See this part of Italy trhough Salvatore Ferragamo’s eyes
When Tuscany comes to mind, we might imagine Chianti’s lush, rippling fields, Florence’s abundance of Italian Renaissance art, and perhaps even the 2003 romance-drama Under the Tuscan Sun. But this region in central Italy, beloved for its quaint villages, rugged coastline, and world-class wines, signifies much more to Salvatore Ferragamo, grandson of the eponymous fashion-house legend and CEO of Il Borro Toscana, an alluring estate in the Tuscan countryside.
According to Ferragamo, Il Borro was an act of faith and a labor of love, which evolved over 25 years. His father, Ferruccio, purchased the deteriorating 1,750-acre estate in 1993 and launched an in-depth restoration of the 11th-century property. Today, Il Borro is a sanctuary, preserving centuries of Tuscan history while honoring the land on which it was built.
“My family and I are in love with this stunning piece of Italy,” says Ferragamo, 47, “so much that we actually spend our holidays at Il Borro.” Understandable, since the estate, set outside the town of Arezzo, features 70 rooms and suites, a winery, medieval village, spa, two restaurants, and expansive grounds with opportunities for hiking, golfing, truffle hunting, horseback riding, and other outdoor activities.
The Ferragamos still live in the region, taking advantage of its nature, sports, art, history, and, of course, food and wine.
He shares some of his favorite spots with Reside.
For Food and Wine Lovers
You can spend your days in Tuscany touring vineyards and tasting vino—from Chardonnay to Chianti to Super Tuscan—and immersing yourself in Tuscan winemaking. Ferragamo’s top picks include Castiglion del Bosco (owned by his uncle, Massimo Ferragamo), Antinori, Frescobaldi, Petrolo (located near Il Borro), and Argentiera in the Bolgheri area. He insists that the grape harvest—usually from August through October, is best for a visit, as it presents “a real celebration of Tuscan culture.”
Wine is a huge draw to the region, but considering this is Italy, so is the food. In Florence, the region’s capital, chefs showcase Tuscany’s bounty of ingredients. Ann Feolde and her team at Enoteca Pinchiorri are one of Ferragamo’s personal favorites. There, you can indulge in the Discovery Menu—a selection of dishes ranging from borlotti bean soup to charcoal duck breast. “I also love to have a light lunch at Cantinetta Antinori,” he says. And close to Arezzo, he adores Ristorante La Torre Loro Ciuffenna and La Casa del Buono in Terranuova Bracciolini, “with its excellent fish menu.”
For those looking to take in beautiful art, it’s worthwhile dedicating several days to the masterpieces of the Uffizi Gallery, Il Duomo, and the Accademia, home of Michelangelo’s famous statue of David, all in Florence. But art enthusiasts shouldn’t stop there. Ferragamo recommends Palazzo Pitti, the Bargello, the Museum of San Marco, and the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. “The palaces and churches that define Florence are also marvelous,” he says.
Ferragamo says 2019 may be the best year to visit the region because it marks 500 years since Leonardo da Vinci’s death. The countryside of Valdarno di Sopra, one of Tuscany’s prized wine regions, is said to have inspired the background landscape in da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. The Romanesque bridge of Ponte Buriano, built in 1200 along the ancient Via Cassia Vetus close to Il Borro, is also in the painting. The festivities in Valdarno have already begun. Finally, in Vinci, don’t miss the Museo Leonardiano, a museum dedicated to the artist in his native town. From April 15 to Nov. 15, “Alle origini del Genio” (The Origins of Genius–Leonardo) will be on exhibit.