Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Visit to Il Borro Is a Trip to Bountiful; Someone Will Win a Trip to This Tuscany Village at the Art and Antiques Show

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Visit to Il Borro Is a Trip to Bountiful; Someone Will Win a Trip to This Tuscany Village at the Art and Antiques Show

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRISTINA ABEL

Shorelines staff writer Christina Abel vacationed in September in Tuscany, Italy, where she visited the village of Il Borro. For the second year, a stay at the village will be auctioned off at the Art and Antiques Show produced by the Women's Board to Benefit Wolfson Children's Hospital. Janet Westling of Ponte Vedra Beach, who is co-chairwoman of this year's show, has visited Il Borro twice.

Entering the village of Il Borro is like stepping back in time to medieval Italy, albeit with modern-day conveniences.

The village is quiet, lacking the eternal hum of electricity. Electricity does exist, but just underground.

In the town center, there are stone paths, stone buildings colored in warm yellows, browns and reds, winding archways and vined trellises.

The Pratomagno mountains and deep green valleys encompass the village, which the Ferragamo family, most known for fashion, bought in 1993.

The village contains 17 homes and nine artisan shops. Seven of the homes are for long-term residents, 10 for vacationers.

While the Ferragamo name is most often associated with top fashion throughout the world, Salvatore Ferragamo, grandson of the famous shoemaker with the same name, wanted to disassociate the village from his family's name. That's why, when he bought the town and started the winery in 1993, he named it Il Borro, meaning "deep gorge," rather than after the family.

"We want people to drink the wine for the wine," Ferragamo said.

Ferragamo wants his wine to stand on its own. He chose to purchase Il Borro in part because it was in a state of utter disrepair. In World War II, German soldiers mined the village. The vineyard was neglected.

"I was attracted to the prospect of developing this estate from nothing," Ferragamo said. "It was about developing a beautiful estate, bringing it back to its original beauty ... then have those products travel the world."

Ferragamo poured money into the project, rebuilding the village, restoring the villas and planting all new grape vines. In 1999, he released the first vintage, which garnered 92 of 100 points from wine critic Robert Parker.

Since then, Ferragamo has created several different wines, including merlot, syrah, cabernet sauvignon, Sangiovese and petit verdot.

He said the family treats its wines like they do the creation of their shoes.

"We focus on quality rather than certain trends. It's in our DNA," Ferragamo said.

Nurturing pet projects is not new for Ferragamo.

This will be the second year Ferragamo donates a stay at Il Borro to the Art and Antiques Show produced by the Women's Board to Benefit Wolfson Children's Hospital. Last year, Ferragamo donated a three-night, four-day stay at a villa in Il Borro. The item fetched $7,500, the highest bid of the auction. …

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