The first step was taken wiht the splendid Villa Tolomei, the abandoned Florentine renaissance dwelling that was transformed into a five star hotel; the tender for the Podere Colombaia, again near the regional capital, should begin by the end of the year, while two other compounds await recovery projects: one in Monte Argentario and the other on Elba Island. They are Tuscan buildings that are part of Italy’s or local entities’ real-estate assets, which are also part of the “Valore Paese Dimore” [Country Value Dwellings] project: the initiative by the Agenzia del Demanio [Public Land Agency] to valorize real-estate with artistic or historic value that are not being used, or even abandoned, by entrusting their revamping to private entities through a concession contract. The idea is to transform these pieces of forgotten history into a network of touristic-hospitality structures. The portfolio of assets already selected for recovery includes more than one hundred sites throughout Italy, 70 of which are already involved in the initiative.
“Valore Paese Dimore” began precisely from Florence and Tuscany with the demanding recovery of Villa Tolomei, a renaissance residential compound that also includes a convent from the 1300’s situated on the hills of Marignolle and Bellosguardo in Florece: 3,500 sq m spread across seven buildings located within a 17 hectare park with villas and olive tree groves. The 2007 tender had assigned the property to a company with three private partners who restored it investing 10 million to turn it into a five-star resort with 30 luxury rooms. The public-private contract provides a fifty-year lease with a yearly rent of 150,000 Euros.
There are two other Tuscan properties in the start up phase, which are therefore ready to run the same path as Villa Tolomei if they find investors available to valorize them. The first is Podere Colombaia, south of Florence on the hills of Arcetri: two buildings with an annexed 44,000 sq m of agricultural land. The objective is to turn it into an agritourism [farm holiday center], and the Agenzia del Demanio’s strong points are the strategic position from a tourism perspective, the landscape value of the context within which the property is located, and the flexibility of the architectural structure to transformation. The second is the mineral compound at Vigneria a Rio Marina, one of the Elba Island’s towns: a small harbor town, originally destined to the transport of ferrous materials, that appears as the refuge for fisherman in a typical Medieval town. The location is prevalently destined to be a touristic-reception structure, although it is possible to assign part of it for residential use.
Another Tuscan compound also appears among the “core” assets selected by the Agenzia del Demanio, although it does not yet belong among the projects in the start up phase. It is the Pozzarello Fort on Monte Argentario, in the province of Grosseto: a defensive installation dating to the 1800’s, abandoned thirty years ago, that combines an enviable touristic location with a unique architecture. In this case as well, the objective is to turn it into a hospitality structure within a project of urban valorization project that still needs to be defined. (Foto Cge Fotogiornalismo)