Nestled upon a hill in the Tuscan countryside, this centuries-old farmhouse has been meticulously restored — merging 400 years of history with modern-day features.
With an original structure dating back to 1598, Podere Paníco features authentic wood beams, cotto flooring and roof tiles. Restoration architect Fulvio Di Rosa also purposefully hid modern infrastructure — such as plumbing, electrical, and insulation — to maintain a sense of authenticity throughout the home.
Additional, age-old building materials were sourced to maintain an historical presence. When encountering modern elements — such as indoor staircases, indoor lighting, or pools — Fulvio embraced contemporary materials to curate a luxurious touch as well.
“Fulvio has amazing attention to detail and a strict adherence to authenticity in the structural elements of the home,” says listing agent Bob Hurwitz of Hurwitz James Company. “Stonemasons and carpenters were tasked with problem solving using only methods and techniques available during the era of original construction.”
The abandoned property was rediscovered in 2013 with many of its beams and arches still intact. “What separates Paníco from other restorations, in addition to the unparalleled authenticity, is the open concept design that was achieved.… Paníco’s interior is spacious and light, with beautifully large, arched windows opening views in multiple directions from virtually anywhere in the home,” Hurwitz says. With over 7,000 square feet of living space, Paníco is the ideal setting for multiple families, corporate retreats, weddings, or any large gathering. Both homeowners and guests can relax in three distinct living areas — one on the main level, one on the upper level and one in the barn. Meanwhile, the open-concept kitchen with a traditional Tuscan fireplace allows for a range of culinary adventures. When you step outside of this one-of-a-kind home, you are greeted by unrivalled, sweeping vistas. “With its hilltop location, the 360-degree views from the property are amazing, particularly from the infinity pool,” Hurwitz says.
With a row of cypress trees that guide you up to the five-acre property, Paníco offers the utmost privacy, “with your only neighbors being other ruins in the distance and a herd of sheep that sometimes graze nearby,” says Hurwitz.
Located mere minutes from the historic streets of Siena, the location is another key selling point of this luxurious, Tuscan farmhouse. Hurwitz recommends that guests “spend the day exploring the classical and gothic architecture, the afternoon shopping in local markets, or [get] swept away with a romantic Italian dinner.”
“Pedal through the wide-open landscape of Crete Senesi, past ancient hilltop towns, brick farmhouses, iconic cypress trees, and lush vineyards. Then stop to savour delicious Pecorino cheeses, homemade pastas, fruity olive oils, and celebrated Tuscan wines,” adds Hurwitz.
This fantastically located home has more than 400 years of unique history, and once was even “used as a base of operations for the commander of the French army during the Allied campaign in Italy in WW ll,” according to Hurwtiz. More recently, the farmhouse served as home to countless families and animals. As the home is currently on the market, Hurwitz says that Paníco’s casual luxurious style will draw in large families in search of a first or second home. “Paníco also attracts affluent travelers and a high weekly rental rate, making it an ideal investment property,” he adds. “The quality and authenticity of the restoration will allow for maximum capital appreciation in the future.”
Photos by Marco Grillo.
A selection of gorgeous penthouse units on the market allow for home seekers to find a sky-high residence all their own. From the Italian countryside to the sandy beaches of Hawaii, here are a variety of penthouses across the globe, all with elevated aesthetic sensibilities and access to world-class amenities.
Castello di Casole, Bargagli Penthouse
Overlooking the hilltop town of Casole d’Elsa, the 3,350 square foot residence is perfectly situated within Castello di Casole, a historic castle in Tuscany, Italy that dates back to the 10th century. It is the ultimate in estate living encompassing three bedrooms, spacious private terrace, full kitchen and fireplace. Owners can enjoy a dedicated concierge, governate and private chefs as well as ensuite dining and spa services.
Photo courtesy of Casali di Casole.
Photo courtesy of Ascent South Lake Union.
Ascent South Lake Union, Penthouse C08
Developed by Greystar, this nautical-inspired two-bedroom, two-bathroom penthouse stands high within Ascent South Lake Union, a 25-story luxury apartment tower newly opened in Seattle’s up-and-coming neighborhood. Ascent South Lake Union offers penthouse residents prime access to the adjacent Amazon headquarters across the street, unparalleled views of the Downtown skyline, Lake Union and the Space Needle, and a host of smart home technology. Penthouse residents have access to The Observatory, a rooftop lounge and open-air deck, as well as an organic green roof, a rooftop spa, indoor entertainment kitchen, a pet spa, life-size Scrabble board and state-of-the-art fitness center. View the floor plan here.
Timbers Kauai, The Kaiholo Penthouse 3202
As the pinnacle of luxury at the newest resort and on the lush island of Kauai, the three-bedroom and three-and-a-half bathroom Kaiholo penthouse offers spacious living with cliffside views of the 18-hole Ocean Course at Hokuala, Hau’pu Mountain Range and Nawiliwili Bay. As the largest residence at Timbers Kauai, the penthouse spans 5,239 square feet with a 1,795 square foot private lanai and features include Sapele hardwood floors, natural stone vanities and custom cabinetry, and beautifully appointed kitchens with Thermador Masterpiece appliances and an integrated wine cooler.
Photo courtesy of Timbers Kauai.
The wildly popular social movement “farm-to-table” encourages sourcing food locally, so that consumers know exactly where their food came from. Knowing the origin of your food encourages the freshest dining, and that can be found in these three dining options. These farm-to-table experiences have taken sustainability to a luxury level.
OUTSTANDING IN THE FIELD
Originally staging a handful of events in 1999, luxury farm-to-table dinner service “Outstanding in the Field” today stages 100+ multi-course feasts every year, from coast to coast across North America to all around the world.
Founded in 1999 by artist and chef Jim Denevan, “Outstanding in the Field” originally was a radical idea to switch up the traditional convention of dinner. Rather than sourcing ingredients and bringing them to the restaurant, Denevan’s vision was to create a restaurant at the source, where guests would enjoy a communal meal and the farmer’s story could be told and celebrated. A single long table is set at an extraordinary site, and guests dine outdoors on the food grown at the source.
“Our mission is to get folks out to the places where the food comes from and honor the people whose good work brings nourishment to the table,” says chef and artist Jim Denevan. “Our roving restaurant without walls may be located wherever good food comes from. There are no boundaries.”
“Outstanding in the Field’s” culinary caravan has visited all 50 U.S states and 15 countries around the globe. The #TabletoFarm tour season runs May through November, with a smaller winter tour in January/February to warm-weather spots like Florida, Hawaii and Mexico.
STUDIO IN MONTAGE LAGUNA BEACH, CALIFORNIA
Overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Laguna Beach, Studio is Montage Laguna Beach’s five-star free-standing fine dining restaurant. Studio prides itself on serving innovative modern cuisine. While Studio is known for its tasting menus and incredible service, it is also a Wine Spectator Grand Award winner, with approximately 2,500 wine selections and 30,000 bottles in inventory.
Studio’s showstopper is the 1,000-square-foot raised bed garden, which provides many of the ingredients for the restaurant’s signature cuisine. The garden is currently growing cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, Swiss chard, Valencia oranges, artichokes and edible flowers, to name a few. The culinary team at Studio uses the garden’s bounty in everyday cooking, especially in the restaurant’s gourmet vegetarian tasting menu, and also for fresh cocktail garnishes throughout Montage. The garden can seat up to 50 guests.
FLORA’S FIELD KITCHEN, MEXICO
Flora Farms is a 25-acre organic working farm at the foot of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, and is home to Flora’s Field Kitchen, a field-to-table restaurant set amongst idyllic organic fields and gardens.
The original Flora Restaurant was in San Jose del Cabo, but after 5 years in town, the owner decided she would rather bring the restaurant to the farm instead of the other way around. Flora’s Field Kitchen prides itself on serving only what it has grown, even nixing beef from the menu, as it is not sustainable in the Baja region.
Flora’s has an onsite bakery firing up artisan breads, a butcher-shop, a brewery, and a wood-fired oven that serves up 15 types of Neapolitan-style pizza.. The restaurant also offers cooking classes several days a week.
Flora Farm is available for private gatherings and special occasions, with customizable event menus.
AGRICOLA FORE PORTA, ITALY
Only accessible on foot, this organic agriturismo, or farm resort, only uses seasonal, organic products, with the famous Amalfi lemons at the forefront of the fresh cuisine.
For Italians, the idea of combining agriculture with tourism is an old tradition, and this agriturismo started generations ago, when the farm was an old papermill. Agricola Fore Porta today offers a daily menu, which includes traditional courses prepared only with seasonal products picked freshly every morning, and Mediterranean cooking lessons, where participants will learn how to prepare local recipes.
This prestigious, elegant 400-square-meter residence is just a few meters from the Spanish steps in Via di Fontanella Borghese, inside Merenghi Palace. Expertly revisited by architect and interior designer Tommaso Ziffer, high-quality finishes and smart home technology make this house one of a kind.
From the sumptuous entrance, the large salon with large panoramic windows greets visitors. A dining room environment with a relaxation area and a guest room with a bath complete this part of the home. In this wing of the house, there is room for both laundry and services area, and a magnificent, well-equipped design kitchen equipped with all the comforts.
In the opposite wing, the sleeping area gives ample space and privacy to its guests, thanks to a pure oriental-style master suite with a large boiserie and private service with sauna, as well as two comfortable bedrooms, each with en suites.
“The architecture of the building and the large stairwells, with frescoes and classical statues, carry people on a journey through time,” says listing agent Valentina Bodini of Coldwell Banker Bodini Barbera International Real Estate, who is listing the property with Andrea Barbera. “The magnificence of the apartment gives a unique sensation, livable only in Rome and only in a wonderfully renovated apartment like this.”
Offered for 5.9 million euros, the apartment features 4 bedrooms, 5 baths and also includes 2 convenient parking spaces and a cellar. “The building is connected to the Borghese place by underground passages and cellars,” says Bodini. “The final result is astonishing.”
On the sloping Tuscan hills, San Damiano is a turnkey, custom-built farm home where old world meets new.
By Mark Moffa
Q: What do you get when you combine an unbeatable location in Italy’s Tuscan hillside with impeccable service, enviable accommodations and authentic culinary experiences?
A: Castello di Casole – A Timbers Resort (Europe’s No. 1 Resort, as ranked by Travel + Leisure), which recently hosted Unique Homes for three beautiful nights to experience its magic firsthand. What we discovered was a perfectly placed paradise offering the finest level of service imaginable.
The setting is storybook. Through a cypress-lined drive up to a hilltop in Siena, a Middle Age castle from the 10th century serves as the core of the hotel and resort. “We are very, very lucky, because we are in the heart of Tuscany,” says Gabriele Olla, senior sales manager. Some of the world’s best wineries are very close, as are Michelin-starred restaurants — Florence is an easy 45-minute drive. But visitors and residents hardly have to leave the 4,200-acre estate.
The resort is breathtaking. General Manager Federico Galligani, hired by Timbers in 2015, deserves credit for running a seamless operation that allows his guests to indulge without a concern. We were treated to an aperitif on the hotel terrace while enjoying the sunset over the Tuscan countryside. And Executive Chef Daniele Sera wowed us with a memorable tasting menu at Tosca Restaurant (modern molecular gastronomy meets traditional Italian goodness here).
The draw is universal. Folks are coming from around the world (such as the United States, Brazil, England, Russia, Germany, the Middle East and Singapore) to enjoy inspired cuisine; indulge in spa treatments inspired by ancient Etruscan beauty rituals; sip on a bottle of exclusive estate-grown Dodici wine; immerse themselves in culture with an Italian language, art or cooking class; explore winding country roads behind the wheel of a Ferrari; or simply bask poolside under the Tuscan sun.
The real estate is heavenly. Jo Ann Hawley, senior sales executive, drove us around the dreamlike grounds, explaining that buyers can purchase Farms at Castello di Casole with an existing ruin to be restored, or build a new “reconstructed” farmhouse. Prices are two-phased — figure on land costs around 3 million, and another 3 million to build. Italian VAT can be steep, but Hawley says these properties offer a break. “You have significant tax advantages and entitlements with the farms.”
The opportunity is unique. Produce your own wine or olive oil on your own land, while enjoying the amenities of a five-star hotel. The farms offer 120 to 150 acres of cultivable land with crops consisting of vineyards, olive groves, fruit orchards and wheat fields along with a customized luxury farmhouse at the center. The winemaking opportunity is “really tailored to how much involvement the owner wants to have,” Hawley says.
Photos courtesy Timbers Resorts
It’s no secret that Italy — home to many admired artists, designers and architects — has produced a range of beautiful artistry. So it’s no surprise that today’s Italian-crafted furniture continues to bring unique elements to any home, from bathroom to kitchen to outdoor living areas.
By Alyssa Gautieri
Designed by Italian artist Piero Fornasetti, these hand-painted tile designs feature bright and whimsical patterns like balloons, planes and ships. Inspired by the frescoes that Fornasetti painted as a young man in his bedroom, Hastings Tile & Bath’s Machinne Volanti is reflective of Italian artistry. “We work very hard to find artisans and manufacturers whose products are unique — and unlike anything else you would find here in North America,” said Kevin Mashia, the director of tile products for Hastings Tile & Bath. “We certainly feel that the Fornasetti collection of tiles is the perfect embodiment of our continued mission.”
Photo courtesy of Hastings Tile & Bath
Gloss Black Appliances
ILVE is embracing the re-emerging kitchen design trend — black appliances and finishes — with its new Gloss Black color option available in the Majestic Collection of ranges and hoods. Known for its handcrafted Italian appliances, ILVE’s Gloss Black finish continues to bring luxury to life. “The Gloss Black finish is so rich, it adds a layer of elegance, drama and sophistication to the kitchen,” said Melissa Haber, director of sales and marketing for EuroChef USA. With more than 220 colors, three trim options and four leg options, this collection is truly customizable.
Photo courtesy of ILVE Appliances
Twentieth presents Lebello’s Italian-crafted Hexa Stools, which are available in a range of hexagonal shapes and colors, as well as three sizes and two heights. While they bring life to outdoor areas, these stools also use a knit-tech fabric and Breath-Air foam to provide extraordinary outdoor softness and elasticity. Twentieth’s Founder and Director Stefan Lawrence called the sophistication of the fabric an “incredible advantage.” “The stools may look ordinary from a distance, but the uniqueness lies in its knit-tech fabric,” agreed Lars Dahmann, Lebello’s founder and brand manager. “I find the product very striking. It’s a harmonious balance of innovative materials with a simple design approach.”
Photo courtesy of Lebello
Il Castelfalfi, the much anticipated five-star property in the heart of Tuscany, has opened its doors for guests traveling from across the world. The new estate is situated on Toscana Resort Castelfalfi’s 2,700 acre hotel and across from its first hotel, the 4-star La Tabaccaia. Once a ghost town, the 800 year old medieval village is now a one-of-a-kind embodiment of the Italian lifestyle nestled in the hills of Montaione and the ideal destination for vacationers seeking relaxation, endless activities, and accessibility to the popular sites in nearby Pisa and Florence.
Boasting 120-rooms, this “destination within a destination” adds an elegant flair to the breathtaking Toscana Resort Castelfalfi, whose grounds are three times the size of another European favorite, Monaco. Il Castelfalfi blends seamlessly into the Tuscan landscape and conveys the true spirit of its surroundings, marrying age-old tradition with modernity that respects the past and the importance of a sustainable future through its eco-friendly amenities.
Il Castelfalfi’s additional features include two elegant bars: Il Giglio Blu, overlooking the outdoor swimming pool, and Ecrù, in the hotel’s lobby and perfect for relaxation while tasting classic drinks or special recipes.
Fine dining includes La Via del Sale, featuring authentic Italian cuisine that combines the freshest ingredients, handmade pastas and local recipes from Executive Chef Francesco Ferretti and an extensive wine collection. In addition, La Spa, a 10,000+ square foot indoor wellness center includes an indoor-outdoor pool, treatment rooms, a relaxation area and tea room and a variety of areas designed for relaxation and rejuvenation including a sauna, bio sauna and steam bath. More than 2,000 square feet of meetings space and a 2,000+ square foot gym also entice.
Visiting guests are also welcome to experience the Toscana Resort Castelfalfi’s existing amenities, including the 27-hole Golf Club Castelfalfi, regarded as one of the most challenging in Italy, tennis courts, on-property cooking school, The Medieval Borgo (village) that is home to a dozen local shops, two additional restaurants, and activities such as truffle hunting and tasting the estate-produced wine.
The nightly room rates, starting at 320 euros, make this destination an accessible oasis, with a variety of accommodations from classic rooms to spacious suites, which either feature a terrace or private garden.
Toscana Resort Castelfalfi is much more than just a place for guests to rest their head. It’s a gateway to Italy for your readers. We’re happy to provide additional information, hi-res images or commentary from hotel executives.