Resuscitating a Ruined Tuscan Villa

View all 18 Photos

The rolling hills, sunflower fields and scattered towns of Tuscany often garner a romanticized view of the region, described to death in the pages of airport paperbacks. But among these sites and cultures stand the ruins of dozens of abandoned villas and farmhouses, remnants of a more prosperous economic time. These sites exist in an odd limbo state, as they don’t qualify for historic conservancy, but are protected by strict preservation laws that can make it expensive for builders to revitalize them. But thanks to architects like Ilana David, a partner at Roy David Studio, one of these villas is getting a second life as an elegant vacation house. Working in conjunction with the preservation laws, the Montelparo Villa was remodeled into a beautiful summer getaway without losing site of its heritage. Starting with the exterior, the original stones of the façade were catalogued and individually tested for structural integrity before being reconstructed. This then freed up the architect to redesign the interior with the knowledge that the building’s envelope could handle the workload. Using techniques associated with the local architecture, such as exposed wood beams, terra-cotta stone flooring and a contextually minded color palette, the home smoothly integrates all modern amenities into the historic villa. Instead of petitioning to bulldoze the site and start from scratch, the remodel of the Monetlparo Villa is a prime example of how careful refurbishment can combine with contemporary to get the most out of historically significant but damaged buildings. Photography © Matteo Canestraro

Nathaniel Barlam

Nathaniel

Amid the unrest of earning his Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from RISD, Nathaniel manages to find the time to read, write, hang out with friends, play drums, and listen to music. Nathaniel has learned a lot about architecture firsthand thanks to opportunities to live and work in Rome and Brooklyn during the past year. Coming from a family with strong roots in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Nathaniel has always maintained a strong love for NYC especially, and after his studies finish up in Providence he may move there for a while. He hasn't decided yet. You can connect with him via Linkedin or by visiting his Portfolio page.

Featured Products Explore new arrivals at the Gessato Shop

Take me there

  • 72 Hours in Oslo

    A complete Oslo travel guide to make a short trip to the city memorable. Founded…

  • Istoria Hotel

    A sophisticated retreat in Santorini, Greece. Built in eastern Santorini, away from the island’s popular…

  • The Olea Hotel

    An oasis of relaxation on a picturesque Greek island. Located on a hill on the…

  • Stedsans In The Woods

    A rustic retreat in the middle of a Swedish forest. Nestled in the woodland of…

More for you

                array(5) {
  ["post__not_in"]=>
  array(1) {
    [0]=>
    int(151567)
  }
  ["tag__not_in"]=>
  array(2) {
    [0]=>
    int(16203)
    [1]=>
    int(9208)
  }
  ["posts_per_page"]=>
  int(12)
  ["caller_get_posts"]=>
  int(1)
  ["cat"]=>
  int(6178)
}
            
  • House 3000

    A bold design that becomes a landmark in a natural landscape. When architect Luís Rebelo…

  • Bornet House

    An old stone barn transformed into a modern mountain retreat. Featuring densely packed buildings, the…

  • East Lake House

    The ultimate lakeside weekend home. Located in Montauk, NY, this charming lakeside retreat celebrates nature…

  • Chestnut House

    A modern rustic house inspired by vernacular architecture. Designed and built by ValArch studio, Chestnut…

  • Entre Pinos

    Modern architecture, embedded in nature. Nestled in a forested area in Valle de Bravo, Mexico,…

  • The Shapeshifter House

    A sculptural gem that emerges from a desert landscape. Often, natural settings provide a source…

  • Two Pavilions

    Creating new spaces from 18th-century ruins and the banks of a lake. The owners of…

  • Spring Ranch

    A family retreat in a bucolic landscape. Some weekend houses provide a comfortable living space…

  • The Sea Ranch Cabin

    Restoring a gem of American modernist architecture. Commissioned by Sea Ranch community developers in the…

Close Cart