Authenticity is at the heart of life in Italy, real food, good wine, original art and a culture steeped in a rich and vibrant history. Everywhere you travel you can sense a reassuring depth of character, a soul than flows through time, architecture and heritage. One of the country’s patriarchs for preserving the tapestry of Italian life is architect and designer Fulvio Di Rosa. His gentle approach to the restoration of ancient properties has made him world-famous, yet his eye for design is anything but traditional. Di Rosa has saved whole villages from ruin, transforming them into luxurious home-from-homes.
Di Rosa has thus far restored and converted four borghi (derelict Tuscan hamlets with multiple homes) and personally supervised the complete restoration of American author Frances Mayes’ home above Cortona, Casa Fonte delle Foglie. Mayes often cites Di Rosa, as being among the best in his field.
He seems to effortlessly breathe new life into old Italian buildings, elevating them from simple rustic dwellings to charming, elegant abodes. His latest project is another romantic endeavour, where the owners met Di Rosa at a dinner party and were inspired to update the property they had owned for over 20 years.
Di Rosa agreed to restore and refurbish La Magnolia as it had all the essential, traditional architectural qualities (exposed wooden beams, antique terracotta-tile floors and ceilings and terracotta stone) of a genuine Tuscan stone farmhouse.
La Magnolia is a unique and exquisitely restored and furnished south-west-facing stone house located just 4 km from the popular Tuscan hilltop town of Cortona, with its busy piazzas, family-run trattorias, wine bars, art galleries and gelaterias.
It is the stuff of Tuscan dreams, where outside and inside living are seamlessly blended. The interiors offer a harmonious atmosphere where you instantly feel at home. Original beams, a grand stone fireplace and ancient terracotta-tile floors provide the backdrop to a fresher style of country living. The house at 2,025 sq. m sits on rich terraced land and gardens, has over 50 mature olive trees and boasts stunning views across the uninterrupted countryside.
Clever integrated lighting enhances the architectural features, and the house benefits from an abundance of light thanks to various floor-to-ceiling glass doors. Other noteworthy characteristics include Romanesque brick archways, spacious open design aspects and walls finished with traditional calce (lime plaster), which absorbs natural light.
Artisan wrought iron, hewn timber and local stone feature predominately throughout La Magnolia’s interior, further rubberstamping its unique sense of authenticity. Its timeless feel is completed with Italian linens, Tuscan ceramics and antique furnishings selected by Di Rosa himself.
Outside, landscaped gardens offer an array of areas to soak up the Tuscan sun, while shaded pergolas provide the perfect spots for dining and socialising. A sophisticated swimming pool features a wrap-around wooden deck with expansive views across the Val di Chiana towards Montepulciano and the UNESCO sites of Pienza, the Val d’Orcia and Monte Amiata, with Cortona to the right. Ancient olive trees, lavenders and rosemary plants sit comfortably alongside old stone walls and terraced lawns, yet the eye is always drawn to the breathtaking views beyond.
La Magnolia embraces all the elements of authentic Italian living, combining a respect of ancient traditions, materials and artisanal skills with a fresh contemporary approach to modern living. At La Magnolia you are met with a warm welcome like non other, the perfect symbiosis of classic and contemporary design.
La Magnolia is currently for sale, and more information can be found at: www.lamagnoliacortona.com.