Medicinal herbs in Tuscany

September 8, 2017  |  Chianti Holidays, Culture and Art, Tuscany  |  Comments Off on Medicinal herbs in Tuscany
Lavander at Villa le Barone Chianti

Lavander at Villa le Barone Chianti

Visitors will discover many medicinal plants at the exhibition that will take place in September in the antique pharmacy of Santa Fina in San Gimignano, a World Cultural Heritage medieval city close to Villa le Barone. However, all year around, our guests can also discover many such herbs and plants in our gardens!

Santa Fina’s hospital in San Gimignano,  a medieval city part of the World Cultural Heritage of UNESCO at 40 kms from Villa le Barone, had its own pharmacy since the 15th century, which bought or produced medicines for both indoor use and outdoor sale. One of San Gimignano’s Museums today features the original layout of the pharmacy, the “kitchen”, the place where the medicines were prepared, and the “shop”, where they were sold. The medicines, which are still contained in ceramic and glass jars, were manufactured on the basis of precise recipes assembled in old manuscripts. However, all medicines needed raw materials, especially herbs, whose essences or distillates were the basis for their preparation: the supplies could be purchased elsewhere or cultivated around the hospital.

Rooted sage in the gardens of Villa le Barone

Rooted sage in the gardens of Villa le Barone

The visit to the pharmacy of Santa Fina and of its garden provides a great sensory experience, enabling visitors to immerse themselves in an atmosphere of aromas and scents. In addition, each Saturday between the 23rd September and 14th October, Dra Lucia Chelli, herbalism specialist, and founder of the “Officina de’Tornabuoni” (where Villa le Barone buys many of the amenities for its guests), will give conferences on herbs properties.

It is all year around that guests will be able to discover in Hotel Villa le Barone’s gardens many of the medicinal plants presented in San Gimignano’s Santa Fina Museum: lavender, peppermint, verbena, many types of sage, many types of thyme, lemon balm, basil, and many others herbs and plants!

Discovering Tuscany in Vespa

September 1, 2017  |  Activities, Chianti Holidays, Culture and Art  |  Comments Off on Discovering Tuscany in Vespa
Vespa's at Villa le Barone, Chianti , Tuscany

Vespa’s at Villa le Barone, Chianti , Tuscany

Discovering Tuscany in Vespa! This is a new trend! Vespa has many years of history since it was launched in 1946, and started to be produced in Pontedera, near Pisa, in Tuscany: 71 years of continuous success!

Do you wish to discover Chianti and Tuscany differently? Then, rent a Vespa (in Italian “Vespa” means “bee”) and feel like a movie star! The story of this “scooter” developed by Enrico Piaggio is amazing! In April 1946, this astonishing new, functional and innovative mode of transport was presented to the general public for the first time in a Golf Club in Rome.

Vespa was an immediate success and gained extensive media interest as well as public curiosity, surprise and also sometimes skepticism. The first sales of Vespa’s were managed through a small dealer network but developed exponentially. From the 1950s to the mid-1970s, it became a real phenomenon of society. Vespa’s became highly popular among young riders, who chose it to for being easily manageable and aesthetically pleasing.

Every year new models were developed offering significant improvements over its predecessor both in aesthetics and technical specifications. Everywhere, user clubs were formed and walks, rally and competitions were organized. The 1951 model became famous in its cinema debut in the romantic and unforgettable movie “Roman Holiday” which told the love story of Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Rome, and the Vespa’s appeared in many other famous Italian movies!

Today, the Vespa has many competitors, but it remains as a myth, and we are still seeing it on many Tuscan roads. We recently organized rental of Vespa’s for a family staying at Villa le Barone, they loved the itineraries we had prepared to discover Tuscany “out of the beaten track”! They said it was an enchantment! If you are a Vespa fan, it is also possible to visit the Vespa museum in Pontedera, a city between Pisa and Panzano in Chianti, in Tuscany, where the Vespa’s were produced.

The long history of sun umbrellas

August 19, 2017  |  Culture and Art, Hotel  |  Comments Off on The long history of sun umbrellas
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 on Opera Festival in Florence
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 on Antique seats in Tuscany
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