Whether it’s pasta-making classes hosted by real Italian chefs, peaceful sunrise yoga sessions or just basking in the glorius Tuscan sun, Villa Lena has an array of delightful activities perfect for your away-day or off-site corporate trips.
Villa Lena, the agriturismo hotel and artists residency in rural Tuscany, will re-open for the season on the 1st April!
Situated within the province of Pisa, set in 500 hectares of woodland, olive groves and vineyards, Villa Lena will introduce a selection of exciting new offerings this year, including new signature creative retreats, Open Days at The Villa Lena Foundation and artworks on display around the hotel. New for 2023 and aimed at curious travelers looking to awaken their creative spirit, Villa Lena will launch a series of signature creative retreats ranging from Renaissance flower painting to natural perfumery making with PORCELAIN and wedding photography.
Kicking off with the first 5-day retreat from the 5th of May, renowned artist Tanvi Pathare will teach guests how to delicately use watercolour and fine art techniques to depict the various floral environments surrounding them. The new signature creative retreats will offer guests the unique opportunity to experience the creative and cultural day-to-day life of Villa Lena. Home to the destination farm-to-table restaurant, Osteria San Michele, guests can take their pick of the simple yet honest Italian cuisine featuring homemade pasta, freshly made cheeses, and organic wines, all led by produce and provenance. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Osteria San Michele makes use of Villa Lena’s natural larder where their home-grown products are also sold on their e-commerce site, Cabinet of Curiosities boasting Sparkling Rose and Tuscan Olive Oil amongst other delicacies.
The Villa Lena Foundation, the art foundation that runs alongside the agriturismo hotel, will introduce Open Days for the 2023 season. Once a month, The Foundation will host open days and invite curators, collectors, artsprofessionals and guests of the hotel to visit the studios, share a meal, listen to talks and learn more about the work of the Villa Lena Foundation. It creates a unique atmosphere where multidisciplinary artists can expand their networks in Italy and internationally. Following the impressive roster of artists who have worked with Villa Lena previously, the property frequently rotates the artwork found in all public spaces of the hotel left by the alumni of the programme for guests to admire. Ready for the 2023 season, there is new artwork on display including a digital photograph created by Stephanie Roland titled ‘The Explorer’ in Villa Lena’s Fattoria building.
Guests can take their pick of 74 rooms and villas at Villa Lena, ranging from boutique hotel rooms to private villas, including Maison Stento. This private villa is situated a 20-minute walk from the hotel’s reception, offering guests the perfect secluded Tuscan experience, boasting panoramic vistas of the rolling Tuscan hills. Maison Stento houses its own private pool to relax in, as well as four double bedrooms, all with ensuites and large baths; making it an ideal escape for families to retreat to.
Throughout the season, those staying at Villa Lena can choose to take part in seasonal activities such as wine tasting, as well as Italian pasta making and daily yoga workshops, allowing themselves to be fully immersed in Tuscan culture. Guests are also able to take a stroll through Villa Lena’s home-grown Orto, servicing Osteria San Michele, as well as their sustainably grown flower garden, blooms from which are used in the beautiful floral arrangements seen on the property and at the series of events and weddings that Villa Lena hosts each season.
ABOUT VILLA LENA
Situated in Toiano amongst the rolling hills of rural Tuscany, Villa Lena is simultaneously a creative residence, agriturismo hotel and holiday destination. Guests are invited to stay with Villa Lena’s creative family celebrating local Tuscan history, culture and food within an environment that offers international artists, writers, designers, filmmakers, musicians, chefs and agricultural experts space to explore and hone their respective crafts.
HISTORY OF VILLA LENA
The Villa Lena property dates back to the late 19th century, when an Italian aristocratic family, Augusto and Tereza Del Frate, purchased the estate and moved from the nearby town of Palaia. A member of the Del Frate family completed the ceiling frescoes and some of the portraits in the villa are of family members. The area of land on which the villa is situated is named San Michele, after the archangel Michael, to whom the chapel inside the villa is also devoted. The villa soon became a favoured spot for parties and meetings and a major centre for hunting on the outskirts of Palaia. The family cultivated olives, grapes and wheat on the land. The villa experienced its heyday in the early 20th century, until the original owner died in 1931. Numerous property transfers followed throughout the decades. The current owners bought the San Michele estate in 2007, in a state of extensive disrepair. Art world professional Lena Evstafieva, musician and producer Jérôme Hadey and Parisian restaurateur and nightclub owner Lionel Bensemoun combined their respective skills and knowledge to redevelop the property and founded Villa Lena Agriturismo and Art Foundation.
HISTORY OF CASTELLO DI TOIANO
The Toiano area was a significant Etruscan settlement dating back to the 8th-6th century BC, where it was of major importance for Roman colonies serving as a passageway for what became the Via Francigena. This passage, also
called Roman roads, led from Western Europe to as far as Rome. A castle was built in Toiano around the year 570 which was owned by many powerful Italian families, including the family of Conte Ugolino Della Gheraldesca. For this reason, the Castle was of major importance for various reasons and a border between Pisa and Florence and central to Tuscany and an integral stop for a pilgrimage dedicated to
the Archangel St. Michael on the way to Rome. In 1364, Florence conquered the castle of Toiano, since then, the bell of the castle of Toiano, known as ‘La Toianella’ has stood in Palazzo Vecchio, on the Arnolfo tower, symbolising that Florentine victory over the Pisans. In the late 18th century the castle was destroyed by an earthquake and the stones of the ruins were used to build the now existing Villa as well as the building called Fattoria on the right side of the Villa. On the Villa Lena property there is still an existing hill called “Toiano Vecchio” where it is possible to see a few stones from the castle in its original location with a unique 360 degrees view over most of Tuscany.
For further information on Villa Lena, please visit the website www.villa-lena.it