Elena Nappa, a former interior designer, is now the consummate hostess at this centuries-old villa. The old-fashioned guest rooms are lovingly decorated with antique quilts and handmade wood furnishings (refrigerators are a nod to modern times). Elena is an authority on the surrounding area, and happily draws maps and suggests wine-tasting and touring routes. Follow signs for San Marcellino Monti to get here.
Località Borgo Argenina, 15 km (9 mi) south of Gaiole, Gaiole in Chianti, Tuscany, 53013, Italy
Jun 30, 2012
My wife and I recently returned from sixteen days in Italy and we had many great experiences, but when telling friends about our trip, we talk more about our time with Elena Nappa at Borgo Argenina than any other part. This special person and the wonderful place she created from the 1000 year old hamlet in the hills of Tuscany stands out. From the information I gathered when planning the trip, I was expecting something different and special, but
nothing that would compare with the reality. Almost immediately upon arriving and seeing the place and meeting Elena, I began thinking about how we might change our travel plans to spend more time there. It is a beautiful place on a hill surrounded by vineyards and more hills topped with ancient castles and tiny villages. From there, you can see for many miles and a camera pointed in any direction will capture a postcard image. The buildings were restored by Elena and her team with meticulous attention to detail that preserved the rustic design and features. They are surrounded with gardens filled with flowering plants that were just starting to bloom during our stay in May. The inside is as beautiful as the outside, both rustic and sophisticated at the same time. Being there is like being within a work of art. The hamlet is located in the heart of the Chianti region, a short distance from a scenic road that winds its way through unspoiled countryside. It is very quiet and provided a welcome retreat from the busy streets of Rome where we started our trip. But, while remote and secluded, you can be in Siena enjoying a glass of wine on Il Campo in less than 30 minutes. As special as the place is, Elena herself may be the most special and unique part of the Borgo Argenina experience. When we arrived, we were welcomed like we were family and I soon knew what she meant when she wrote earlier saying "just come and I will take care of you." She certainly did that and we are looking forward to another visit.
Nov 17, 2011
Borgo Argenina review I would love to say we had a marvelous time at Borgo Argenina, but sadly, that was not the case. I have never had to write such a negative review, but feel it necessary. First of all I have to say that Borgo Argenina is a very nice place as far as the buildings and accommodations go. Our problems were with the owner/innkeeper. There were so many issues that caused frustration (to put it mildly), that I decided to list them
so you would not think I just didn’t like the owner and decided to write a bad review. So here goes… 1. Upon arrival in Rome from US, I discovered I had lost my ATM card and had no way to get any cash. I did not have a pin number for my credit card to get a cash advance so that was not an option either. Knowing we had 3 weeks in Italy, finding resolve for this was our first priority upon arrival to Borgo Argenina (BA). To begin with, we were a bit confused trying to follow Elena's directions to her place, and finally decided to call her. When she answered the phone the first thing she said with what sounded like anger was "Where are you? I have been waiting all day!" She seemed shocked we could not easily drive there following her map. She would not stop talking and truly seemed angry with us for getting lost. She kept repeating that her map is perfect, that we could not be lost. I actually had to assertively ask her to stop talking so I could tell her where we were and to ask again how to get to BA from there. 2. First thing the next day she came to our room and told us she was angry that we did not sit down with her for her "Formal introduction talk" immediately upon our arrival for sight seeing and dining in the area, but instead talked to other guests for their ideas. She said we should ask her, not others, as this is her country. It was as though we "broke her rules". I am serious, she used the word "angry". I also heard her tell this same thing to other guests. 3. After breakfast we wanted to use her phone to make a collect call to our bank to request a new ATM card. I looked for Elena to get her permission, but was told she had left to go shopping. Since she knew about our problem concerning the ATM and the call was collect, I went ahead and used her office phone for the collect call. She came back while I was on the phone. As soon as I got off the phone, she ANGRILY confronted me saying I had no right to use her phone!!! She was raising her voice with me and I had to try interrupting her several times before she heard me say "I called collect". 4. My husband ask her if she would please call her bank and ask if they would accept a money wire from his brother in the US to hold us over until we could get a new ATM card. She refused to even make a call to her bank to ask. 5. A couple of times a week she cooks dinner for guests and they also help her cook if so desired. We had reservations to do this, but she refused to let us have dinner there because she only accepted cash for the dinner even though she knew we had the ATM issue. Alena accepts credit cards for the rooms, and she knew we were attempting to get a credit card cash advance from a bank in Florence 2 days later. 6. When we made our reservation, Alena let us know that we would have to change rooms 2 times while there and we agreed to this. In the email she wrote: “Anyway don't worry we'll think about moving the luggage and you will enjoy your vacation just coming back in a different accommodation.” But she flatly refused to move our luggage at all. She told us she could not possibly do that by herself. When I suggested she have her staff help her, she said, “That is not possible” and left the room. 7. She approached us on our 3rd day there and said she “made a mistake” and she owed us for one night since she noticed that our reservation was only for 4 nights, not 5. I told her it was for 5 and we would be leaving Saturday. She said, "That is not possible. I have already rented the room to other people". We had to show her our confirmation email she sent us for 5 nights and then she backed off. Thank goodness I traveled with my computer! Overall, Borgo Argenina was a bad experience. You may find it hard to believe that all this happened, but it did. Luckily, touring Tuscany was still as nice as ever!
Mar 14, 2009
When I looked at Borgo Argenina's web page I was amazed at how beautiful it was and made a reservation immediately. But, the truth is that being there in person was more idyllic than I could have imagined. The scenery was just unbelievable! We had breakfast on the terrace with a view of the vineyards, and we joked that it seemed like a painting at times. Now, that speaks of the perfect location, but the B&B itself was what made the trip. Elena is
attentive to every detail. It feels like a country home. It is appropriately rustic, to fit the scenery, but comfortable and extremely clean. When you are inside, away from the view, you feel that you are in Chianti. The building, and the people in it, belong to the place. Elena takes great care to decorate and fill the rooms with furniture and details that reflect the history of that region. It was just a joy to sit with her and hear her tell stories about her childhood in Napoli, the history and customs of Chianti, and how she came to start her B&B. Her daughter is also delightful. I laughed, I had amazing food, they gave me information about sites to visit, we saw a musical performed outdoors by the members of a nearby town, I met other residents of the area, and shared food and great conversation. I will honestly never forget this place and the experiences it brought me, and I know I want to go back...not just to Chianti, but to Borgo Argenina.