The house and land was bought by my mother Carla back in 1985, long before the Tuscan land rush. She was originally born near Bologna and moved to the UK when she was 14, but moved back to Italy when the kids had fled the nest, and started this enormous project.
When she found the house it was in a terrible state. Many of the roofs had collapsed and been looted for precious terracotta tiles, and much of the structure was seriously weakened. The house had been derelict for many years, and locals had been 'recycling' stone, tiles, beams etc. for their own homes and buildings. Better than letting good materials go to waste...it's a shame modern construction doesn´t do the same.
Only one small part of the house was habitable: Caminetto. Apart from some minor cosmetic alterations it (though not to the famous chimney), it looks much like it did back then. Except that it had only one tiny bathroom, no running (or flushing) water, and a very leaky roof. But it was a start, and when we kids used to come and visit, we would be sleeping 4 to a room, and there was usually someone on the beaten-up old couch too. As there was no running water, we used to take it in turns to drive 10 minutes towards Castellina where there was a natural spring where we could fill our containers.
Bit by bit the place took shape, one roof at a time, one room at a time. But it wasn’t until the early 90's that any part of Patrignone was suitable for guests.
It has been a long hard journey for Carla and Patrignone, but without all that hard work we wouldn’t have this Tuscan paradise that we have today.
Now Carla has handed over the reins to us and is taking a 'non-exec' role in the venture. We hope we can achieve half as much as she has done. We’ll give it our best shot.
Our long-term plans include:
We´ll let you know how we get on...