and naturally purified and heated by solar power, will soon be connected to a vast natural swimming lake on the grounds. The spa will be expanded from its current location in a tranquil candle lit stone barn next to the hotel, to a spanking new building offering all the latest treatments.

Other facilities include a tennis court, large children’s play area, a bocce pitch, bicycles, hiking boots and equipment to explore the nearby abbey of San Galgano and much more. The hotel offers the services of their driver upon request and reservation, or you may rent a car and the hotel will pack up a bounteous picnic basket for your countryside or coastal exploring.

The mediæval town of Siena is close by as are San Gimigiano, Volterra, Monticiano, Monteriggioni, Chuisdino and other charming towns to explore. The owners are on hand in an unobtrusive way, overseeing that every aspect of a guest’s stay is perfection. ‘We want our guests to experience lazy luxury in our small hotel,’ says Jeanette. ‘Service on such a personalized level, combined with exceptional facilities in stylish and comfortable surroundings and innovative fine dining, that offer guests what they want, when they want it and where they want it on the estate.’

Toscana will never change, thankfully, as the environmentalists and government have a firm grip on the thousands of acres. If you want to build a villa, you must buy a standing building and renovate it. Borgo Santo Pietro will never have anything obscure their astounding views. To access Borgo Santo Pietro, you can fly in from the Pisa Airport, Firenze’s airport or the Santa Maria Novella train station and from Siena as well. •


Anita Talbert, a well respected event producer, is a guest writer for Lucire.


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Expanded from issue 22 of Lucire

Valle Serena suite

Borgo Santo Pietro spa sign

Room service breakfast

Tuscan sunset

Courtyard at night time

Dining room

Fresh home made frocaccet

The gardener and the courtyard

BSP bikes

Refreshment on terrace


View towards rose garden



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