Stepping into the exquisite Locanda al Colle, you instantly realise this is not your average hotel. Set amid an olive grove in Versilia, in the romantic region of Tuscany, elegance and romanticism abound, coupled with an impressive collection of art adorning the spaces within. But perhaps one of the things that impress upon you most is that a reception desk is nowhere to be found. Nor will you find any counter or porter, or in fact anything that might remind you that this is indeed, a hotel. The idea behind this country house has always been to create a home that is open to guests, a ‘home of friends’ and trust us, it is incredibly inviting.
The story behind this multi-award-winning property lies in the talented hands of Riccardo Barsottelli, who began his career in the fashion industry, travelling the world. Riccardo had long dreamt about opening up a bed and breakfast, at first considering Uruguay and then Brazil, before finally settling on Tuscany, his home, and natural choice. What better location than the beautiful region of Tuscany; where life is that little bit slower, more beautiful and steeped in history and culture. Together with an old friend, Massimo, Riccardo initially opened a small 5 bedroom bed and breakfast within a property that was part of a much larger house. It was a modest start, so when the owners of the main house decided to sell, giving them the option to buy their share, Ricardo and Massimo didn’t think twice. The down-payment was made almost instantly as they began visualising how they could expand their fledgeling business; bringing on another partner and fashionista, Monica, along for the ride. Sadly tragedy was to strike when Massimo suffered a stroke midway through the refurbishment, but by re-organising the ownership and uniting both properties, by the end of 2013, Locanda al Colle was completed, opening up views all the way to the Gulf of the Poets and Porto Venere.
Riccardo’s dream was to create a space that united his biggest passions — art and hospitality. And it was with the help of his friend and acclaimed architect, Marco Innocenti, that the ancient farmhouse became the tranquil retreat it is today. Perched atop a hill overlooking Camaiore, in the province of Versilia, the path to the guest house is lined with ancient trees and olive groves, whilst aromatic lavender, rosemary and sage gently lull guests into a state of peace and tranquility that will remain with them throughout their stay.
Once you enter Locanda al Colle, you are immediately greeted with an inviting air of warmth; however, the overall décor is one of elegance and sophistication. As an avid art collector, Riccardo has amassed an incredible collection of art and antiquities over the years which can be found throughout the property. From Art Deco through to vintage pieces from the 40s to the 70s, the eclectic aesthetic creates synchronicity between the rooms, taking the guests on a journey of both harmony and refined taste. The nearby town of Pietrasanta has been a meeting point for artists since the 1800s, with bronze and marble sculptures being a speciality. Riccardo also opens his hotel up to local artists to showcase their sculptures, along with other works exhibited throughout the year.
In essence, Locanda al Colle is a delight for all your senses; from the fragrant aromas in the gardens to the mouth-watering flavours from the kitchen. The beauty of surrounding nature alongside the art and décor is a feast for your eyes, whilst the feeling of pure comfort as you sink into any one of the King-size Simmons World Class beds guarantees you a peaceful slumber each and every night. On top of it all, Locanda succeeds in being eco-friendly too; with building "A", Energy Saving classification, solar panels heat the house and pool whilst the inn recycles its waters which are then reused for irrigation. One thing is clear — Riccardo pours every ounce of himself into creating this haven of beauty and tranquility and his attention to detail is second to none.
"I created this inn as if it were my own home. It’s been a long gestation. I have always been present, refining the restoration. It’s been a project lived minute by minute."
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