A blend of traditional and contemporary styling
Studio Architetto Pizzinelli Riccardo
« A charming hotel, with a mysterious appeal and suggestive atmospheres ». So says the presentation on the Etruria Resort & Natural SPA website. The hotel is situated in the heart of a territory steeped in traditions and flavours, in the Tuscan municipality of Montepulciano. Born of the remodelling of a 19th Century residence, whose central building, secret garden and century-old trees it retains, the hotel is a blend of traditional and contemporary styling. This project focuses on the complex made up of the main 19th Century building previously known as Villa Comizio and several adjoining structures, all surrounded by historic farmland and extensive grounds, scored through with lanes lined by cypress, bay, oak and holm oak. The restoration, overseen by Riccardo Pizzinelli’s firm of architects in Montepulciano, involved a complex of former dwellings and farm buildings known as « Villa Bologna », after the family that has owned them for the past 150 years. The building is L-shaped, with three storeys above ground, plus a lower ground floor. The main façade features a simple gateway with cement-based finish, which is accessed via a short flight of stairs topped by an entrance terrace. The prospects are finished with light-coloured render, without cornices or string courses, and rectangular, slightly asymmetrical apertures. The eaves consist of concrete beams and hollow clay tiles (from when the roof was rebuilt in the 1960s). The interior retains much of the original layout, in which some of the rooms are separated by corridors, but the majority are intercommunicating. Some of the rooms on the lower ground floor still have their original barrel vaults and domes, and the basement houses an intriguing cellar area with brick arches and vaults. Due to the change of use, the work on the former villa involved the construction of various storage and utility rooms, in addition to a number of bedrooms, on the lower ground floor. Other bedrooms with bathrooms were built on the ground, first and attic floors (following the raising of the ceiling), bringing the total number of rooms to 22. The historic building is now complemented by the « La Perla Spa » wellness centre, the swimming pools, the gym, the « Corte di Bacco » restaurant and the outbuildings in the surrounding grounds. The combination of materials used for the floor and wall coverings of the various parts of the complex create a warm, welcoming atmosphere. « The aim of the project was to preserve the historic image of the building complex and its surroundings, and we achieved this despite the changes we introduced, » explains the architect Riccardo Pizzinelli. « The main building in particular – in other words the villa – which incorporated many features and materials typically associated with residential buildings, has retained those features despite our decision to raise its height slightly. The new staircase and external lift, meanwhile, were built with a light structure made of glass and metal, which forges an interactive bond with the existing volumes. The visible parts of the prospects feature simple apertures, whose shapes and materials are based on the existing ones, with blind arches and facing-brick masonry. » As for the new materials, the ceramic coverings supplied by Marazzi welcome you as soon as you step into the lobby on the ground floor, where the white of the large-format porcelain tiles (Stone Collection) reflects the light from the large windows, and illuminates the reception area and adjacent bar. As you continue into the building, the brightness of these areas gives way to a more cosseting atmosphere, in which the stone walls and the floor tiles (Marazzi, Evolutionstone Piasentina with orange-peel finish) provide the framework for a naturally relaxing wellness area. In this dimension somewhere between dream and reality, which blends traditional and contemporary styling, you can relax in a setting made up of richly nuanced natural harmonies, which have not only been preserved, but enhanced, by the remodelling work.