While today Borgo Pignano is a delicious countryside retreat yet it was first settled during Etruscan times.
Traces of past millennia can be seen in the enormous stones that were hauled here more than 2,500 years ago and form the base of the church, villa and some of the outlying walls. The first appearance of Borgo Pignano in official documents is from 1139 just before work began on the San Bartolomeo Apostolo, the small church at the estate’s center.
In 1214, The Order of St. Anthony started to build a hospital although local feuds delayed its completion until 1246. This hospital operated for over two hundred years.
Rival families engaged in violent disputes over Tuscan territories for several hundred years and it was not until the late seventeenth century that a modicum of decorum settled on the province.
It was then that the Incontri family bought the property and the Marchese Ludovico, whose name is inscribed on the outside of the main villa, transformed a simple farmstead into a grand countryseat.
He made the principal architectural changes which shape today’s villa and surrounding buildings.
Like other large Italian estates the upkeep of Borgo Pignano came from the rents paid by tenant farmers and the dutifully maintained books, with their careful gothic script, offer a glimpse of the barebones existence of the peasant families.
The estate survived World War II largely unscathed, although shell damage is still visible on the church walls. Borgo Pignano was liberated by the American Army in July 1944
During the 1950s, the local community, which, prior to 1939, had consisted of around 100 people, dwindled as the pace of Italian industrialization increased.
The property passed through different hands until, about twenty-five years ago, the current owners embarked on a painstaking restoration of the buildings and rejuvenation of the gardens and surrounding acreage.
Their aim was to create a private world reflecting their interests – outdoor recreation, art, literature, healthy diets, a fondness for vintage Italian vehicles and sustainability – and these are evident throughout Borgo Pignano.
Today, Borgo Pignano is more comfortable and productive than ever, and has attracted a clientele that delights in an atmosphere where tweets and texts seem far away and the use of cellphones in public spaces is politely discouraged.