Pimar Wins Award for Restoration of Ancient Italian Walls

For those looking to travel to Italy this summer, make sure to visit the town of Lecce in the country’s southern Apulia region. Filled with gorgeous cathedrals and historical sites, the city has an “oOld-w World” feel to it — especially now that the Parco delle Mure Urbiche, the city’s ancient walls, have now been restored.

The Italian limestone manufacturing company Pimar recently won first-place for its restoration of Parco delle Mure Urbiche in the city of Lecce during the City Brand & Tourism Landscape Symposium on June 20, 2019.

In the restoration of the ancient city walls located in Lecce, Pimar collaborated with architect Patrizia Erroi from the Historic Center Office of the city of Lecce. Both aimed to enhance the value of an archaeological area in a harmonious relationship with the landscape, while making it fully accessible to the public.

The international design recognition is promoted by the National Board of Architects, Planners, Landscape Architects and Conservation Architect and International Magazine PAYSAGE TOPSCAPE, in collaboration with the Milan Triennial, which hosted the inauguration ceremony its Hall of Honour.

Within the framework of the rehabilitation of urban space, Pimar stood out for being a “well thought-out requalification project focusing on the restoration of the historic city walls, which unveiled an unprecedented scenery in Lecce.”

The restoration of the Mura Urbiche made exclusive use of Pimar natural stone. Thanks to the restoration works, the walls are now perceived — together with the moat and the rock outcropping unearthed by the archaeological dig — as a single stone landscape having intrinsic figurative and formal qualities. The restoration work performed on the 16th century fortress also brought to light a Roman road, dating to between the 2nd and the 3rd century BC, which continued to be used until the 16th century.

The detailed and laborious process granted Pimar the first-place award at the symposium. With this recognition, the association reasserted its commitment to the promotion and development of landscape architecture on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the first course of studies in Landscape Architecture.

With the guidance of experts, travelers are able to experience more than simple sightseeing.

Spanning across Africa, Europe and The United States, these expert-led trips — curated by Architectural Adventures — blend world-class vacations with a deep appreciation for culture, history and architecture. Serving as the official travel program of The American Institute of Architects, Architectural Adventures plans each trip alongside knowledgeable architectural experts — unlocking the historical, cultural, and aesthetic significance behind the world’s most notable architecture.

©istockphoto / Daniel_Keuck

©istockphoto / TomasSereda

“In both Barcelona and Rome, we stay in the same city, and each day discover more about it. Staying in one place affords developing a more intimate look at the architecture and culture of the city.”

Sophia Gruzdys

Barcelona, Spain

Whether she’s embracing the local language, indulging in local cuisine, or exploring historic architecture, Sophia Gruzdys — an Architectural Adventures expert since 2017 — brings her own perspective to each tour she plans.

The licensed architect and educator has led tours in Barcelona and Rome, and will lead two Barcelona tours in 2019. “In both Barcelona and Rome, we stay in the same city, and each day discover more about it. Staying in one place affords developing a more intimate look at the architecture and culture of the city,” Gruzdys explains.

In Rome, travelers explore a wide range of architectural styles — including Contemporary, Fascist-style, Art Deco, and Renaissance. Meanwhile in Barcelona, travelers visit Antoni Gaudí’s iconic Sagrada Família and recently opened Casa Vicens, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s famed Bareclona Pavillion, and the modern urbanism of the @22 District. “It’s fascinating to compare the styles that emerged in our culture in different periods of history in different cities,” Gruzdys says.

Gruzdys, who encourages travelers to engage with local languages and embrace local culture, values the importance of hands-on experience. “It’s so rewarding to travel with people who are interested in the architecture — and to share their enjoyment. Each time I visit the sites, I’ll notice something new, and continue to learn from the experiences of others,” she says.

©istockphoto / TomasSereda

“I have traveled all over the world, but traveling back to San Antonio makes me more aware of its architectural history, and its many layers and textures.”

Jane Martin

San Antonio, Texas, United States

First discovered by Spanish explorers in the 1600s, San Antonio’s identity has always been strongly rooted in Mexican culture, history, art and architecture. From exploring the city’s Spanish colonial past at the Alamo and other UNESCO World Heritage Missions to cruising along the San Antonio Riverwalk, those who travel to San Antonio will be deeply immersed in local culture.

Jane Martin — architecture educator, historian and resident of San Antonio — will lead her first trip with Architectural Adventures in 2019 in her hometown. “I have traveled all over the world, but traveling back to San Antonio makes me more aware of its architectural history, and its many layers and textures,” she says. “There is a lot to see in San Antonio, and I am constantly discovering new things. There are a great variety of architectural styles — with everything from Spanish Colonial, all the way to International Modern.”

Travelers will also visit Sir David Adjaye’s cutting-edge Ruby City, the newest of the city’s world-class museums, and learn about historic Pearl Brewery, now a 22-acre complex with housing, retail and fine dining. “I hope this trip helps to bring San Antonio to the world, encourages people to sign up for the tour and enjoy the city,” Martin says.

©istockphoto / Marco_Bonfanti

Milan, Italy

From marveling at Milan Cathedral, touring Santa Maria delle Grazie (home to Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper), to visiting the UniCredit Tower, those who travel to Milan will surely learn a great deal from Architecture Adventures expert David Rifkind.

Leading a nine-day tour in 2019, the architectural history professor and practicing architect will explore the city’s range of historic architecture, as well as its recent cultural renaissance — which led to the creation of new museums, sustainable architecture, and Contemporary art exhibits. “I was surprised to learn that architects tend to be very interested in Contemporary architecture,” notes Rifkind, who also finds that non-architects tend to be more interested in historic structures.

Rifkind’s trip to Milan will bring together a unique group of travelers, consisting of both architects and non-architects from around the globe. “The dynamic of the people on the trip really does impact the experience in a really positive way,” Rifkind says. “Experiencing architecture first-hand is a unique pleasure, and alongside a group of diverse people who share your passion is truly magical. It has been rewarding to learn how travelers experience places that I thought I understood.”

While Rifkind understands the importance of an informative lecture, he also highly values hands-on learning. “It is really fascinating when a relatively small group of people experience a city together,” says Rifkind, who made unique contributions for this trip to contrast classroom learning.

“Experiencing architecture first-hand is a unique pleasure, and alongside a group of diverse people who share your passion is truly magical.”

David Rifkind

©istockphoto / Daniel_Keuck

“Although my studies will be very helpful, leading an Architectural Adventures tour will be a new experience for me. It will be very interesting to give tours to travelers who are already immersed in architecture.”

Stanley Ira
Hallet

Morocco

From volunteering in Tunisia for the Peace Corp to lecturing at the University of Kabul in Afghanistan, Architectural Adventures expert Stanley Ira Hallet’s range of cultural experiences has prepared him to lead a tour throughout Morocco in 2019.

“Although my studies will be very helpful, leading an Architectural Adventures tour will be a new experience for me. It will be very interesting to give tours to travelers who are already immersed in architecture,” says Hallet. The trip will include visits to the Hassan II Mosque, the French-designed Habous Quarter, and the Majorelle Garden (a two-and-a-half-acre botanical garden).

Whether travelers are exploring the ancient capital of Mauretania, Volubilis, visiting the medieval school of Bouanania (which was built in the 1300s), or marveling at the Sahara Desert, Hallet says they will partake in a “completely different urban experience.”

Hallet, who also has a passion for photography, hopes the trip will offer travelers a more complete story of Morocco.

Photo by Giacomo Maestri. 

New design brand LATOxLATO, founded by the young architects Francesco Breganze de Capnist and Virginia Valentini, presents its first collection of furnishings and objects that strives to tell a story of true passion for Italian design. Exclusively made in Italy, LATOxLATO uses the finest materials and refined techniques, all built on a search for the best artisans and craftspeople. 

“LATOxLATO comes from the wish of bringing the artisans’ knowledge passed down across generations to the public,” say designers Breganza de Capnist and Valentini, “and make people realize that in Italy we still have a great tradition of true masters of the art that mold one piece at a time with their hands … Our mission is to show the consumer everyday objects in a different way from the one they are used to seeing them, freed from the constraints of the usual trends through the constant dialogue between art, aesthetics and functionality.”

The duo is usually inspired by day to day life, taking their personal memories as well as the architecture of Italy and transposing generalized design concepts into household pieces. For those looking to outfit their home, both designers say that these pieces help to “tell a story about [the] owner.”  

“Each product has a unique and recognizable identity and is meant to embellish its new home and also bring value to its new owner. The goal is to give the consumer the chance to own a very unique piece that tells a story about him, what he likes and what are his dreams.”

There are several pieces in the collection, varying in look and purpose. The Fourmosa storage chest draws on the clean formal lines of classic Italian design from the 1950s, updated for the modern age.

The piece is in varnished oak, with masterfully carved sharp edges bringing a sense of continuity to the surface. Designed to fit together in infinite combinations, these pieces create a dynamic, personalized piece that can even be expanded over time.

The trapezoidal modules easily lend themselves to various free combinations, without the use of joints. 

Photo by Matteo Imbriani.

1950s design also provided inspiration for Aracne, an unconventional coffee table with an unexpected eight-legged silhouette. Its round glass top seems to float atop the elegant zoomorphic structure, solid and airy at the same time.

Its eight wooden supports, with rounded edges that allow the top to nestle into place with a natural elegance, create an evocative visual rhythm, interacting with its surroundings by projecting delicate threads of shadow into the light.

Precise woodworking and organic design make Aracne an elegant presence full of personality. 

Photo by Giacomo Maestri. 

Candleholders, vases and a centerpiece are a tribute to the Italian art and architecture that inspires their form and character.

The Vestalia candleholder boasts the natural elegance of the most precious marbles, from Carrara White to Carnico Gray and Imperial Green. 

A complex process of water-jet carving, entrusted to historic Venetian ateliers, brings out the stone’s edges and veining.

Their design, rich in tactile emotions and interactive possibilities, makes them objects of compelling sculptural presence. 

Photo by Matteo Imbriani.

The arched ceramic vases Marcello, Massimo and Vittorio offer a subtle allusion to Italy’s Palladian villas and palaces and to the perspectives of Metaphysical art.

The detailing in precious 24k gold or platinum creates reflections of light and motion in perspective.

The pure white of the surface showcases the precious glaze finish and the imperceptible differences in intensity that come from handmade artistry. 

Left photo: Marcello; Right photo: Massimo

Both photos by Giacomo Maestri. 

The beauties of artisanal ceramic return in the Sophia table centerpiece, inspired by the great piazzas of the città d’arte, Italy’s “Cities of Art.”

A meticulous study in proportion, Sophia presents itself as a scale model of the arches and porticoes of Renaissance architecture.

The result is an abstract geometric form, rich in sensory character and vibrant with luminous details that enrich the pure white of the ceramic. 

Photo by Matteo Imbriani.

Based in Milan, Spagnulo & Partners has been one of the forerunners of architecture and luxury interior design not only in Italy but throughout the world. Federico Spagnulo, the founder and senior partner of the firm, shared his insights on the recent trends in design and his experience in the industry.

Where are you from and where did you learn design?

I was born in Milan where I studied by the Politecnico, University of Architecture. I also lived in Berlin in the 90s and worked by the architectural office Steinebach & Weber.

What is your style, and what makes you stand out among other designers?

We have a tailored approach to the Interior Design Project. In our mind, every project should be different depending on the aim of the place, the cultural context and the client’s needs. Like a tailor, I love to customize our projects and to face them as it was the first time. Thanks to this approach, the style is shared on each new project, changing every time to create a unique and custom-made experience.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a designer?

My father was an artist. He taught me and my brother, our art director, that the only way to be really free is simply to love our job. To be an architect is fantastic.

What are some recurring trends that you are seeing in 2019?

The most important new trends are some subject matters which are not strictly referred to the architectural and design world. A lot of influence is, for instance, coming from the contemporary art experience and from the cultural aspects related to India, China, Russia etc. That’s why I consider the real new trend in our job as the capacity to hear and to watch what’s coming from the outside world.

The real new trend in our job as the capacity to hear and to watch what’s coming from the outside world.

— Federico Spagnulo

What 2019 trends surprise you the most and why?

The last exhibition of Marina Abramovic in Florence. The courage to provoke a new way of thinking is always a generator of a concept. It doesn’t matter if positive or negative, but it’s always in the direction of a new beginning.

What are you working on right now?

We are involved in two new 5-star hotel projects in Dubai with 200 rooms and Doha with 300 rooms. We are also involved in the restoration of one of the most important antique palaces in Florence, Palazzo Portinari Salviati, which will be completely transformed into a luxury residence with about 40 flats. We are involved in a new architectural project of 110,000 square meters for a co-living house, offices, 3 theaters and vertical farms in Taipei, Taiwan; two new fine dining restaurants in London; two Villas on the Como Lake, and in Tuscany.

What is the most challenging part of your job and why?

To respect the client’s needs and expectations within the cultural and styling choices coming from the aim of the place where the project is located. I don’t like to continually propose the same approach to our projects, as we always work in different places and situations. This means that every time we start from scratch to invent a new story.  

What does Italian design mean to you?

Just three important elements: hundreds of years of history; an incredible capacity of workers, artisans and small companies; and good architects able to talk with the first two elements and understanding that that alone it is not possible to reach good results. 

Explain your process when beginning a new project.

We always start from the place and from the cultural aspects of where we are working. This analysis is combined with the client’s requests and becomes a concept that contains the strategic, cultural styling and practical elements that are the main pillars of the entire project. We spend a lot of time and effort on this phase, providing sketches, stories, videos, materials, music, samples and all that is necessary to create the right starting point for all the rest.

What inspires you?

If you are able to hear and watch what is outside from your usual context, it will be possible to catch real unexpected suggestions. The real inspiration, for me, is the surprise. 

Photos courtesy of Spagnulo & Partners

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.

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.

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.

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 CasoleA 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

Machinne Volanti

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

Hexa Stools

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

This story originally appeared in Unique Homes Summer 2017. 

Click here to see the digital version.

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