Villa Bordoni

Within an hour’s drive of Villa Bordoni, in Tuscany, there’s the beloved Villa San Michele in the hills of Fiesole as well as Relais La Suvera, with its museumlike suites. But make no mistake: Bordoni can take on the big boys despite its being only ten rooms, squirreled up a rough track above Greve in Chianti, and owned by a Scot.

This thoughtful conversion of a 16th-century villa, olive mill, and chapel is run by David Gardner, who made his name with Baldovino and Beccofino restaurants in Florence. At Bordoni he has installed a young Pugliese chef, Francesco Fineo, whose homemade spaghetti with veal ragù is a revelation (he’ll give cooking lessons on request). There’s little reason to dine elsewhere—except, perhaps, for the succulent wood-grilled veal up the road at La Cantinetta di Rignana, a simple rural trattoria where the grandest Italian families lunch for hours at long wooden tables.

Just 40 minutes from Florence and 50 minutes from Siena, Bordoni is in the heart of the Chianti region, surrounded by vineyards and views of medieval villages. The hotel has a family-run feel—both Gardner and his wife are on hand—and an intimate aesthetic: frescoed walls in warm colors, English country house-style curtains, Italian antiques, and original wood-beamed ceilings. The pool sits in an olive grove dotted with lavender, chaises, and oleander-draped gazebos.

From $300; 39-055/ 884-0004;