Relaxing amongst vineyards
Many foreigners dream of holidaying in a farmhouse in the Italian countryside to savour the silence, the rustic landscapes and the excellent food and wine. For many years the regions of Tuscany and Umbria were the most popular destinations for this kind of dream holiday, but in more recent times tourists have begun to explore the Piedmont hills and in particular the wine-growing regions of Langhe-Roero and Monferrato, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as cultural landscapes in 2014.
It is in these regions dotted with vineyards that the Swiss couple Mathis Sandie Corinne and Reutlinger Christof chose to convert a recently-purchased house into a holiday residence capable of sleeping 24 people. From its hilltop setting, Villa Loreto offers a 360° view over the surrounding hills, the Alps and the nearby castle of Costigliole d’Asti.
Consisting of a three-floor villa and a building originally used as a barn with stables and an agricultural storeroom below, the complex displays the typical characteristics of the local architectural tradition: plastered loadbearing walls, terracotta or wood floors, Luserna stone and iron detailing, tiled roofs and exposed wood beam ceilings. These characteristics were maintained in the conservative restoration project awarded to architect Luigi Duretto, which included the two buildings and the grounds were equipped areas and two swimming pools with panoramic views were built.
The 400 square metre villa can accommodate up to 12 people and extends over three floors each of height 3.70 metres connected by a central stone staircase. The ground floor is organised as a living area with a large living room, dining room, kitchen and terraces, while the two upper floors each have two double bedrooms with private bathrooms. The second building was converted into two residences, Cascina Loreto “Vigne” and Cascina Loreto “Castello”. Organised on two levels with the living and kitchen area on the ground floor, they each have a floor space of 95 square metres and can sleep up to 6 people.
Local building techniques and materials were used to maintain the original character of the buildings. This involved restoring the existing buildings wherever possible and using new materials that combine a vintage look with contemporary levels of performance. For the two residences built in the barn, the material chosen for the floor covering was the Old Wood porcelain tile collection from Ceramica Fioranese. With a natural wood effect and a dry, slightly rough surface, the tiles were chosen in a beige colour and with an aged pattern reminiscent of the rough boards typically used in barns. The warm and informal atmosphere of country houses was also recreated in the bathrooms, where Cementine 20 porcelain tiles, also produced by Ceramica Fioranese, were selected for the shower area. This collection is inspired by the motifs and material look of early-twentieth-century cement tiles, revisited with contemporary graphic and pictorial techniques. Created by designer Silvia Stanzani, the collection comes in nine decorative square patterns that allow for unlimited compositions with irregular, artisanal appeal. In both cases, the tiles are produced using up to 40% recycled materials in a process that also recovers water and waste materials from the production cycle in keeping with the energy-saving philosophy embraced by the project. Further environmentally-friendly features include the installation of photovoltaic panels and electrically powered heat pumps and rainwater collection for irrigation.
Fioranese, Old_Wood series
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0.03%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GLA
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 53.80 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant