When they hear the name Ferragamo, most people probably think immediately of beautiful shoes as opposed to a phenomenal winery and a gorgeous estate in the countryside outside of Florence called Il Borro. The latter, however, is what I had the pleasure of touring recently; prior to that, I had the pleasure of meeting a member of the Ferragamo family at a charity dinner and auction that a friend and I went to a few months ago.
As one of the sponsors of the dinner (each course was paired with a different Borro wine, one of which was also being auctioned), he went around to each table to greet guests throughout the evening, including my friend and me. Before he left us he gave us his business card, and when we saw the name Salvatore Ferragamo written on it, we thought he had given us the generic company card; that would have been totally understandable, but we were, admittedly, a teeny bit disappointed.
Then, the auction started. When it came time to auction off the magnum of Il Borro, the estate’s award-winning IGT, the restaurant owner, who acted as the auctioneer, turned to him and said, “Salvatore, why don’t you come and talk a little about your wine?” We hadn’t been given generic business cards; we had been given Salvatore Ferragamo’s business card. He’s the grandson of the Salvatore who founded the fashion house in the 1920s. He is also the president of Il Borro, but despite his important role there and his heritage, he’s a humble, down-to-earth, and accessible person, which I found out soon after the dinner. I sent an email thanking him for the lovely evening and telling him that I thought Il Borro would be a perfect place to bring Boutique Florence clients, and he emailed back shortly thereafter saying he hoped I would pay Il Borro a visit soon and putting me in touch with the general manager, who he said would be happy to show me around the estate. I was pretty excited about the invitation.
When I finally made my way to San Giustino Valdarno, Gianluca D’Angeli, Il Borro’s general manager, was welcoming and gracious and took me all over the unbelievably idyllic property, which has just about anything that a person traveling in Tuscany could ever dream of seeing and doing. There are stables and visitors can take horseback riding lessons by the stable-keeper who is employed full-time not only to give the lessons but also to keep the horses and stables in immaculate condition; there is a local cheese producer nearby where guests learn about the cheese-making process and, of course, taste it; and there is the incredible wine cellar to visit and fabulous wines to taste. Villas decorated to Ferragamo-esque perfection with fabulous pools can be rented out for weeks or months at a time. And all of this is immersed in perfectly-kept vineyards.
When I wrote to Salvatore to thank him for inviting me to tour the grounds of the estate and to tell him how absolutely beautiful it is, he thanked me for my kind words and said that Il Borro is a very special place for him and his family. Anyone lucky enough to go there will understand why.