The best accommodation performs a dual function: to transport us away from the reality of our everyday routine while still providing the creature comforts we’ve come to rely on. Achieving this fine balance usually calls for a superb location and an absolute commitment to luxury and detail. And, for us, it doesn’t come more superb or more luxurious than Castello di Reschio’s sprawling estate.
Almost 3 decades ago, Count Antonio Bolza discovered the dilapidated estate and saw in it the makings of a dream lifestyle and holiday home. Located in Umbria, where 500 farmhouses pepper the lush rolling hills, the 1,200-hectare Lisciano Niccone estate is vast and commanding. Under the watchful eyes of the Bolza family, six of the estate’s buildings have been transformed into luxury villa retreats available for rent. From an austere watchtower dating back to the 11th Century, to the newly-built sybaritic dream party house Palazzo, each of the six properties represent a different facet of our fantasy of escaping to the Italian countryside.
Though each have different characters, all six villas are linked by luxury amenities including infinity pools, pizza ovens, and wine cellars. It’s a no-holds-barred approach to luxury, with Managing Director Count Benedikt Bolza clearly appreciating that the guests of these villas are here to revel in la bella vita. Each property is a refined mix of old-world charm and modern luxury, with marble, terracotta tiles, and green oak mixing with steel and glass: industrial highlights contrast with ancient artefacts to create an irresistible energy of past meets present.
But perhaps, more than the endless views of the countryside and magnificent service, it’s the estate’s commitment to acting as an incubator for art and design that appeals to us most. Count Bolza has the eye of a curator and the spirit of an artist. His furniture designs are produced on site by a team of blacksmiths and carpenters before being put to use for guests to enjoy, and even purchase.Coffee tables, canopied beds, window seats, and lamps are all available to take home.
In July 2015, Bolza arranged for artist Nic Fiddian Green (famous for his gigantic horse heads) to hold an exhibition of his new bronze sculptures in the estate. Green’s work already dots the grounds - a fitting reflection of the area’s famous pure-bred Andalucian stallions which, incidentally, can be ridden around the grounds. In July 2017, an exhibition of photographic prints of Florence by artist Constantino Ruspoli came to the Tabaccaia di Reschio - the estate’s dedicated creative hub.
Castello di Reschio acts as its own idyllic community. From the enoteca selling fine wines to the osteria serving traditional Umbrian fare from a sunlight soaked courtyard, there are plenty of reasons to venture beyond the villas, but not much need to. In-house chefs are on hand to cook for you and even hold private cooking lessons. A wander to the nearby vineyards, olive groves, or charming bottega will help to work off all the hours spent lying by the pool digesting pasta and wine, and a visit to nearby Assisi or Siena will be a tranquil reminder that reality hasn’t completely evaporated from the earth.
If there’s a more heavenly way to live, we are yet to discover it.