On a pastoral estate in Umbria, aristocratic architect Benedikt Bolza transforms a centuries-old house into a grand, rustic dwelling for his young family.
Almost two decades ago, Count Antonio Bolza and his wife, Angelika, acquired Castello di Reschio, a 2,700-acre estate in the wooded hills of Umbria, Italy, with a vision of turning its rural houses—all of them centuries old and in ruins—into luxurious villas. At the time, their son Benedikt was studying to become an architect, and he soon joined the family operation, overseeing the restoration and design work on the estate. In the roughly 13 years since, Benedikt has painstakingly rebuilt 22 of the 50 houses (another three are now in progress), complete with bespoke interiors, traditional gardens, and infinity pools. The estate also offers resortlike services catering to an elite international clientele of buyers and renters.
The ancient estate of Reschio stretches over thousands of acres of oak forests and olive groves in the Umbrian hills. At the entrance to the estate lies the imposing Castle which once guarded the Umbrian-Tuscan border. Today it awaits restoration but still houses the estate winery where every autumn the grape harvest is brought to be pressed. The working heart of the Estate lies a little further along the cypress-lined driveway. Here, beneath the Castello, Reschio‘s renowned stables and its private Osteria and Bottega can be found.
From here, miles of winding private estate bridleways take you up into Reschio‘s hills and valleys where wild boar, deer, porcupine, pheasant, partridge and hare thrive in the ancient oak forests.
Reschio houses around 4,000 olive trees – quite enough to keep everyone on the estate rich in olive oil all year round.
Many of the houses have private olive groves which the estate manages and maintains for owners. The olives are harvested in October. Once pressed at the Castello, where the old equipment and grinding stones can be seen still today, they are now sent down to the local olive mill where a method of spremitura a freddo or cold-pressing produces a far superior extra virgin oil.
Every October, Reschio‘s grapes are brought down from the hills to be pressed at the estate’s winery in the ancient cellars of the Castello. Harvest time is a rite that brings together the whole community of the estate, from housekeepers and gardeners to the house owners and guests – everyone goes out together into the fields to bring in the fruit. After pressing, the wine is stored in oakbarriques until it is time for bottling.
The stables at Reschio breed and train some of the finest purebred Andalusian horses in the world.
Inspired as a boy by the Lipizzaner horses of the Spanish riding school in Vienna, Count Antonio founded his stud in 1999 under the directorship of master trainer, Antonello Radicchi. The stud stallion and broodmares were selected for their modern lines, grace, power and intelligence from the world-famous Yeguada Candau stud outside Seville. Since then, Reschio has produced some of the most skilled dressage horses in the world.
Old trees are saved, olive groves restored and fields of pasture and wild fennel rejuvenated. Mature avenues of cypress and umbrella pine can be planted to shade gravelled driveways. Beds of lavender and box, herb and kitchen gardens, formal parterres and immaculate terraced lawns can hold covered dining loggias, flowering rose arbours and wisteria-shaded pergolas. Swimming pools are designed bespoke for the aspect and site of the house and can range from cool modernist oblongs to simple tanks carved out of the ancient hill-rock.
Every farmhouse garden at Reschio is a tranquil, beautifully designed space in which to swim, dine or simply bask in pristine summer weather.
From villas with a traditional Umbrian aesthetic to bold, contemporary homes with a modern, light-filled design, to grand palazzos with antique interiors, every one of Reschio‘s restored farmhouses is different. But shared by them all is high-quality Italian craftsmanship. Lime-washed beams, Carrara marble, terracotta floors, re-found frescos, antique furniture, open hearths and hand-painted tiles have all been tailored to create unique homes for unique tastes.
Unique houses in unique settings with unique interiors need furniture that is made to suit their unique spaces. Each of the farmsteads at Reschio has been furnished with pieces designed by Benedikt and crafted with exquisite skill by his carpenter and blacksmith to compliment their interiors.
Thoughtful, beautiful design is at the heart of the restoration work at Reschio. From the architecture to the interior design, it is a place where every window, terrace, swimming pool, shutter, work-surface, cabinet, bath-tub and stable door has been carefully considered and crafted using some of the finest builders, blacksmiths, carpenters, glassblowers, masons and painters working in Italy today.
The architecture and restoration work at Reschio marries traditional Umbrian building-styles with an extraordinary contemporary sense of design. Each finished building is a beautiful piece of living architecture built for the modern world in the time-honoured traditions of Umbria and Tuscany.
The estate’s private restaurant and kitchen, the Osteria, offers traditional Umbrian fare made with fresh local organic produce. It also serves exceptional Italian wines, including Reschio‘s own San Giovese and is home to the Kitchen Shop from which guests can order seasonal and specialist ingredients, home-cooked meals and anything from the wine list for delivery.
Benedikt’s interiors combine traditional artisanal detailing with a bold contemporary aesthetic. Much is designed bespoke, from work-surfaces to light fittings. Everything is designed to be beautifully functional.
Tailored to the tastes and needs of their owners, every one of Reschio’s houses is exceptionally crafted and finished by Benedikt’s team of local artisans and restorers.
Images: © thecoolhunter.net
Info via thecoolhunter.net