The old Pieve di San Felice, which was restored to its present day appearance between 1920 and 1930, retains some features of its original Romanesque design, the period in which many churches in Chianti were built. Noteworthy remains of the Medieval church include the round arch in the interior, and two marble columns of Roman origin. The church provides an enchanting vista amid the hamlet's lanes. The eighteenth-century Maddalena Chapel is also worthy of note. Borgo San Felice is at the centre of a region suffused in history and art: a jewel set between Siena, Florence and San Gimignano, in countryside considered for centuries to be the highest expression of Humanism. A few minutes from the hamlet and the visitor can admire views of Brolio Castle; 3 Km towards Castelnuovo are the medieval houses in Villa Sesta and San Gusmè. The surrounding area contains a wealth of Romanesque churches and Chianti abbeys, including San Salvatore, the Pontignano Charterhouse, Santa Maria a Pacina and Meleto. Towns in Chianti, such as Castelnuovo Berardenga, Gaiole, Radda and Castellina are like jewels studded in a landscape dotted with numerous castles. A view of the bizzarre cityscape of Siena can be enjoyed. Siena cultivated the sublime art of Duccio di Buoninsegna, Ambrogio Lorenzetti and Simone Martini, whose masterpieces can be seen in the Cathedral, Palazzo Pubblico and in the Piazza del Campo. Siena, which retains its Medieval appearance almost intact, is today, as in the past, divided into contradas', vestiges of a jealously guarded Medieval urban organisation, that feeds civic pride through rivalry and competition, most notably in the Palio'. Ambrogio Lorenzetti and Simone Martini also executed works in Chianti, which are now housed in the San Casciano museums. The Elsa valley is also close at hand with the fourteenth-century houses of Colle, the crystal town', Volterra, the towers and churches of San Gimignano and the walled village dear to Dante, Monteriggioni. Siena is also close to the Orcia valley, boasting the ideal Renaissance town of Pienza, an architectural delight, and the Romanesque San Quirico d'Orcia, with the beauty of the Horti Leonini, one of the finest examples of sixteenth-century garden architecture, offset by the bare countryside around the town. Florence, with its incomparable art treasures, is only one hour's drive from San Felice, through the magnificent Chianti hills.
Discovering Chianti is easy while spending relaxing days immersed in the nature and history of San Felice, enjoying the highest standards of comfort. The prestigious hotel has 43 rooms, including elegant suites. The whole of the hotel is in the typically sober Tuscan style. Guests stay either in the main palazzo on the hamlet's small piazza or in the Medieval houses with their characteristic arches, loggias and stairways. Some rooms have beautiful views, encompassing the sinuous rhythm of Chianti hills towards Siena and the high peak of Monte Amiata beyond. Other rooms have charming views of the stone-built hamlet and its lanes, giving an incomparable sense of time standing still. The rooms are furnished with quality, hand crafted and antique Tuscan furniture. The sizes of the rooms vary from building to building, reflecting in their authenticity, the uses to which they were put in the past.
While wandering through the lanes, the visitor is soon attracted by the flavours and aromas of the hamlet, by the successful combination of its rustic beauty and the refined elegance of its restaurant. Poggio Rosso serves elaborate and innovative dishes that never lose sight of typically Tuscan values. The two basic protagonists are Chianti Classico extra virgin olive oil and wine. The cuisine is of utmost importance, it is almost the star attraction of this Relais hotel, which has chosen local traditions in favour of the tired international cuisine so often monotonously served elsewhere. The restaurant combines Chianti cuisine with a touch of creativity to improve and stimulate a new tradition linked to the roots, which have never been abandoned. In order to achieve this objective, only the highest qualità ingredients are used. The wine list includes various Sangiovese wines, which accompany the dishes on the menu well, as well as Chianti Classico wines and Brunello di Montalcino. The wine list is extensive and well-researched, including over five hundred labels.
Borgo San Felice, in the heart of Chianti, lies on a hill 350 m. above sea level, only 15 Km from Siena, 6 Km from Castelnuovo Berardenga, an hour by car from Florence and two and a half hours from the capital, Rome. This jewel, set amid straight rows of vines and olives, has something to offer for all visitors: the woods on the steep slopes of the high Chianti Mountains, the imposing castles in the vicinity, the vineyards and hills descending towards the Crete Senesi. The hamlet, appearing almost suspended amid the succession of hills and valleys, is mentioned in a document dated 714, the year the controversy between the Bishops of Arezzo and Siena flared up over possession of the Church of S. Felice in Avane (the toponym suggests Avane to be Etruscan in origin). From 988 San Felice was known as a Pieve (parish church). Throughout the Middle Ages the hamlet was caught up in the fierce battles between the rival towns of Florence and Siena. For many years San Felice has been considered among the most important Chianti Classico wine producing estates, and, at the same time, it offers residential accommodation for élite tourism. San Felice is one of the most notable examples of new' Chianti, with the Estate producing high quality wines and the Hotel the most prestigious in the Relais & Chateaux chain. The careful restoration has highlighted the architectonic features of the nineteenth-century palazzos and the period charm of the limited number of stone-built houses on the picturesque lanes. The hamlet provides a perfect slice of the Middle Ages, where time itself should be savoured'. A piece of unmistakeable Tuscany.