Thursday, October 20, 2016

Our Honeymoon: Borgo Santo Pietro

After a magical week celebrating our wedding in Paso Robles with our friends and family, we headed east to Europe for our honeymoon. The first stop - Italy. And not just anywhere in Italy, but the magical Relais Borgo Santo Pietro. I first read about Borgo on Cupcakes and Cashmere four years ago, and have been dreaming about visiting ever since. When we started tossing around honeymoon destinations and decided on Lake Como, I knew we had to spend a few extra days in Italy to visit Borgo. So after a long flight and a night in Florence we headed south through the winding countryside filled with excitement.

We recognized Borgo the second that our eyes came across the beautiful metal gate, which opened dramatically as it led us down a road lined with cypress trees and lavender. Upon arrival, our bags were whisked away and we were given a tour of the thirteenth-century villa filled with worn leather armchairs, stunning antiques, and a seemingly endless supply of fresh cut flowers.

After spending a few hours exploring the gardens and relaxing by the pool we headed to Borgo's cooking school for a private cooking class where we learned to make fresh pasta with a local woman from the nearby town. The kitchen itself was absolutely stunning - handpainted tiles, perfectly patinaed copper pots and pans, glass jars filled with every spice imaginable. The sparkling wine was incredible (we may have had one too many bottles). The service could not have been better - 'Mama' was as sweet as could be and since she didn't speak any English the Guest Relations Director Jean Lucca served as our translator and was one of the kindest and most interesting people we have ever met on our travels. And the food, oh my goodness the food! We made three dishes. The first was ravioli with butter and fried sage. Next, tagliatelle with cherry tomatoes and zucchini fresh from the garden. And finally one of my all-time favorites - cacio e pepe. It was a fantastic experience and without a doubt a highlight of the honeymoon.

Following our feast we retreated to the garden for a late afternoon nap in one of Borgo's many beautiful outdoor canopy beds. We woke to find the sun about to set and a beautiful rainbow sweeping across the sky.  

The rest of our trip was spent laying by the pool, reading, exploring Borgo's thirteen acres of manicured gardens (I felt like Alice in Wonderland!), enjoying the beautiful spa, and eating far too many delicious treats sourced right from Borgo's on-site gardens and working farm. Breakfasts every day overflowed with fresh made pastries, just picked fruits, homemade jams, and some of the most delicious eggs to order I have ever experienced (the eggs florentine were served with a rose petal on them every morning). Lunches of pizza and salads by the pool with unbelievably fresh and delicious cocktails were followed by prosecco at sunset and then followed by long, leisurely dinners in one of Borgo's two restaurants. 

The first restaurant was a casually elegant trattoria which served fresh pastas and seafood grilled over an open fire, all in a beautiful environment with a stunning indoor/outdoor space and more candelabras than I had ever seen in my entire life. The second restaurant, where we chose to dine at on the last evening, was their Michelin-starred restaurant Meo Modo. Decidedly sophisticated but still with that welcoming Tuscan ambiance, we enjoyed countless dish after dish of flavor perfection - each inspired by the local environment. My favorite dish was a beautiful dessert called "Water and Honey" and Ryan's favorite (which subsequently was also his favorite thing we ate during our entire honeymoon) was their specialty of spaghetti with lobster from Elba island. 

After our dinners we would stroll the property with a glass of wine and admire the heavenly night sky, lit bright by the stars and made even more romantic with hundreds upon hundreds of candles illuminating every nook and cranny of the property. My favorite experience was attending their outdoor movie night where we watched "Roman Holiday" (with subtitles of course) under glittering twinkle lights. We stayed warm with cozy cashmere blankets, wine, popcorn, and cigars (I passed and instead chose to enjoy a bowl of gelato instead).

Our three days at Borgo Santo Pietro was nothing short of magic, and was by far the most relaxing destination we have ever visited on vacation. It was the perfect start to our honeymoon, and although we were heartbroken to leave we vowed that we will return someday, hopefully soon!

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