Paolo’s creamy cappuccinos, home-baked cakes by Graziella, Giovanni’s distilled brandy: when Irene Berni paints a picture of Valdirose, it’s not words that come to mind, but flavours. In the hills of Lastra a Signa in Tuscany, within a 19th century villa, is the family-run bed and breakfast named Valdirose. Acquired by Irene’s grandmother in the 1950s, it’s walls have seen decades of summer festivals and sumptuous celebrations. Florentine and her husband, took it upon themselves to restore it to its original beauty, and with the helped of her parents-in-law, they certainly haven’t passed on detail. After monumental renovation, closely following the rules of Belle Arti, the decoration is rethought year after year with new discoveries of Irene and Paolo (who love scouring antique fairs) and every meal is created with fresh produce from their bountiful garden. As for guests, Valdirose welcomes everyone as old friends. The details are everything: fresh flowers for the table every morning, spontaneous cooking classes, and a hand-picked array of destinations for discovering the region’s most beautiful destinations. Here you live as an Italian should! A haven of tranquility, Valdirose is the perfect place to enjoy the unparalleled beauty that Italy has to offer.
Valdirose, Via val di rose, 35 – 50055 Lastra a Signa. Reservations by telephone on (+39)3475.451.056 and at www.valdirose.com
Irene, Paolo, can you introduce yourself?
We were once neighbours, we became friends and then we became a couple for life and partners in our work. We grew up together and learned to love the same things: sharing, generosity and the finer things in life.
Are you originally Florentine?
Yes! By birth and at heart. We were both born in this province and we love to tell stories of the magic of this city to everyone we meet.
Could you describe a typical day in Valdirose?
The morning begins with breakfast which we prepare for our guests in our B&B. We love to chat with them over an Americano, whilst trying a slice of one of Irène’s freshly baked tarts. We spend the afternoon however we please. Usually, we like to go for a walk and take a look around the local markets.
What is there to do nearby Valdirose?
Valdirose is right in the centre Toscane. Apart from Florence which is very close, there are all the other main towns of the region, like Chianti which is worth a visit.
How could you summarise your home?
For us, Valdirose represents simplicity et la flânerie.
Tell us about your guests.
They come from all over the world: lots of Americans, Australians and Northern Europeans. We love discovering all the common tastes we share, it’s very easy for us to open the doors of our home.
How did you choose the decorative style of your home?
The house was built in the 19th century, and we wanted to find a way of reinstalling its original style. First of all with the natural lighting from the windows and through, warm natural colours. The furniture came mainly from antique fairs and markets, but some pieces came with the house which we have left how they are. My style changes with each season, but it’s always simple and informal. Every object in the house eventually finds a place of its own.
How did you want Valdirose to evolve?
The important promise we made to ourselves was to enhance the place without compromising the spirit of the house. We love to receive creative and stimulating people like the ones that we’ve been lucky to host. Artistic retreats come her to work on their photography and it’s a great pleasure to have their inspiration around us.
Photography: Constance Gennari – Text: Caroline Balvay – Translation: TextMaster @thesocialitefamily