Over the past weeks I have slowly been writing a review of our our family trip to Italy in May. Today, I continue sharing our adventure with you:
When planning our holidays, I spend the majority of my time researching our accommodation choices. I literally spend tens (if not hundreds) of hours pouring over maps, websites, travel reviews and guidebooks trying to make sure that we book a winner. Over the years, we have stayed at some truly spectacular places. So any new place has to be pretty special to find its way to the top of our list. Bichi Borghesi not only made its way to the top of our list, but may well be our favorite place that we've ever stayed. (Our favorite list is in constant flux depending on our mood and/or longing for a particular country!)
I first stumbled across Bichi Borghesi on Homelidays a UK-based holiday rental site. I was immediately intrigued and began my correspondence with one of the owners, Paola. Over the course of our emails, I ascertained that the rental was everything we were looking for (and more!).
Bichi Borghesi is a spectacular 1025 acre estate in Scorgiano. The owners can trace their family history to the land back over 4 centuries and they are proud to share their knowledge and story. It is currently an operating winery and has 3 apartments which they rent. While we were there, we toured all of the apartments, and can report that they are all well appointed and comfortable. It really just depends how much space, or how many conveniences you want (for instance, only one of the rentals has a dish washer).
Our group, which was Rick and I along with my parents, chose to rent the Fattoria apartment.
The rental was a 1184 square foot apartment on the upper floor of the building pictured above. It consisted of 3 bedrooms, a living room with large, wood-burning fire place, a kitchen and 2 bathrooms (one with bath, and the other with a shower). The beds, while on the firm side (which is normal/common in Italy), were comfortable and the bedding very luxurious. The kitchen was very, very well appointed. There were more than enough cups, plates, cutlery, pots and pans to make everything we wanted. We didn't need to ask for anything - it was all there.
I really can not recommend Bichi Borghesi enough. To say that they went above and beyond to make our stay a delight is an understatement. For example, when I was first started researching the possibility of booking with them, I had asked how far their bee hives were from the house as I knew that they produced honey from their website. This was a concern as my Dad is deathly allergic to bee stings. Paola replied that they were about 1 mile from the house, so we felt comfortable with booking the reservation. However, before we arrived the family decided to put screens on all the windows of the apartment because of my inquiry! Paola said that they had talked about doing it for a while, but that our inquiry made them take the leap to do it. In fact, our apartment was the only one on the estate that had them! Likewise, when I first inquired, the apartment did not have a wireless internet connection. But once again, by the time we arrived it was installed.
I have not posted any photos of the interior of the apartment here. They are available on the Bichi Borghesi website, and on the Homelidays link provided above. They are all very accurate and the rooms were lovely - rustic, yet comfortable. But it was the estate and gardens which really help this particular rental stand head and shoulders above the rest. It was charming, rustic and beautiful - and we weren't even there in high blooming season! Due to an unusually wet May, we didn't spend too much time outdoors and stuck pretty close to the house, but in addition to the things you can see in our photos here, there are acres of hiking trails and the vineyards themselves to see.
If the absolutely beautiful apartment and estate wasn't enough, the real highlight was how welcoming and helpful Paola was. She was truly a perfect representative to make our stay at Bichi Borghesi an exceptional experience.
A few closing notes:
- Upon check in, the fridge at the apartment was stocked with juices, fresh eggs, olives, yogurt, ham - that was in addition to the delicious yogurt cake, honey from their hives, tea, coffee, water, cookies and fresh loaf of bread which were also provided as a welcome gift.
- If you ever book with them, be sure to book a meal with Loretta, the cook for the estate. We ate wild boar, raised on the estate as the entree and it was spectacular. Unfortunately we booked our meal with her on our last night, which was a mistake. Had we tried her cooking earlier in our stay, we would have booked another meal as the cost was reasonable and the food savory.
- Paola has a huge packet of brochures and recommendations waiting in the apartment for guests to browse. Included in the packet is information about local restaurants, cooking classes, bike rentals, hiking, etc. We found Paola more than willing to help us plan your stay.
- There is a local COOP grocery store about a 5-10 minute drive from the estate. It is a fully stocked store and you will find everything you need there.
- The estate is a working farm. So if you don't like bugs or animals, this might not be the best place for you. Bring ear plugs if you are a light sleeper. On two of the nights the outdoor dog was barking up a storm as dawn approached.
- If you are a wine lover, they do offer tastings at the estate.
- There is a stunning chapel which belongs to the estate. Take our advice and BEG to see it - words can't describe how gorgeous it is.