The long history of sun umbrellas

August 19, 2017  |  Culture and Art, Hotel  |  Comments Off
Infinity pool with sun umbrellas at Villa le Barone Tuscany

Infinity pool with sun umbrellas at Villa le Barone Tuscany

Sun umbrellas, which you find today by the swimming pools, terraces or gardens have a long history.

Sign of high rank and honor, they were reserved for the use of great personages. On Assyrian, Egyptian, Persian and Indian sculptures and paintings, domestic servants protect their sovereign from the sun with an umbrella. In Assyria, only the king had the right to possess one. It was in the 16th century that Catherine de Medicis introduced in France the sun umbrella as a symbol of femininity. At the King of France’s court, when walking in the gardens, the courtesans protect themselves from the sun with their sun umbrellas. Keeping a fair complexion is a sign of wealth and superiority. In 1820, the wave of sea baths was reserved for a handful of privileged people. Young ladies had to keep a complexion of porcelain, and were hiding under large umbrellas, as can be seen in many impressionist paintings.

Sun umbrellas welcoming guests at Villa le Barone Tuscany

Sun umbrellas welcoming guests at Villa le Barone Tuscany

Only in the middle of the 20th century, when the paid holidays are established and sea baths democratized, sun umbrellas are invading the beaches and become more affordable. Usually with white and blue stripes and fringes, they are bought in drugstore or in shops selling beach articles. Today the manufacture of umbrellas has become industrialized, although in Italy there are still many artisans who produce them. At Villa le Barone, the yellow umbrellas on the terrace in front of the entrance are our signature and welcome Villa le Barone’s guests. Then can afterwards relax by our infinity pool and admire the Chianti magnificent landscape under the shade of traditional white and blue or large unbleached umbrellas.

Opera Festival in Florence

July 8, 2017  |  Culture and Art, Florence  |  Comments Off
Heart Garden Terrace at hotel Villa le Barone Tuscany

Gardens of the Palazzo Corsini al Prato Florence

In the same spirit as the Glyndebourne festival, the New Generation Festival will take place in Florence in the wonderful gardens of the Corsini al Prato Palace.

Do you wish to take part in Florence’s version of « Glynbourne” close to Villa le Barone ? One of the most beautiful private gardens in Florence, at Palazzo Corsini, al Prato will exceptionally open its doors from 31st August to 3rd September for 2 extraordinary representations of the “Elisir d’Amore “ by Donizetti and for a superb concert given by the finest young musical talents, the “New Generation”.

There will be two performances of the opera “L’elisir d’amore”, starring rising Armenian soprano Anush Hovhannisyan, who has performed at the Royal Opera House and South African tenor Khanyiso Gwenxane, who recently gave his debut at the Royal Opera in Stockholm. During the three day festival, audiences will be able to see opera performances as well as orchestral pieces. Highlights of the concert include Bruch’s Violin Concerto No.1 with soloist Charlie Siem who has played with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philarmonic.

Heart Garden Terrace at hotel Villa le Barone Tuscany

Heart Garden Terrace at hotel Villa le Barone Tuscany

 

The Corsini al Prato garden is an Italian-style garden- bounded by large orangeries, with sophisticated, geometrical beds, box hedges, lemon trees in vases and a statue-lined main path that clearly reveals the Baroque-style orientation of the architect, Gherardo Silvani, and his love of scenography. It will be possible to dine during the intervals and to get a luxury hamper filled with Florentine specialties and delicious, local, seasonal food. Dress code will be black tie and long dress.
And after the performance you can come back in Panzano in Chianti and enjoy our gardens !

For more information contact us  or look here.

Antique seats in Tuscany

June 30, 2017  |  Culture and Art, Hotel  |  Comments Off
19th century Napoléon III buttoned arm chairs at Villa le Barone

19th century Napoléon III buttoned arm chairs at Villa le Barone

“Chairs in Society”, this is the name of the exhibition organized in Paris retracing the art of chairs in France over a few centuries. We are not pretending to compete with the exhibition, but you will find also in our Villa in Tuscany a large diversity of antique arm chairs and seats… on which you can sit!

For many centuries and indeed for thousands of years chairs were an article of state and dignity rather than an article of ordinary use and still today chairs can be a symbol of power, projecting an intriguing, if subliminal, message. It was not, in fact, until the 16th century that it became common anywhere. Seats have varied in size, shape (sofas, bergeres, wingback…) and in upholstery: the majority of the chairs of all countries until the middle of the 17th century were of timber without upholstery. When it became customary to cushion them, leather was often employed. And velvet and silk were extensively used in the 19thcentury. A lot of craftsmanship is required to make a chair: cabinet maker, gilder, varnisher, and upholster!

Sofa, wingback and chairs close to the fire place at Villa le Barone

Sofa, wingback and chairs close to the fire place at Villa le Barone

 

You will find in our Villa many authentic antique chairs and seats, of course now with new coverings: in the entrance the Renaissance leather chairs, and Renaissance arm chairs. Close to the stairs, two welcoming 19th century Napoléon III buttoned arm chairs (“fauteuils crapaud”); in the lounges, sofas, armchairs, and, close to the fire place wingbacks; in the rooms also comfortable chairs or armchairs…as Lauren Lola wrote ”Chairs could transcend time and generations. It’s all about considering what stories could be told if they had voices of their own.”

www.mobiliernational.culture.gouv.fr

Renaissance armchair at Villa le Barone

Renaissance armchair at Villa le Barone

Table customs in Florence from Middle Age to Renaissance

May 12, 2017  |  Culture and Art, Florence  |  Comments Off
Restaurant at Villa le Barone Tuscany

Restaurant at Villa le Barone Tuscany

Table customs and traditions have been often reflected in Western paintings. This is particularly true for paintings from the middle Ages to the Renaissance in Florence, which are a true chronicle of life at that time and show the evolution of table habits. You can admire these paintings in the museums and churches of Florence or Siena, and in the surroundings of Villa le Barone. Perhaps you will look at them with different eyes after having read this article! You will also appreciate the care with which the table is put today in Villa le Barone!

The artists were chroniclers of their time, and the various paintings of the Middle Ages to the Renaissance show the evolution of table customs in Tuscany at that time. It is in the representations of the evangelical episodes that table settings first appear, and especially in the Last Supper’s representations. For example, in the paintings of Giotto (1266-1337), Duccio di Buoninsegna (1255-1318), Maestro Pisano (1215-1284), the essential elements of a table in the Middle Ages can be seen: a simple white tablecloth, plates in front of the guests, a unique dish where one takes the food with the hand to bring it directly to the mouth, in the center of the table, a single knife with a wooden handle and a long blade, a few glasses. In the 15th century, with Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449-1494) and Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), the tablecloths are embroidered, there is a plate of metal for each guest. The spoon and the knife are the first table cutlery to appear on the table. The spoon was of wood, round, but its dimensions were reduced and it was given an oval shape. There was only one knife, used by all to cut the food, and the pieces were brought to the mouth with the hands. One of the first representations of the fork, born not as an individual cover, but to take the food in the common dish, can be found in the Abbey of Monte Olivetto (near Villa le Barone), in one fresco by Giovanni Bazzi detto il Sodoma (1477-1549). Over time, the functions of the tip of the knife will be filled by the fork, and this tip will always be more rounded and the blade less sharpened to avoid the negative impression of an offensive weapon. Note also that one wiped his mouth with the tablecloth, and the use of the napkin appears only at the end of the fifteenth century.

Fresco at the Abbey of Monte Olivetto Tuscany

Fresco at the Abbey of Monte Olivetto Tuscany

It was Catherine de Medici’s who introduced the use of the fork to the court of France. She would have said at a banquet in Fontainebleau in 1535 “Ladies and Gentlemen, you seize the meat in pieces with your fingers but grasping the meat with your fingers is considered improper and intolerable in the city from which I come,” and she showed a curious object with three pointed metal teeth: the fork.

Today table setting has been enriched, with different cutlery for each dish. The blade of the knife is rounded, it is less tapered, and it is oriented towards the plate, thus losing its offensive character. Whereas in France the forks are arranged points downwards, in Italy, as in England and the USA, they are arranged points in the air. This is how you will find your table put in the restaurant of the hotel Villa le Barone, with beautiful “Ginori” plates and all the necessary types of glasses to taste the exquisite wines of Chianti Classico!

A hotel for book lovers

May 5, 2017  |  Culture and Art, News  |  Comments Off
For books lovers , in one lounge ,Villa le Barone Tuscany

For books lovers , in one lounge ,Villa le Barone Tuscany

Do you like books? They are perfect traveling companions … but heavy to carry! Lovers of literature, books of art, novels, detective stories, will find at the boutique hotel Villa le Barone enough to satisfy their passion! There are books everywhere, in the rooms, on the tables of the various lounges and in many languages ​​…

At Villa le Barone, we love literature, and we want to share our love with guests! We therefore offer them the opportunity to read a good novel or , in summer in a comfortable deck chair in one of our quiet gardens or by the pool, or in autumn in front of the fireplace while sipping a glass of Chianti! Of course we have novels in many languages, English, German, French … and it is also possible to exchange your book for another: we think books have to be shared!

For books lovers: one of the lounge at Villa le Barone Tuscany

For books lovers: one of the lounge at Villa le Barone Tuscany

Our books on art in Tuscany or our books on Italian gardens will also help you prepare your excursions, and discover the so many facets of Italian arts and artists!

Lovers of literature and books, you will find in Villa le Barone a considerable number of books whose reading will allow you to relax and spend pleasant moments of relaxation!