The Etruscans had a good eye for real estate. About 2,500 years ago, they settled into an area of Tuscany that featured fertile land for farms and vineyards. The location offered views of the rolling countryside and easy access to the cities of Florence, Pisa, and Siena.
By the 13th century, the Etruscan settlement grew into a bustling medieval village called Castelfalfi, complete with a stately castle. Other prosperous centuries brought development to the village, including the construction of a tobacco factory during the 20th century.
By the 1960s, however, inhabitants left behind rural village life for the promised prosperity of city living. By the 1980s, Castelfalfi was left an abandoned ghost town, and put up for sale.
In 2007, the German-based TUI purchased Castelfalfi and the surrounding 2,700 acres with plans to resurrect the historic village and create a destination that epitomized Tuscan life. They got to work restoring the old structures, infusing them with modern amenities while preserving the architecturally significant elements that connected the original buildings to their historic past.
At the new Toscana Resort Castelfalfi, the tobacco factory has been renovated into Tabaccaia, an intimate, modern 31-room boutique hotel that showcases the factory's original flooring and wood ceiling beams. The castle and surrounding village buildings are being resurrected to incorporate residential, leisure, and retail components.
"It's like putting together a large puzzle," says Stefan Neuhaus, the resort's administrative director. When complete, the newly restored town will hold three hotels, two golf courses, conference facilities, and other necessary resort amenities.
Castelfalfi's agricultural pursuits encompass an olive orchard that is now producing the estate's own brand of olive oil. Fifty acres of vineyards are producing four labels of wine, including chianti, poggionero, rosa toscano, and vermintino.
Vacation Homes in Castelfalfi
Phase one of the Toscana Resort Catelfalfi development included the introduction of 41 one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments and villas located in the Borgo (village) in three structures:
- La Terrazza. Consisting of two connected historic farmhouses, the La Terrazza buildings are located in the heart of the village, close to restaurants and shopping.
- La Ghialla. This 300-year-old structure is located at the south end of the village, offering views of the golf course and the town of Volterra, a historic Etruscan town that sits atop a plateau.
Florence-based architectural firm Melucci & Nardini are leading the restoration of the apartments. The renovation infuses the ancient buildings with modern amenities while showcasing the original historic elements.
Natural, energy saving materials and techniques were used throughout the renovation. For example, cocciopesto, an interior plaster made of natural lime mixed with ground clay, was used because it is a natural moisture and temperature controller. The apartments also feature:
- Natural stone, terra cotta, or oak flooring
- Radiant heating and cooling
- Miele appliances in the kitchen
- Travertine marble, glass, and Hans Groher rainshower fixtures in the bathrooms
All of the apartments feature open floor plans that encompass kitchen, dining, and living areas. Some of the residences feature private gardens, roof terraces, and sweeping views of the Tuscan countryside.
In addition to the 41-apartments, the development will include:
- Golf villas. Seven villas tucked along the edge of the fairways.
- The Casali. Eighteen traditional Tuscan farmhouses ranging in size from 3,000 to 15,000 square feet will be sold in their pre-renovated state. Set in varying areas around the property—in the hills, among olive orchards and vineyards—the farmhouses allow buyers to work with the architects to restore their properties and create a bespoke home that mixes history with modern conveniences. All of the residences will include private swimming pools and gardens.
Homeowners have the option of placing their residences in a rental program that will be managed by the hotel.
Village Life at Toscana Resort Castelfalfi
Toscana Resort Castelfalfi is a destination designed to recreate Tuscan village life. Visitors and guests will have access to a variety of recreation and leisure activites including:
- Le Piscine di Castelfalfi Four swimming pools.
- Golf club. Open to the public, the golf club will hold a clubhouse, bar, and terrace along with 27 holes of golf divided into an 18-hole mountain course and a 9-hole lake course, both designed by Dr. Wilfried Moroder and Rainer Priessman.
- The Castle. Will hold a Michelin-starred restaurant.
- Shopping. The village will hold local shops typical of an Italian village.
- Cooking classes.
- Biking. Mountain and road biking.
- Mushroom and truffle hunting