From fashion to fine wine: Salvatore Ferragamo Jr. delves into wine, hospitality, and 30 years of Il Borro legacy
Salvatore Ferragamo Jr.
I met Salvatore Ferragamo Jr. on a sunny day in Italy in the courtyard of Il Borro, his flagship destination wine resort in the heart of Tuscany. He approached the table as I was sipping a perfectly executed cappuccino, with church bells echoing in the background.
In that moment, it dawned on me that these very church bells were ringing from down the road in the medieval village that the Ferragamos also own. I assumed that he couldn’t have possibly timed that on purpose, but either way, he sure knew how to make an entrance.
This wasn’t our first meeting. I’ve worked with Ferragamo in the past on various family office efforts, talking about how he, as a third-generation family member of the Ferragamos, has charted his own course within the main family business.
Ferragamo Jr. is the oldest child of Ferruccio Ferragamo, the son of Italian fashion legend Salvatore Ferragamo. Interestingly, Ferragamo Jr. is a twin; and his brother, James, has stayed within the family’s core business, managing Salvatore Ferragamo’s men’s and women’s leather products division.
Ferragamo Jr., however, was looking to do something different — something in wine and hospitality. Educated stateside at NYU for both his undergrad and MBA, he studied the art of marketing and international business.
“The wine growing came naturally,” Ferragamo said with a smile.
The Il Borro property was purchased by the Ferragamo family holding company in 1993 originally for hunting. As the years went by and after Ferragamo gained his own experience in hospitality, he and his father began to see that the property, in fact, was the perfect place to plant grapes. With mountains to one side and a valley to another, there was this serendipitous opportunity that began to take shape. They knew they were able to plant both indigenous Italian grape varietals like sangiovese and international varietals like syrah.
So the family got to work building a beautiful wine resort, he explained, hosting guests from around the world. Alongside his sister, Vittoria, the duo created what they believe to be a unique, high-end experience coupled with true Italian hospitality, a hallmark of the region.
As the brand continued to innovate over the years, in 2015 they made a bold move: They decided to become a 100% organic agricultural estate, promoting sustainability through their accommodations and wine portfolio.
While the sustainability program began to flourish, Ferragamo turned his attention to another Tuscan family property with the hopes of restoring it to its former glory. In 2019, he opened the doors of Viesca, which was originally purchased by his grandmother Wanda Ferragamo back in 1950. She worked tirelessly to repair and restore the property, which became her passion project.
“She would leave her desk in Florence on her lunch break and drive out 25 minutes to check on Viesca every day,” Ferragamo recounted.
To honor his grandmother’s legacy, he decided to do the same, breathing new life into the family property. Today, it operates as a luxury hotel offering both suites and stand-alone villas that were once part of the Ferragamos’ family retreats. It has an on-site osteria offering breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a newly opened full-service spa that is aptly decorated with beautiful Ferragamo artwork throughout.
Viesca caters to family travelers who may be interested in extended stays in their villas, Ferragamo said. It also offers curated experiences like cooking classes, wine tastings, wellness classes, truffle hunting and a shuttle that goes back and forth to the Il Borro estate.
Even with the expansion of Viesca and taking Il Borro to international heights by expanding in Dubai, London and Crete, the family’s hospitality journey has come full circle. This year marks Il Borro’s 30th anniversary. The property is showcasing an on-site wine and art gallery coined 1993-2023 Il Borro — An Enduring Act of Faith throughout the year.
While Ferragamo spends most of his time on the road visiting the brand’s international destinations and with his clients of the Il Borro wine brand, he always feels most at peace when he’s at home in Tuscany.
Il Borro is more than just a hotel to him, he said. “It’s my home.”