What happens when an art connoisseur, musician, and Parisian nightclub owner come together to develop an agriturismo hotel? Pure creative magic.
Located in the Pisa Provence, Villa Lena is a 74-room hotel and artist residency that sits atop 500 hectares of tranquil but fertile land, spread over the region’s rich olive groves and vineyards. Sitting on a property dating back to the late 19th century, when an aristocratic Italian family called the Del Frates used to throw legendary parties, the three founders (Lena Evstafieva, Jérome Hadey, and Lionel Bensemoun) have used the location to provide a farm-to-table experience at the hotel’s restaurant, Osteria San Michelle, which incorporates homegrown ingredients and even serves the land’s local wine.
However, the kitchen’s clever and delicious culinary manifestations are far from Villa Lena’s only creative feats. In fact, art and creativity are the estate’s beating heart, pumping energy and beauty into every nook and cranny of the multi-building development. As of 2023, new offerings include the villa’s signature creative retreats, for which artists around the globe apply to visit and hone their craft in the Italian countryside, where beauty is perhaps the most abundant resource. Everyone from writers to florists and perfumers are welcomed to apply and (hopefully) stay, trading classes with hotel guests and art donations to the hotel to earn their keep.
The result is a beautifully decorated and imaginative place that is as much an art foundation and gallery as it is a hospitality tentpole in Tuscany. Prints of paintings or photographs are found not only in common spaces, where guests can often see artists tinkering away on various projects or scribbling texts, but the hotel rooms themselves—ensuring that visitors’ eyes will feast as much as their mouths on creations birthed on Villa Lena’s land.
While the artist residency remains restricted to those who apply, Villa Lena is of course a hotel, meaning anyone can come and use the spaces for some creative downtime. That said, while the villa is far from flashy in any way, nothing that beautiful comes cheap. It is, thus, the perfect place for an artistic getaway for those willing to spend a little to receive a lot.
Best Features: The pool, the artwork, the yoga studio, and the ceramics class.