After eight weeks of finding ways to cope with stay-at-home measures through virtual visits and such, cities around the world are slowly beginning to come back to life. Of course, our personal readiness to brave that new world will surely be getting a boost from our eagerness to get out and begin to experience again those things we most missed most during our solitude—travel surely being one of those things.
In hard-hit Italy, striking a balance between staying safe and living la dolce vita will become the new way of life for the next several months. As the country slowly reopens the cultural and culinary destinations that we always relied on to feed our souls and bellies, it’s particularly encouraging to learn that Villa Lena, the stunning 19th century retreat located in the Tuscan Province of Pisa, will indeed be in operation once again in mid-June.
With its offerings organized passionately around food and art, it’s situated amongst the olive groves and vineyards synonymous with the region—and will be reviving the farm-to-table dining schedule in the acclaimed San Michele restaurant, which is regularly stocked from its on-site Organic Orto garden.
The property, which operates the Villa Lena Foundation, an artist-in-residency program, will re-open its 2020 season, of course, with modifications to comply with safe distancing measures. This year’s art slate will include a ceramics workshop led by Canberra based ceramicist Eloise White, outdoor sketching lessons with illustrator Charlotte Trounce, and collage masterclasses with contemporary artist Katy Kirbach.
“Being a hotel in Italy, the first Western country to issue a total lockdown, means that there really hasn’t been a playbook for us to follow over the past few months,” explains founder Lena Evstafieva. “We are positive, however, that there will be a hunger for being amongst nature, for open and beautiful spaces, and for that joy of life that Italian sunsets and cocktail hours bring. Through making small changes to our service offerings, we are excited now to be in a position where we can safely welcome back guests this year.”
Villa Lena will be open again from June 15th, and 10% of all 2020 proceeds will go to UNICEF to support vulnerable children affected by the coronavirus in Italy. They are also offering opportunities for long-term stays in self-catering apartments.