Architecture at Historic Hotel Villa le Barone

Architecture at Villa le Barone: use of "Pietra serena"
Architecture at Villa le Barone: use of “Pietra serena”

Preserving the architecture of the Historic Hotel Villa Barone in Chianti is one of our constant concerns, which is why we have restored the balustrade of our “Terrace of hearts” with authentic “pietra serena “.

“Pietra serena”, a stylish blue-gray stone, sometimes also called “Macigno”, was widely used during the Renaissance in Florence and its surrounding area to decorate palaces, to make columns, buiding capitals, staircases…. This stone, a sandstone composed of quartz, mica and silica, has also been widely used at Villa le Barone, to build stairs, doors ‘frames, handrails, the rim of the old well and also for railing the terrace of hearts from which everyone loves to see the great view on Panzano in Chianti and to admire magnificent sunsets. Unfortunately, after 500 years, this railing, even still superb, did not seem safe enough. So we ordered the pilasters at “Frosini Pietre”, a company specializing in stone work, and which operates a quarry of Macigno (“Pietra Serena”), a geological formation that goes back to the Oligocene (about 30 million years ago), at Greve in Chianti, near Villa le Barone.

Villa le Barone : restauration of the balustrade in "Pietra serena"
Villa le Barone : restauration of the balustrade in “Pietra serena”

Stone work is not easy: once extracted, the stone blocks must first be sawn: powerful machines now do this work, but once this was done by hand! However, what is still done by hand,  is the putting to size and decoration of the stone using different tools, tools which mostly have not changed since antiquity with names such as driving hammer, wooden mallet, cutting, bush hammer, chisel, rasps, rifflers, grater … as you can see in the picture.

Stone workers' tools
Stone workers’ tools

Visiting of the “Frosini Pietre” manufacturing place  is most interesting and all Villa le Barone guests can go and see the work of the dedicated stonemasons working “pietra serena” … Our guests will also discover the Tuscan architecture of our Historic Hotel and how “pietra serena” was used. The balustrade is now safe and guests can again admire the sunsets and the view on the Chianti hills.