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.
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
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.