From Country Estate to Boutique Hotel
This magnificent classic Florentine Villa, built on the ruins of a medieval fortress, is located in the heart of the Chianti Classico.
The Villa Casalecchi has been owned by the same family for generations. Many family weddings and baptisms have been celebrated in the adjacent small chapel, still used for private functions today. The family spirit of this romantic villa has been maintained and, little by little, over the generations, the charming home has grown to what it is today: a romantic hotel with a genuinely Tuscan soul.
History of the family
Casalecchi derives it’s name from Lecchini Giovannoni, the name of the owners but it is also known as Villa Elvira from the Christian name of the great great grandmother. The Giovannoni were one of the important Florentine families and in the eighteenth century these families began to build country residences, in the Medici manner, on the Florentine hills. But in addition, in Villa Casalecchi a thriving farming community was developed with vineyards, olive groves and corn fields and sheep and pig farming all situated in various outhouses and farms owned by the Casalecchi farming estate at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
History of the Property
Villa Casalecchi was built in different periods. The construction was erected on ancient foundations of a mediaeval tower. The works on the lower level were commenced at the end of the seventeenth century. This contains, on one level, the present apartments of the owner and the reception area and the kitchens, storage cellars and service areas on the lower level.
At the lower level of the Villa the walls and ceilings, for example of the dining room, are ingeniously oil painted to resemble wood panelling; next to the dining room there’s a stuccoed chapel with some original frescoes, a wooden altar and the original tinted glass-pane windows. The ancestors were all baptized and married in this chapel and the tradition is continued with their descendants.
The upper level of the villa was added by the great great grandmother Elvira when the family expanded and the sons and daughters, having been married in the private chapel of the villa, brought their husbands or wives to live here.
The bedrooms were all on the upper level and each had a name: the Master bedroom; the Red room, the Yellow room, the Green room, the Nipponese parlour, the Cosy room, the Nannies room. In the eighteenth century Granma Elvira first installed facilities in each room: wash-basin and jug and bed pans all in elegant patterned ceramic!
There’s another level below, over-looking the gardens and vineyards, which includes the former servants’ quarters (they are now the spectacular rooms under the lodge overlooking the swimming-pool area and with a separate entrance from the gardens); the “changing room”,(room number eight) in which huge wardrobes were kept with the costumes for the theatrical performances that used to be held in Castellina; and finally the “Aviary” (room number fifteen) where the grandparents had installed cages of different shapes and sizes according to the many species of birds they kept.
To complete the work, grandmother Elvira decided to have an Italian garden developed, as a terrace overlooking the southern vineyard; to complete the front gardens at the main entrance on the northerly side the famous architect Poggi (the creator of the Viale dei Colli in Florence) and a family friend, was called in. Immediately on the other side of the villa’s main gate, in the little ochre-coloured house with a horse’s head on the front side, which once were stables, there are three comfortable apartments for the guests.
Villa Casalecchi – the Hotel
The hotel Villa Casalecchi was created in this ancient dwelling house in the 1960’s but the owners have been careful to maintain the original warm, family-style hospitality.
There are 16 rooms in the main building and 3 apartments in the former stables. All rooms are furnished with either original antique or antique-style furniture and have en-suite bathrooms, mini-bar, telephone, T.V. and satellite and air-conditioning. A swimming pool, tennis court and Italian bowling court are all available for the guests of Villa Casalecchi in the grounds. One can enjoy long walks in the grounds of the villa and bicycles, scooters or horses may be rented upon short notice.