Villa Lena, the agriturismo hotel and artists residency in rural Tuscany, will re-open for the season in June with exciting renovations in collaboration with renowned architecture studio Hesselbrand and a new restaurant concept created by the founders of East London’s Sager and Wilde and Paris’ Le Mary Celeste.
The renovations will see the introduction of six beautifully designed bedrooms in Villa Lena’s San Michele building – a light filled space that houses the hotel’s restaurant and bar and is conveniently a short walk from the main pool. Each room features a luxurious ensuite bathroom and French door-windows offering unrivalled views either across the Tuscan hills or of the majestic Villa. In addition, walls of the new rooms are adorned with hand-painted frescoes by previous artist in residence at Villa Lena, Jay One Ramier, that combine botanical themes with his signature poetry to bring the outside in. Architectural layouts have been overseen by leading international design studio and previous Villa Lena collaborators Hesselbrand; the interior design has been led by Villa Lena’s founder and owner Lena Evstafieva. The renovations reflect Villa Lena’s central ethos of creativity and collaboration.
The bedrooms feature wood floors with marble skirting, traditional linen curtains, furniture made by local carpenters using Lebanon Cedar from the Villa Lena estate, beautiful Murano glass light fixtures and yellow patinato ceilings. The traditionally Tuscan patinato paint-finish continues on the bathroom walls alongside opaque resin floors, large bathtubs, oversized showers and handmade Sicilian tiles in jewel tones. The dragon scale design that can be found in the bathroom tiles references the building’s namesake San Michele who famously slaughtered a dragon.
Re-designed for the upcoming season, the rooms celebrate the beauty of imperfection, natural materials and a vibrant Italian palette. The character of each room is embedded in the use of local materials and meticulous craftsmanship and all furnishings are either antiques, recycled vintage or sourced from local makers offering a connection to the area and its skilled makers.
In addition to the San Michele renovations, Villa Lena’s Renacchi apartments have undergone an extensive eco-makeover. The renovations’ primary focus has been to improve the structure’s carbon footprint, eliminating the use of fossil fuels and switching to sustainable and renewable energy sources. Controlled electrical and thermal systems help to efficiently manage the lighting and air conditioning systems. Solar panels and ground-source heat pumps support the green credentials of the building and support Villa Lena’s move toward autonomous energy production, ensuring the estate becomes less reliant on the national grid and uses the natural and unlimited resources available such as the sun.
Also new for 2021, Villa Lena will see the launch of the new San Michele Restaurant, the brain-child of powerhouse hospitality trio Michael Sager of East London’s Sager and Wilde, plus Joshua Fontaine and Carina Soto Velasquez of Paris-based hospitality company Quixotic. The union was brought about organically, following the new collaborators’ stay at the hotel in 2020. Drawing from their vast areas of expertise in food, wine and hospitality, and influences spanning cuisines from the Mediterranean and beyond, the new restaurant’s menu will offer simplicity and honesty, with fresh pastas, house-made cheeses, and locally sourced wines, all led by produce and provenance, making use of the natural larder at one’s fingertips amid the rolling hills of rural Tuscany.
Set up as a hotel alongside an artist residency scheme, Villa Lena encourages guests to join in with creative activities and an ongoing exciting programme of events. Artists are invited to contribute to an eclectic programme of performances, talks and workshops throughout their four-week residency; these are complimentary to guests. Confirmed classes and workshops for guests in 2021 include botanical drawing and painting with artist Jess Wheeler, creating natural inks using vegetables and plants with Chiara Leto and Floral cyanotyping with Evalie Wagner.
Villa Lena will re-open on weekends for the 2021 season from 1st June. Rates starting from €260 for B&B double occupancy. Day passes are €25 for adults and €10 for kids. Image credit: Annabel Sougne