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Before me sat a board of local cheese and meat, a brilliant sommelier, and five wine glasses cradling tastings of arguably the best wine in the entire world. Intimidated and honored, I tasted the wine in the very cellar where it was aged, produced from the vineyard right out the door, in the enchanting Italian region of Tuscany.
Here, at Borgo San Felice, life transforms into a dream, continually softening like an open bottle of Chianti. Surrounded by iconic rolling vineyards and Tuscan cypresses, Borgo San Felice is a medieval hamlet-turned-resort located right outside of Siena.
Borgo San Felice is a destination, an experience, and a place you’ll never want to leave, perfectly self-contained with everything you need to forget the outside world.
Borgo San Felice
Borgo in Italian means village, so Borgo San Felice translates to the Village of San Felice, one that was founded over 1,300 years ago in 714 AD. Before that, the Etrurians lived there, a culture existing between the 8th and 3rd centuries BCE, known for their trading dominance in the Mediterranean. They cultivated the Chianti landscape and crafted an agricultural haven for grape growing.
Now, the Borgo is transformed into something magical – a 5-star resort immersed in 685 acres of forests, olive groves, and Chianti vineyards. Owned by the Allianz Group, the Relais & Chateaux is home to two fabulous restaurants, one with a Michelin star, The Botanic Spa in an ancient olive press, a stunning pool, a gym, and a village to meander through. Many of the original buildings have been renovated into suites, villas, and other components that make up the resort. There are a few elements preserved from the Middle Ages, like the signs featuring their original names in the piazzas and the streets, and a beautiful chapel.
The Vineyard & Wine
San Felice consists of three of the most famous estates in Tuscany: Chianti Classico (150 hectares), Campogiovanni (23 hectares), and Bolgheri (15 hectares). Annually, they produce over a million bottles of Chianti, 80,000 of Brunello, 40,000 of Rosso di Montalcino, and 55,000 of Bolgheri. All of which are entirely made from estate-owned grapes.
The highest quality Chianti Classico wine produced is the Poggio Rosso, with a district label depicting a vineyard with a red swoosh representing the resort’s stunning sunsets. Dry, with balanced acidity and a variety of delicate berry notes, this wine has an immense depth that pairs well with meats and cheeses. With only 6,000 bottles produced, its exclusivity is due to small batch production to ensure maximum quality.
The most famous wine produced at San Felice is the Il Grigio Riserva, derived from grapes in the Chianti Classico region. Full-bodied and tangy with red berry fruit flavors, this wine has won many awards over the years for its quality. It made from 100% Sangiovese grapes. Complex and well-renowned, the Il Grigio Riserva is the most widely distributed wine that comes out of San Felice, and is appreciated globally.
Another fabulous wine that grew to be my personal favorite was the Campogiovanni. This wine is a rich, full-bodied Brunello sourced from the Montalcino region. Recognized for its shelf longevity and lingering taste, it is regularly featured in the Wine Spectator Top 100. I loved the depth of the wine and how it evolved throughout the sip.
Accommodations at Borgo San Felice
I was overcome with peace and gratitude when I first stepped into my room at Borgo San Felice. The natural tones, lofted ceilings, and king-sized bed dappled in Tuscan sunlight made it a true oasis. The bathroom was luxurious, featuring a giant rain shower and a bright vanity. I had a beautiful view of the terrace and pool, lined with green foliage and towering cypresses. Every angle of Borgo San Felice offers a view that reminds you of where you are, one that coaxes you to never leave.
Borgo San Felice has a wide range of accommodation choices with 31 suites and 28 rooms to choose from. Each option is luxurious and equipped with phenomenal facilities.
Rooms & Suites
All rooms come equipped with king-sized beds and beautiful bathrooms, each with its own unique view of the property. If you are visiting with friends, family, or simply prefer more space, Borgo San Felice’s suites have multiple rooms with their own bathrooms and shared common rooms. There are also several signature suite options, some with a private patio and garden and some that allow for the perfect view of the sunset.
In 2023, two additional signature suites were elegantly renovated, La Loggia and L’Uliveta. The rooms are spacious and bright, with natural fabrics and color tones perfectly complementing the sweeping views of the vibrant landscapes.
Guests also have the choice to stay in a gorgeous Tuscan villa that offers maximum privacy and space. Some villas come with free use of tennis courts and e-bikes while some have direct access to the open-air swimming pool. Villa Casanova, renovated as of 2023, is a stunning mansion that can accommodate up to 18 guests – perfect for a family reunion or wedding. There are individual apartments that allow for guest privacy along with common spaces, including a garden for gatherings.
Restaurants at Borgo San Felice
Il Poggio Rosso
Il Poggio Rosso features Tuscan-inspired cuisine with a Columbian twist, a unique hybrid made possible by the young Columbian chef, Juan Quintero. The restaurant earned its first Michelin Star in 2020, thanks to a masterfully crafted multi-course experience brimming with unique flavors.
As of 2023, Il Poggio Rosso earned the esteemed Michelin Green Star, which acknowledges the continued efforts of sustainability at the restaurant. In addition to composting and reducing waste, Il Poggio Rosso sources its vegetables from the property’s garden, tended to by young people with disabilities. This is a result of a social project called L’Orto E L’Aia Felice, developed by Fondazione Allianz UMANA MENTE.
Dining at Il Poggio Rosso was a tantalizing experience unlike anything else. Each course was displayed like a piece of art and explained elegantly by the wait staff. A different wine from the estate was carefully paired with each course, complementing the flavors. I lost count of the courses that were served, mostly due to the mesmerizing flavors and maybe partially due to the excess of wine. My personal favorite course was the wild boar risotto, a rich and decadent experience. By the end of the night, I was lost in a trance, hypnotized by the best of what I love most: food and wine.
Osteria del Grigio
Il Grigio is a more casual alternative to Il Poggio Rosso, one that features a simple yet delicious menu with local ingredients and homemade pasta. Wine is a huge part of the experience, of course, and the wait staff is happy to help you pair the perfect wine with your meal.
Located on the terrace beside the pool, Bar Archi is a great spot to get drinks and a light bite to eat. I ate at Bar Archi for lunch and indulged in quite possibly the best pesto gnocchi I’ve ever had. It was pillowy and delicate, just like gnocchi should be. Then, I had my favorite Italian dessert, panna cotta, which was doused in a thick layer of caramel.
Experiences at Borgo San Felice
One of the best ways to make the most of your time at Borgo San Felice is to simply relax and indulge in the slower pace of life. The Italians have a phrase that Borgo San Felice embodies: ‘star bene.’ This translates to ‘feel good,’ something that naturally occurs here.
Take a dip in the cypress-studded swimming pool while admiring the gorgeous views of the Tuscan landscape. Stroll through the quaint hamlet, immersing yourself in the echoes of its storied past.
Beyond merely enjoying the hamlet and its facilities, there are plenty of other wonderful activities to take advantage of during your stay.
You can’t visit a resort in Tuscany without tasting the product of the vineyards that surround you. Located on the property of Borgo San Felice is their enoteca (wine house), where you can tour the traditional cellars, learn about the prestigious wine they hold, and of course have a taste. This is a newly crafted experience as of 2023.
This was one of the highlights of my visit to Borgo San Felice. The cellars were grand and impressive, featuring vaulted ceilings and arched entryways. There were many enclaves, each hosting a variety of barrel sizes, some bigger than any I’ve ever seen before.
After learning about the processes, I had an even greater appreciation for the wines’ magnificent taste. Each wine is complex in character and crafted with care due to the expert practices of their winemaker, Leonardo Bellaccini. Within the 150 hectares of vineyards of the San Felice estate, he strategically pinpointed five macro-areas with optimal conditions for the specific varietals he and his team planted.
After your tasting, remember your favorite wines, because all of them are available to accompany your lunch and dinner.
If you’d like to see the stunning scenery from a new perspective, Borgo San Felice offers helicopter and Ferrari rides all around the vineyards.
Borgo San Felice offers E-bikes that allow you to explore the area on your own. You could either tool around through the scenic vineyards or visit Siena which is only a 20-minute bike ride away. Borgo San Felice suggests you get lunch in Siena while you’re there.
My experience at Borgo San Felice’s Botanic Spa was unbelievable. The Botanic Spa is uniquely located in an ancient olive press with beautiful exposed wood beams and arches.
There are many facilities including a couple’s jacuzzi, emotion showers, saunas, and Kneipp pools. The Botanic Spa specializes in utilizing botanic products, derived from natural, healing ingredients. They work with two product lines: Codage and Gian Maria Amatori. Codage is a French brand that caters to specific skin needs with serums and moisturizers. After my treatment, I gave in and bought a few serums because of how fabulous my skin felt. Gian Maria Amatori has wine-specific products and a laboratory for development in the Dolomites.
I had a hydrating facial – the best I’ve ever had. It was long and luxurious, completely in the dark with relaxing music in the background. My esthetician provided me with a face, neck, shoulder, arm, and hand massage while the serums set in. We discussed my facial needs and she decided on prioritizing hydration, while also using some seasonal products. I wanted this facial to last forever which was different than other facials I’ve had in the past.
In addition to facials, The Botanic Spa offers a variety of massages, rituals, baths, wine therapy, and many body treatments. There are also great romantic options for couples.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
If you’d prefer a slower, quieter ride, I highly recommend the hot air balloon ride above the vineyards. There is nothing as magical as quietly floating above some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. Better yet, breakfast and champagne is provided in the air.
If you’re interested in learning how to cook traditional Tuscan meals, Borgo San Felice offers cooking classes. Their chefs teach you authentic cooking techniques utilizing seasonal, fresh ingredients.
- Picnic at the Orto: Families can try the vegetables right where they’ve grown in the property’s vegetable garden.
- Tours of Palio and Siena: Borgo San Felice is now offering tours to the local Tuscan villages, Palio and Siena. This includes dinner in the countryside and a viewing of the horserace from the Roccabruna Tower.
- The Exclusive Emporium: This is a lovely shop where guests can find handcrafted items that would make perfect gifts. They have unique clothing and accessories for both men and women.
Borgo San Felice’s Sustainable Mission
Borgo San Felice has recently launched a new brand identity highlighting the values of elegance, authenticity, and sustainability. Sustainable practices are prioritized in all aspects of this property, in both the resort itself and the surrounding land.
To maximize sustainable efforts in agriculture, they utilize terracing, geo-referencing, the ongoing study of flora and microfauna, along with a variety of other practices. As of 2023, regenerative viticulture was introduced, a model of sustainable vineyard management that prioritizes the following: soil health, biodiversity, water conservation, natural pest control, carbon sequestration, and waste reduction.
The resort itself utilizes solar systems, a wood-chipped powered heating plant, and replaces plastic with biodegradable materials. They are dedicated to recycling, composting, and reducing overall waste. Even the laundry service is powered by renewable energy and uses biodegradable products.
Borgo San Felice’s Social Projects
L’Orto E L’Aia Felice
In 2012 the Fondazione Allianz UMANA MENTE began L’Orto E L’Aia Felice, a social farming project with the mission to better the lives of young people with disabilities. At Borgo San Felice, a vegetable garden provides them with the unique opportunity to learn gardening skills from older locals in the region. This intergenerational knowledge exchange has significantly enriched the community.
Fondazione Alliaz UMANA MENTE initiated another important project named Imparaimo Dall’Eccellenza. This project creates opportunities for underprivileged youth in the community to undergo training for secure employment in high-end Italian hotels. Since it began in 2012, the project has paved the way for 350 young individuals. This has successfuly ensured a stable and promising professional future for each of them.
Good to Know
- Opening & Closing Dates: Borgo San Felice is a resort that operates seasonally, typically opening in April and closing in November. In 2024, Borgo San Felice will reopen its doors to guests on April 10th.
- Borgo San Felice’s Website
- Book Your Stay at Borgo San Felice
- Map of Property
- News & Events
After a few nights of being pampered by such a gracious staff, immersed in scenery made of dreams, and indulging in some of the best food and wine in the world, leaving Borgo San Felice felt impossible. There is no better way to experience Tuscany than staying in a Medieval hamlet overlooking Chianti vineyards, one I will be daydreaming about forever.