The road to the hills of Toiano is long and winding, but the rays of the bright pink and orange villas at the top are opening the way for you. There are a lot of bumps and you can be sure of missing the signal. But I guess that’s exactly why you’d come and visit us Villa Lena.
Secluded among 500 hectares of woodland, vineyards and gardens, the complex of 19th the villas of the century belonged to the Italian aristocrats. When its owner died in 1931, the property remained destitute. Only until 2007, when the new owners – the art curator Lena Evstafieva, the music producer Jérôme Hadey and the Parisian restaurateur Lionel Bensemoun – decided to restore its former glory.
Imagined as an art residence and an organic farmhouse, Villa Lena is not your normal holiday destination, it is so much more. Walking through the corridors of the villa or lounging in its rooms bathed in classic Tuscan shades – a glass of homemade rosé prosecco in your hand – you are discovering a modern idea of what luxury really is. Serenity, privacy, time – if we were to talk more about well-being, we will never fail to mention Villa Lena and its lush gardens.
And of those, there are many. From a medieval park in Toiano Vecchio that makes you feel part of the cast of “Call me by your name” to our local vegetable garden where Villa Lena gets most of its food. The San Michele bistro located on the ground floor of the main house infuses the rooms with the scent of freshly baked focaccia and grilled courgettes. The heart put into Villa Lena’s farm-to-table dining concept blends very well with the panoramic views of the Tuscan hills and sunsets (and wines). Each summer, the owners recruit a new chef-in-residence to give a different interpretation to the local cuisine.
Descending from the guest house to the artist’s villa, you can peek into their workshops where creativity thrives. The residency program operates through the Villa Lena Foundation, attracting creators from around the world. In fact, the retreat prides itself on its rich art collection that includes over 1000 contemporary pieces, all on display, adding a gallery-like feel to the space. And in case you feel like getting creative too, the Villa offers plenty to do: from pasta making workshops to yoga to wine tasting.
But sometimes, nothing can beat the simple pleasure of diving into a blue pool and sipping a Rosa Maravillosa cocktail under the rays of the Italian sun. And these joys are also within reach. Villa Lena offers a sustainable and self-sufficient ecosystem in which guests and artists continue to co-create and redefine it. The feeling of joy and relaxation that can be drawn from this sense of belonging is probably one of the most beautiful assets of the villa, which will make you come back.
Images courtesy of Villa Lena