Preserving the charm of history, rediscovering the soul of a place and its essential character. New boutique hotel Pieve Aldina, part of the French group Domaine de Fontenille, stands next to the medieval village of Radda in Chianti, along the Chiantigiana, the ‘wine road’ that connects Florence and Siena. The project is signed by Pierattelli Architecture, an Italian architectural firm based in Florence and Milan, which oversaw the renovation and interior design of the spaces, preserving their original features. Surrounded by 40 hectares of olive groves, Pieve Aldina is part of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux collection and has 22 rooms and suites, an outdoor swimming pool, a spa, and a restaurant.
The boutique hotel
A former bishop’s complex made up of three buildings dating back to the 12th century, the boutique hotel conveys to visitors the identity and distinctiveness of an ancient context, almost unchanged over the centuries: a place of tranquillity that in 1043 the Count of Piancaldoli offered as a gift to his wife Aldina Ubaldini, after whom the hotel is now named. The main building, known as “la Pieve”, is adjacent to the Pieve di Santa Maria Novella, a 10th-century parish church, an important example of Romanesque architecture in Tuscany. Inside, it retains its original charm: one can admire the wall decorations on the main floor, coffered wooden ceilings, and walls decorated with neoclassical frescoes on the first floor. Like ‘la Pieve’, the other two buildings – called ‘Studiolo’ and ‘Conventino’ – are also enriched by suggestive wooden ceilings and windows framing the unspoilt green countryside.
In the 22 rooms, Pierattelli Architecture has focused on stylistic purity and contemporary taste, choosing sober furnishings with clean lines, with a predilection for earthy colours, such as sage green, as well as variations of beige, white and brown, and with materials typical of the area, such as terracotta for the floors, lime plaster for the walls, wood for the fixtures and painted skirting boards. On the walls, the works of Parisian artist Dune Varela, printed on slabs of Carrara marble, and the herbaria of Stéphanie Montaigu, who pastes images of flowers and antique sculptures on the yellowed pages of old books, add a sophisticated touch.
Wellness amidst hills and vineyards
Highlight of the wellness offer is the outdoor swimming pool, immersed in the midst of climbing roses and lemon trees, from which it is possible to admire an enormous wisteria, dry-stone walls and box hedges, and large eighteenth-century terracotta decorated vases. Guests can walk in the surrounding woods and farms, rediscovering the pleasure of ancient rituals and life governed by the slow rhythm of nature. No boundary fences have been built, as is the practice in Tuscany, to offer that sense of freedom that makes guests feel part of the landscape.
Equipped with two massage rooms, a sauna, Turkish bath, and emotional shower, the SPA has everything needed to make the stay even more relaxing: from the spaces created in this evocative environment, it is possible to admire the boundless landscape of the countryside and hills. To get in harmony with nature, the outdoor yoga classes organised by the hotel are also a perfect way to relax and regain energy, immersed in the vegetation.
The gastronomic experience: tradition and local raw products
The place where farm tools were once stored and the olives left before being pressed has been transformed into the “Le Rondini” restaurant, run by chef Flavio Faedi: for this environment, Pierattelli Architetture has designed a large wall opening from which to observe the activity in the kitchen, as well as a new arched passageway overlooking the inner courtyard. The ideal place to eat outdoors, with tables on the lawn or under the large wisteria.
The restaurant serves typical Tuscan cuisine with dishes such as traditional Panzanella, Pappa al pomodoro, fresh Pici, and Fiorentina di Chianina, using only raw materials from local producers. There is also a wine cellar in the hotel where guests can taste local wines, cheeses and cold cuts. Guests also have the opportunity to experiment in the kitchen with chef Faedi’s cooking classes, take part in local wine tastings or enjoy an aperitif among the vineyards.