Villa Lena: a creative residence, an agritourism hotel and a holiday destination under the Tuscany sun
Villa Lena is a unique agritourism hotel and so much more… located in the heart of rural Tuscany. It was founded by the contemporary art collector Lena Evstafieva, her husband Jérôme Hadey and their friend Lionel Bensemoun, a successful entrepreneur and creator of the modern Parisian nightclub Le Baron.
The fact that it combines holiday accommodation, an artistic residence, a farm-to-table restaurant and non-profit art foundation stands out among its distinctive features.
The estate is located in the Pisa province, secluded among 500 hectares of woodland, vineyards, olive groves and organic vegetable gardens. At the heart of this property, originally built for an Italian aristocratic family, is this 19th century villa.
This interesting combination of services draws its guests, mainly artists, writers, designers, film makers, musicians, chefs and international agricultural experts to stay with Villa Lena’s creative family and to celebrate with them local Tuscany’s history, culture and food as well as to explore and perfect their respective crafts, in an incredible environment and space.
Creativity and synergies are remarkable at Villa Lena, as they have an events program that includes activities ranging from talks by artists to children’s activities; al fresco film screenings, cooking workshops, candle lit concerts and DJ sessions by the pool. That is why those who stay at Villa Lena can enjoy days of exploring the woodlands, visiting nearby legendary towns and cities such as Lucca, San Gimignano, Siena or Florence, as well as learning to make fresh pasta, foraging for truffles, preparing cocktails or relaxing by the pool… And if this wasn’t enough, every night, the guests and artists gather at the terrace restaurant to enjoy a gastronomical experience based on a seasonal organic menu, rooted in Italian cuisine and prepared by the residing guest chef.
Villa Lena aims to unite experiences about entertainment, music, art, film and other creative fields in one place.
Art, nature and culture are at the heart of this project and the estate has become a peaceful and inspiring place, in which to live life in a more enriching, vibrant and slow manner.
Creative retreats Villa Lena
Villa Lena has just launched a new series of retreats, designed to offer guests creative experiences during a five day stay. The first confirmed experience is a retreat with a botanical theme for this April- if the pandemic and the restrictions allow.
They are all aimed at curious, environmentally minded travelers as well as adventurers seeking to awaken their creative spirit. Each retreat is a carefully designed experience in collaboration with artists and creative organizations who are leaders in their field.
Botanical retreat (15-19th April 2021)
This retreat will explore the magical powers of botanical ingredients in art and food, in collaboration with the Rebel Rebel Tuscan flower school, the botanical publication The Plant Magazine and the artist Nadine Goepfert, an innovative textile designer who specializes in natural dyes. The program includes daily workshops directed by collaborators at Villa Lena together with other gastronomical experiences such as a botanical cocktail and tea workshop, an olive oil and wine tasting, creative workshops such as floral tablecloth design led by Nadine Goepfert. The price of the retreat includes accommodation for four nights, full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner), all the workshops and the creative material, and access to the facilities at Villa Lena that include pools, screening rooms, a yoga studio and a terrace. Prices from 1,380€.
The history of Villa Lena
The Villa Lena estate dates back to the late 19th century, when an Italian aristocratic family, Augusto and Tereza Del Frate, bought the property and moved there from the nearby city of Palaia.
The villa had its heyday at the beginning of the 20th century, until the owner died in 1931. Finally, a bank confiscated the entire property after one of the owner’s sons got into substantial debt…From that moment, the property was acquired by the San Giorgio di Roma Bank and rescued by Sr. Luisi some years later. Over decades, the property has been transferred numerous times and the villa suffered extreme architectural changes and renovations. The current owners bought the San Michele estate in 2007, despite it being greatly damaged, and they gave it a new life.
About Lena Evstafyeva
Lena’s career started in the art world, and she was, in fact, the director of the Pace London gallery. Currently, Lena manages the Villa Lena Art Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting international contemporary artists working in art, music, film, literature, fashion and other creative disciplines. Some of the participants that have been at Villa Lena worth mentioning are RZA (Wu Tang Clan), Benjamin Clementine, Lola Schnabel, Barbara Casasola, Maria Thurn und Taxis, Breakbot, Emmanuel Perrotin, Caroline Bourgeois, among many others.
Villa Lena is surrounded by 500 hectares of beautiful woodlands, hills, olive groves and vineyards and Lena is aware that this beautiful landscape that so enriches the stay of all its guests must be protected. This is why Lena plans to make Villa Lena completely ecological in the coming years. It is also the reason they have decided to install solar panels and heat pumps to help save energy – in March 2017, Tesla installed 2 electric vehicle charging stations that are in line with the values of Villa Lena in respecting the environment – and they are training staff on the importance of recycling and saving water.
(*) Cover photo: Dan Sauer; Photo 1: Marina Denisova; Photo 2: Olivia Cavalli Williamson; Photo 3: Frederik Vercruysse; Photo 4: Lottie Hampson; Photo 5: Lottie Hampson; Photo 6: Niklas Adrian; Photo 7: Christina Labey; Photo 8: Olivia Cavalli Williamson; Photo 9: Hesselbrand; Photo 10: Marina Denisova; Photo 11: David Kaliga.