Why Artists Are Flocking to Monteverdi
And how an entire village became a hotel.
At Monteverdi, the focus is nearly entirely on beauty. It is abundant in every nook and cranny, of which there are plenty within the medieval village-turned luxury hotel. A part of a Unesco World Heritage site, it is perched atop a lush, green mountain in northern Tuscany (specifically, Castiglioncello del Trinoro), and is quickly becoming a go-to for everyone from the international glitterati to emerging artists (thanks in part to an acclaimed artist residency program). The first group seeks out the remote and tranquil location for leisure, while the latter comes for creative inspiration and solitude. Upon visiting, it’s not difficult to understand how Wes Anderson came to write The Grand Budapest Hotel in one of Monteverdi’s very Wes Anderson-esque rooms.
As far as the hotel itself, the offerings are virtually limitless. It would be entirely impossible to tire of them during even a lengthy summer sojourn. The spa is an easy highlight, offering the signature “Full Monteverdi” (an exfoliating lavender and rosemary scrub, a detoxifying, outdoor bath on a private terrace before an incomparably thorough massage). The downstairs pool, or bath, or gargantuan hot tub, overlooks the Val d’Orcia forestry. Little wine bars, complete with wine tastings offered by locals, are also a must. The pool, overlooking the surreal countryside, is heavenly. Maybe beyond heavenly.
But again it is the beauty—or, more explicitly, the art—that really separates Monteverdi from other top-of-the-line retreats of its caliber. The Monteverdi Music and Arts Program allows students of various disciplines to stay at the hotel and learn from some of the world’s best teachers in their respective crafts. Many of these students, in turn, have provided the hotel with original pieces of art, which can be found throughout. The hotel also holds concerts in its 14th Century Romanesque church, which is called Chiesa di Sant’Andrea.
“Music and art are part of Monteverdi’s raison d’être,” says Michael Cioffi, the owner of the hotel. “From the very beginning, I thought it important to pair or marry the incomparable beauty of the Tuscan landscape surrounding the village with the best in man-made beauty.”
For creators and spectators alike, there is also the humble but inspiring Monteverdi Gallery. Already, this gallery has featured the works of Andrea Chiesi, Santa Kantarovsky, Laure Prouvost, and more. “It occurred to me that artists who come and experience this beauty will have their artistic insights and talents enhanced. The gallery and our other arts programming [are ways to support] the artists,” says Cioffi. You can check out upcoming performances and gallery shows here.
If you are an artist yourself, you know what it means to experience creative blocks. Monteverdi might just be the key to unlocking these preventative doors. The rooms, carefully designed by Ilaria Miani, are each wildly unique; one with a serene, floating bed (and “floating” theme in general) while others use tree branches as hangers and practical props throughout. Whether you want a room to yourself (speaking to the artists again) or an entire villa for your family, Monteverdi can accommodate. Expansive, panoramic views of the rolling hillsides are sure to reinvigorate the brain. If not, a sniff of the local lavender garden might do the trick.
Ultimately, if you seek creativity, you have to go no farther than this picturesque little village, which an elderly couple in their nineties have left only once—and that was to visit the town down the hill. Truly, we can’t blame them.